Helium Development, a digital creative agency, that specialise in Shopify website design and web app development. Powered by Cloud 66.

Today, marketing agencies closely integrate technology and creativity to deliver a positive user experience. Therefore, they need tools that manage an entire stack infrastructure with the choice of the cloud provider to gain more control and flexibility of the application.

I was curious to find out how Helium Developers use Cloud 66 services to make their work more efficient and I got in touch with Nick Mealey, a founder of Helium Development, to find out more about the company and their infrastructure setup.

Helium Development - company background

Helium Development is a digital creative agency based in Seattle. The team of highly skilled developers and unique creative marketers deliver custom made applications with a user-focused interface and solid software.

As e-commerce specialist Helium Development has a great understanding that a successful project is all about people, not websites. With this in mind they are experts in tailormade Shopify web design, for example Rhino Camera Gear project. And they are a specialist in Web App Development that focus on Ruby on Rails, front-end UI/UX, and content-managed websites.

Let’s hear from Nick how Helium Development manages their Ruby on Rails applications with Cloud 66.

How did you host your application before using Cloud 66?

We were using Heroku. They make deploying code pretty easy but in the long run, we’ve found things get expensive quick and since you’re locked into using S3 servers, you don’t have really any options in terms of server performance. You don’t get the control of having your own server when you want it. We’ve also run into several issues where servers would go down and it was entirely out of our control to get things back online.

What is your current infrastructure set up?

We’re running a number of Ruby on Rails apps using a classic stack at Cloud 66. We were impressed how quickly we were able to get a server fired up and running. Probably the single most important issue with a service like this is scalability. I was surprised how easily you can add and remove servers to a stack. It’s really nice being able to setup separate servers for database and web, for example. Since Cloud66 handles all the setup, going through the hassle of setting up a new server is pretty much non-existent.

How the Passenger support improved your application performance?

Very positive. We’re using Linode for our servers and we noticed a substantial boost in server response time from when using Heroku. On our Heroku servers, we were using Unicorn as a web server. Since there're a lot of factors that affect end user response time, it’s hard to say exactly the performance gain between Unicorn and Passenger. To get down to the milliseconds you’d have to do a side-by-side test with two identical environments.

What Cloud 66 feature are you using?

We’re using classic stacks for our current apps. They make deployment a breeze. It took about 5 minutes to get the first code set online. We have it setup to scale between web, database, and worker (process) servers. Setting up workers were particularly simple and it’s a great feature to be able to set how many worker processes exist without having to do a new code deploy. In terms of Add-ins, we’re using SSL, database backup, and load balancer. Installing an SSL cert on a stack was a whole lot easier than I had expected with that Add-in, database backups are a must, and load balancing is made super simple.

How did the move to Cloud 66 affect your performance, efficiently and monthly hosting bill?

Just about cut it in half. Heroku’s 2X Standard Dyno is $50/month. Linode’s equivalent with Cloud 66 is about $20/month. On top of all that, you don’t have to pay for every little add-on since it’s your own server, and you can setup other features however you like. Heroku’s cost really comes from these add-ons. For example, the minimum cost for a production database server is $50/month. Even though we chose to separate servers, you could easily use the same servers for web and database, which would eliminate that cost entirely.

Is there anything that you would like to add?

We’re really happy that we found Cloud66 as a great way to deploy and manage our projects. It’s a great blend between running your own servers and having the messy stuff already done for you.

We are extremely happy to work with great folks at Helium Development! I would like to say big, fat thank you to Nick for finding the time in his super busy schedule to chat about their infrastructure set up with me. It was a pleasure to find out more about Helium Development awesome products!


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