Heroku lets devs deploy apps from European datacentres with new public beta

Heroku is aiming to offer lower latency for apps with European users.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Developers running apps on US cloud app platform Heroku can now deploy them from its new European region, which has now moved into public beta.

The Salesforce-owned platform-as-a-service provider on Wednesday released a set of tools for customers to create a running copy of existing apps to deploy in the European region.

Previously, apps deployed on Heroku's platform were served via AWS in the US. Amazon's European datacentres are located in Dublin, Ireland meaing those deploying apps from Heroku's new European region should see faster performance.

"The physical proximity of the Europe region to European end-users means reduced latency, often resulting in a dramatic improvement in app responsiveness to those users. We've observed performance improvements of 100ms per request or more for European end-users," Heroku notes.

Heroku's main pitch to developers is to remove concerns about hardware resources, such as load balancers. As founder co-founder Adam Wiggins recently explained in response to criticisms over Heroku's web routing performance, "We're selling abstraction, convenience, elasticity, and productivity" but not algorithms.

Developers can use the same Heroku management tools — command line interface, APIs, and Dashboards — to run apps on infrastructure dedicated to each region.

The company offers a range of third-party add-on tools to developers, such as mobile notifications, search and analytics, but only a subset of about 60 of these will be available for Europe at present, although more are on the way.

No Safe Harbor

Heroku warns that it is not yet a registered participant in the US-EU Safe Harbor Program, so any businesses concerned about European data compliance probably should not test the beta just yet. Heroku notes that developers should assume some portions of the app and its data will reside in or pass through datacentres in the US. However, it has "laid the groundwork for becoming Safe Harbor certified and expect to have it soon."

Heroku had been running a private beta with customers prior to the public launch. Swedish TV network TV4 currently runs its video on demand service TV Play from Heroku's Europe region, and in a statement claimed it was seeing a reduction in latency.

"Deploying our app closer to our users in Heroku's Europe region gave us a 150ms improvement in web performance. Based on this win for our users, we’re moving all of our apps to the Europe region," TV4 CTO Per Åström said.

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