Expeditions in the Cloud

Caution: Scepticism ahead!

So i’d like to share some of my experiences in the cloud since i am still trying to figure out if it its worth for me or if i am better suited with an VPS.
Maybe somebody feels like feedbackin.

I tried PHPFog for PHP and no.de by joyent for node.js.
First i have to admit: yes i only tried the free models and of course they are limited and because its free you cant expect to get it all, right?
Yes and thats true.

With PHPFog i set up an app based on symfony 1.4. After some inital problems due to some bugs on PHPFog side, i got it running.
I really like to mention the kind and immediate chat support by PHPFog. It really made me feel like dealin with humans and not only machines. Big up!
By then everything felt really smooth with git deploy, configurations, mysql setup etc.
But i had to shut down the app again, because there are restrictions to PHP which killed the app like disabling “file_get_contents for remote URLS”, probably only in the free model. But that killed it for me at that point.
So read this carefully before going to cloud: http://docs.phpfog.com/index.php/features/article/shared_vs_dedicated
I guess with dedicated hosting you get more power, sure.

That brings me to the pricing plans, which means if you pay more you get more.
That reminds me of good old shared hosting days.
Of course in the cloud you get more and faster if you have to scale.
Also if you have more apps you can bundle up, it can be a win, like read here: http://blog.phpfog.com/2011/12/08/but-isnt-php-fog-expensive-compared-to-vps/
Thats just fine, but if not you might be wrong there.
And remember you are not in fully in control. So if you decide to checkout the Twig C extension: you cant.
That also reminds me on good old shared hosting days.

With the node.js cloud i had similar deja vu’s:
Gettin my node app running was not that easy but i made it after some approaches.
Then it was cool: git deploy, npm support, console on the smartOS machine, having node on port 80, etc. That was great.

But then i tried my app and had to realize sockets are not really working on Chrome and Firefox, wtf?
It seemed that there was an issue with an node-http-proxy, as you can read here: http://discuss.joyent.com/viewtopic.php?id=30975.
So that patch wasnt patched and all you could do is waiting, just like in good old shared hosting days.
Get me?

So what am i trying to say?
I am not really sure, but my resumee is if youre not building the next tumblr resp. you are not expecting high scaling you might improve your server skills and stick to an VPS.

What else? I am confused about the pricing!

With an VPS its clear, with Heroku and thelikes it could be 60$ per month or more, or less, or what?, I dont know.
So its pretty much testing, see what your app is actually consuming and decide then.

And remember for PaaS Services as described you rely on the grace of the admins in the cloud.