I’d encourage anyone who wants to host an application for free and try things out to sign up for an OpenShift account. There’s really nothing to lose.
There’s an interesting thread on Hacker News about OpenShift with some people suggesting they’d be more willing to deploy on it under a paid, supported offering. Apparently they are reluctant to invest in configuring their applications for OpenShift’s infrastructure and then have to move somewhere else if they don’t like the pricing that gets announced.
I respect that people don’t like surprises. In fact that is one of my favorite maxims of project management scheduling, “It’s okay to disappoint people, but it is never okay to surprise them.”
What’s funny to me is that when pricing is finally announced there will probably be a chorus of people suggesting it should be free or that it costs too much.
As pointed out in the thread, the intention is to always have a level of OpenShift that is free. The other part I don’t quite understand is the concern about building too much around OpenShift’s infrastructure. Considering that the OpenShift facility is built around unmodified upstream software libraries and git source repos I don’t see a lot of lock-in or wasted investment to use OpenShift as a development and testing environment.
I’ve been OpenShift’s program manager for a while now and am just getting the opportunity launch some applications myself. It’s one of those situations where I manage other projects besides OpenShift and it’s more important to make sure the trains are running on schedule instead of taking them for a ride or working in the repair shop.
Until recently I also didn’t have a real world use for OpenShift that I was passionate about. That’s changed as I’ve looked for more ways to improve a WordPress site I started for a relative called Affordable Binding Equipment (you won’t find better made and practical bookbinding equipment at the offered prices).
Testing stuff in production is easy with WordPress. It’s also not a good idea. Continually setting up testing and development environments that mirror production is a pain at my shared hosting provider. The more I use and learn about the technical underpinnings of OpenShift and in particular keeping everything in source control (git), the more excited I’m getting about trying to use it more.
I suppose it would be possible to create a similar setup with my hosting provider using source control, etc., but the beauty I see with OpenShift is that it is already setup for you and ready to go. It will be interesting to see where using it takes me. It could very well teach me ways to optimize things at my hosting provider.