Announcing OpenShift Pricing – Beyond Free PHP and Java Hosting in the Cloud - Archived

Over the past year, but especially in the past few months, we have seen significant growth in the use of OpenShift in its Developer Preview. From MongoDB in the cloud to Java EE6 auto-scaling with IDE integration to developing mobile applications, developers are using OpenShift in small and large companies to get their applications live in minutes or hours instead of days and months.

Over the past year, but especially in the past few months, we have seen significant growth in the use of OpenShift in its Developer Preview. From MongoDB in the cloud to Java EE6 auto-scaling with IDE integration to developing mobile applications, developers are using OpenShift in small and large companies to get their applications live in minutes or hours instead of days and months.

With the success of developers’ applications, we see increased need for scaling. Developers want to know how they can get access to more scale-out capacity and more disk space. And realizing that OpenShift’s Developer Preview is limited, they want to know how much this is going to cost.

In response, we plan to offer gears for sale in the future. Gears are the compute containers that power applications in the multi-tenant grid that is OpenShift. They include the components of the OpenShift Paas that an application needs, such as: RAM, CPU, disk space, network addresses and bandwidth and system resources. In fact, one of the cool things about OpenShift is that these gears are running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux which means that the stable industry-standard ABI plus all the software that is normally available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux is available to the web applications.

How we got here

To date we’ve told users that if they wanted information about pricing for OpenShift they should email us. Check out this chart showing the increase in inquiries we’ve received over the last few months:

Wow! We responded to every single one of these inquiries and asked people to chat with us. We asked them, “what is a fair price?” “What kind of resources do your applications need?” Once we had a hypothesis on what a good pricing scheme would be, we started walking developers through it and asking what they thought.

Although we heard from a subset of the many tens of thousands of developers using OpenShift, we were grateful to be able to develop the pricing for OpenShift in collaboration with our community of users. We also reached out to the developers in the community who contribute to OpenShift and OpenShift Origin the open source project for the code that powers OpenShift. And we talked to our partners like 10gen, the makers of MongoDB, who help us to offer their software on OpenShift. In the end we think we came to a competitive price point for paid tiers on OpenShift, and a free tier that we believe is industry-leading.

Announcing the first tier of OpenShift pricing

Today we’re announcing OpenShift pricing for the first paid tier offering, along with our plan to continue a free level like the one that developers are currently enjoying in the OpenShift Developer Preview. You can check out OpenShift pricing details or read this handy chart:


We expect these price plans to be available later this year. In the meantime, developers who need to scale on the Developer Preview can continue to write us at and we’ll try our best to help you out.


You’ll notice that the MegaShift tier comes with enterprise-grade support from Red Hat! Going back to when I joined Red Hat this is something I’ve been eagerly anticipating. Red Hat is one of the very few vendors who supports a comprehensive PaaS stack in-house. That’s exciting because the technology stack that a lot of developers today want to build on in the cloud is open source. From hypervisor to IaaS to operating system (which provides the key multi-tenancy and security parts of PaaS) to the web middleware such as PHP, Python, Ruby, OpenJDK, MySQL, and more… with OpenShift MegaShift, you’ll be able to call 1-888-REDHAT1 and get help with the runtime platform of the PaaS, end-to-end, top to bottom, from Red Hat.

FreeShift – free as in beer

The free tier remains free! Developers using the Developer Preview (what you can use on OpenShift today) will have the opportunity to automatically migrate to FreeShift. More about transitions for existing OpenShift users.

This means that in terms of free PHP hosting you could configure a PHP application, MongoDB and MySQL and run all of those with 1GB of disk entirely for free on the FreeShift tier while having all the great features of OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service. This could be the best PHP hosting deal on the internet, especially if you consider that it’s backed by the operational and security expertise of Red Hat and running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

If you’re interested in free Java hosting or free Play framework hosting or of course free Java EE hosting then of course OpenShift has you covered. You can run a gear with JBoss, a gear with a database, and a gear with Jenkins all on FreeShift entirely free as in beer. And you’d have access with a simple signup to scale up to larger and more gears.

Even for cheap node.js hosting, OpenShift excels. Configure one gear with a load balancer, and two others with node.js and a datastore embedded. Now you’ve got a scale-out configuration, git interaction, MongoDB, MySQL and/or PostgresSQL, ssh access and the ability to customize.. entirely for free!

Upgrade if you need support and more scalability – you only pay for the gear-time that you use so you can scale as needed.

Scaling up with MegaShift

To scale past three gears, upgrade to the MegaShift tier where you can use up to 16 gears total, on-demand, including the 3 you get for free. Then configure one gear as a load balancer (remember – you always get three for free) and you can scale up to 15 more gears to run whatever you need. Cron jobs, more web or application servers, data stores, even entirely custom code in C . Gears are billed by the hour, so you’ll only pay for what you use.

In all cases, as soon as you are running several gears with different roles, or using auto-scaling, OpenShift can be more cost effective and easier to use than cloud server hosting or IaaS.

Why not use a PaaS? It’s less hassle and it can be cheaper!

