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AWS vs. Heroku vs. Firebase - Which one is the best?

When you have chosen to go the serverless route, which cloud platform is the best for you? This is a common question that anybody asks themselves when they are planning to make a switch. Should they opt for AWS services that are mature enough with endless features, or they should opt for Firebase or Heroku cloud platforms? Before we read the actual comparison of AWS vs. Heroku vs. Firebase cloud platforms, let us first learn what is a serverless architecture?

What is a Serverless Architecture?

Traditional servers usually feature a single server and have a variety of responsibilities in its code base. Every time a request is sent to the server, it executes a few processes and the response is given back. Here one server is responsible for several multiple operations. It includes authentication, data storage, managing users, and more. So, it may be quite hectic running a server for you.

A serverless architecture is based on the microservices architecture. Every time an event occurs, either a code or function is executed. The server wakes up only when it receives a request. So, the server doesn’t have to run all day, all week but it is working based on requirements only. In this case, the server uses resources when they are actually needed. The major benefit of the serverless architecture is that each function has its own responsibility that makes things clean and less finicky.

Why you need Cloud platforms?

IDC forecasts that the overall spending on public cloud platforms will increase up to $141 billion in 2019. There are plenty of reasons why are Companies moving to the cloud? Here are a few reasons why should you choose cloud over traditional platforms. Cloud Platforms Benefits

  • Operational Flexibility: This is the core reason why business should opt for cloud services. Every time you scale up or scale down requirements, cloud platform will make it for you.
  • Backup and Recovery solutions: Cloud platforms offer attractive backup and recovery options for businesses of all sizes and they also help to save time and upfront investments.
  • Security Updates: Cloud vendors take care of security or software updates themselves together with file servers, backup controls and so on.
  • Edit data anytime anywhere: With cloud platforms, you have the flexibility to access, edit or share files from anywhere in the real-time that increases the overall employees’ productivity.
  • Centralized Storage: When all documents are stored centrally, you don’t have to confuse with formats, versions, or titles. Also, your team doesn’t have to send files back and forth to edit or review.
  • Start-ups: the cloud platforms provide start-ups with world-class enterprise technologies, ensure a competitive edge in the global market and ability to act smarter or faster.

Moving ahead, let us discuss three popular platforms – AWS vs Heroku, and Firebase. We will discuss all these platforms one by one to help you in deciding the best cloud platform for your next IT project.

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What is AWS?

AWS provides a massive collection of cloud computing services that build up a full-fledged platform offered by the since 2004. It is also named as the powerhouse of databases, management, analytics, deployment, storage, and delivery or deployment featured offered to developers. Today, AWS cloud services can be accessed in 16 geographical regions and it is still growing.

Read: How to Get AWS Certified Solution Architect?

Among all, AWS EC2 and S3 are the most popular cloud services with ever-expanding database library, load balancing, and ready-to-use deployment configurations. The core benefits of the AWS platform include extensive control levels, comprehensive analytics, meaningful insights, the ability to access the inner workings of your application.

AWS Lambda is equally strong, user-friendly, and easy to set up. AWS cloud services are highly reliable with amazing customer support from Amazon. The cost of service generally depends on the traffic you receive.


  • Deployment is not reliable and there are no manual troubleshooting and error descriptions.
  • The deployment process is quite lengthy and it may take up to 20 minutes even for simple websites.
  • There are transparency issues with new stack versions and updates.
  • AWS has so many products on hand which are difficult to learn together. Also, if AWS services are handled incorrectly, AWS could end up costing you more than your expectations.

What is Heroku?

Heroku is a cloud platform that offers an efficient place for building, scaling, and deploying web apps. The ecosystem is made up of more than 140 add-ons including alerts, notifications, databases, analytics tools, security services, monitoring, or networking add-ons.

This cloud platform is designed with an objective to boost your team’s productivity and making development or rolling out processes more convenient and efficient. AWS and Heroku are direct competitors allow you to deploy or manage web apps in the AWS cloud without worrying about the infrastructure.


  • There is no control over scaling and load balancing that may lead to bottlenecks in the long run,
  • The scaling is generally expensive.
  • It is good at the beginning but does not provide full server control.

AWS Quiz

Read: Cloud Computing Interview Questions And Answers

What is Firebase?

Firebase is a powerful cloud platform designed to empower real-time collaborative apps. You just have to add Firebase library to your application to gain access to the shared data structure. Every time changes are made to the data that automatically synchronize with the Firebase cloud and other clients too within milliseconds.

Firebase is a little younger and advanced cloud solution in terms of technology. From images, texts to voice APIs, the platform has a lot of more unique features to offer. This is a product by Google product include services that are easy to scale. It also offers traffic management services within their suite. For a small team set up, Firebase serves you better than a heavy AWS setup. Also, it is easy to learn when compared to the AWS.

At the flip side, Firebase makes it difficult to query larger datasets. The database does not provide any relational data that may spell trouble for start-ups.

AWS vs Firebase vs Heroku – The Alternatives

AWS is definitely the best choice among the leading providers of cloud services. But due to its complexity and heavy costs, users tend to explore alternatives as well. Today, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud platform are the most suitable options or main alternatives to Amazon.

The popularity of Azure is still growing and it offers easy and quick setup of virtual machines, autoscaling based on the live traffic, continuous functioning under heavy loads, support of multiple operating systems and programming language, built-in continuous deployment and so on.

On the other hand, Google Cloud is considered most affordable solution offering rich toolset for the big data, it provides developers with live migration of virtual machines, time-proven security systems, redundant backups, swift performance and more.

When we are talking about the Heroku alternatives, it mainly refers to the Digital Ocean. It is the second largest hosting provider in the world and Forbes included Digital Ocean I best 100 cloud Companies list. It mainly focused on high-level security, rich developer toolset, comprehensive documentation, and reliable infrastructure etc.

Read: What is AWS CLI? How to Install AWS CLI?

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AWS vs Firebase vs Heroku - Which to Choose?

The question of choosing one of them is loaded one. It usually depends on your preferences and the situation. When you choose any of the three platforms, focus on the cost first. Is it suitable for you to manage infrastructure yourself or it is cost-effective using a ready platform that manages the infrastructure for you?

If you are in a situation to utilize a more matured service then AWS is a great choice for you. If you are a start-up prepping to set up things quickly then Firebase could be the right choice. At the same time, AWS and Heroku are direct competitors. If you don’t worry about infrastructure much then you could opt for Heroku cloud platform here.

If you choose AWS services then make sure that Company you are working with has experience in managing the AWS infrastructure. If rapid application development is your highest priority then consider Heroku here. Keep in mind that it is easy to switch between IaaS and PaaS solutions based on the application demands or when it needs a custom infrastructure. Still, it is always good starting with the right service since the beginning.

Final thoughts

We live in an era where big enterprises and start-ups both can access to top-notch infrastructure to compute, store, and manage the next innovative online services. Such approaches allow Companies to focus more on business strategy, improve business operations, and increase the overall business performance.

It is clear from the discussion while choosing between AWS, Heroku, and the Firebase, you should consider resources and costs initially for the administration of machines. When running data centers, it is your responsibility to maintain, update, and support them 24/7 at later dates. With AWS, Heroku, or Firebase cloud services, all responsibilities are shifted on cloud vendors. In this way, cloud computing platforms are taking the industries by storm with endless features and benefits that are actually needed in the modern space.

Read: Define AWS Step Functions Concepts with Example

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