This week, the problem with keeping up with the needs of lower data-volume requirements while helping startup developers break through high volume production has been addressed by Salesforce.com‘s Heroku division with the launch of two entry level tiers of its cloud database service, which is based on Postgres.
The new addition includes the Crane level of database service, which can cost around $50 monthly, and comes with 400 megabytes of RAM cache. The next is the Kappa tier, which costs a little bit more at $100 monthly, but comes with a larger 800 Megabyte cache.
Both the Crane and the Kappa come with features that support production deployments similar to Heroku’s premium plans, such as improved security, production-grade monitoring, and what they refer to as “continuous protection”, in which write ahead logs can be used for quick recovery in cases of extreme hardware failure.
In the past, users who wish to upgrade to Heroku’s premium plans (from the free version) had to be ready for a $200 monthly bill, for the Ronin tier. Just last week, Heroku added a few developer-friendly features that may benefit users of the free version who are not yet ready to make the jump to premium.
The two new service tiers are currently in public beta, which means they can be used for free, as a way of giving people a chance to test the service and find out if it suits their needs.
According to Heroku, all tiers come with databases with 1 TB of storage space, which they found out is more than enough for 99.9% of their clients. However, the company wants to support users who have needs beyond the 1 TB threshold.
One potential way that Heroku is considering is by “sharding” their databases across multiple users, which is basically dividing a single server for use in different instances, akin to a glass being split into multiple pieces, hence the term “shard”.
Heroku bases its rates and charges on RAM since it’s the most critical factor concerned when it comes to speed. But the company is optimistic that the cost of storage and networking is eventually going to drop to the point that it’s “effectively free”.
Heroku’s most expensive database tier costs $6,400 monthly and provideds 68 gigabytes of RAM cache, which is enough to cover the needs of even the most demanding users, but there are more users who want the Kappa and Crane tiers, because the free version is not enough to cover their needs, but don’t have the budget for a sudden jump to $200 monthly for the Ronin – such as startups and companies that are running a large number of web applications that aren’t really being bombarded with traffic and cannot be monetized.