Let’s check out running a simple web application or mobile application backend on OpenShift, a VPS provider (I’ll pick Linode) and an IaaS (I’ll pick Amazon Web Services). The assumed application uses MySQL, MongoDB, and a scalable front-end in a web framework like Rails (Ruby), Symfony (PHP), Django (Python), Spring (Java) or Node.js (JavaScript).

PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)

In our example, on OpenShift we’ll run MongoDB and MySQL each in their own gears and buy an extra 4GB of disk for each so we have a total of 5GB available to each database for storing our data. We need one gear for the load balancer and two gears each running the web framework. That’s a total of 5 gears. Let’s put the databases on medium gears since they can use the extra RAM, and everything else should run great on small gears. Since OpenShift provides three gears for free, we only need to pay for the base $42/month, 2 medium gears at $0.12/gear/hour (or $87/mo if we leave them on all the time) and $8/mo for the extra storage. Total: $137/mo.

Note for experts: By embedding the databases and keeping them within the 1GB of free storage per gear, you could actually run this entire configuration on FreeShift, entirely for free!

Included: All data transfer, bandwidth, etc – no additional charges. Enterprise-grade support from Red Hat, auto-scaling paying only for the capacity needed, full-stack management and automation, ssh access, snapshots, the security of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and a great set of developer tools plus a sexy website. :)

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

VPS is generally reserved virtual machines on shared servers. On the VPS example we’ll construct a similar configuration: 3 512MB VPS servers (one for load balancer, two for web framework), 2 1024MB VPS servers for the databases, and 5GB each for the databases. On Linode, the servers already come with plenty of storage, so we don’t need to pay for anything except the servers. For 3 512MB servers at $19.95/mo and 2 1024MB servers at $39.95/mo the total is around $139/mo. Wow, strikingly similar to OpenShift – no I didn’t plan this – I’m glad we come out $2/mo cheaper. :)

But look at what is not included:  Auto-scaling with additional capacity by the hour, full stack management (we’d have to set everything up ourselves), an enterprise-grade Linux distro (costs extra), support from the company who contributes to the software and OS, integration with developer tools like Eclipse and Appcelerator Titanium Studio. However, we do get lower-level controls… we can boot with our own kernel parameters, we have root access on the OS, we can replace the OS, we have good system controls. VPS would be a good solution for folks who want to work directly at a lower level and have less automation. Using Linode as the VPS example I looked at their features here and pricing here. Other VPS providers may have different pricing and different features – I didn’t do exhaustive research, but chose a provider our users told us they have considered for hosting.

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)

Now let’s configure a hypothetical IaaS: We’ll use Amazon Web Services EC2 since it’s a popular IaaS. We can use small EC2 instances for the databases and web frameworks, Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) for load balancing, and Relational Database Service (RDS) small instance for MySQL. In that configuration, we need 3 small instances, one RDS small instance, and ELB. At $.08/hour for small EC2 instances ($57/mo), $.10/hour for small RDS running MySQL ($72/mo), and $.025 for the load balancer ($18/mo), that comes out to $261/mo. (Pricing from here, here and here – For this example I used On-Demand instances from the US East Virginia region which was the least expensive region at the time of writing.) If we could run our web framework on Micro instances we could get this price down to $175/mo. Even with the Micro instances, the price is still higher than the other two options assuming that all instances are left on all month, and this doesn’t include what would be charged for transfer bandwidth or technical support.

Although the database servers are working with a bit more RAM and likely a little more CPU, in our example the cost can come out quite a bit higher! And, you don’t get any of the PaaS automation: auto-scaling, stack management, security patches taken care of for you, snapshots, tools integration, etc.

The value and benefit of Platform-as-a-Service, especially OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service, is apparent in these examples. Surely not every configuration will come out this way, but for a basic application it seems clear to me. As applications scale and OpenShift continues to add capabilities we expect this strong value will endure and grow!

What you get at every tier

OpenShift makes a compelling platform for web applications, mobile application, social application, and the next generation of internet applications. No matter whether you are using OpenShift at the free tier, FreeShift, or upgrading to a paid tier like MegaShift, all OpenShift users get access to a terrific complement of capabilities:

  • Multiple Cartridge and Application Types including:
    • JBoss EAP 6
    • MongoDB
    • MySQL
    • Jenkins
    • PostgreSQL
    • and more…
  • Choice of languages Java, PHP, Node.js, Python, PHP and Perl
  • DIY cartridge support for application types that are not yet supported
  • Vertical scaling to migrate to larger gears, Horizontal scaling to enable more gears running in parallel 
  • Manual and Auto-Scaling
  • Custom Domains 
  • Tail and Debug logs
  • Cloud Usage Monitoring
  • SSH Access including local port forwarding
  • Open source APIs
  • Collaborative development with git
  • Application snapshot and export
  • Scheduled and background jobs
  • IDE integration with Eclipse, JBoss Tools and Appcelerator Titanium Studio 
  • 1GB local disk storage per gear with the ability to purchase more
  • Security and multi-tenancy of Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Managed and operated by Red Hat, the open source leader
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