CASE STUDY

How Porter helps La Haus deliver a world-class developer experience on Kubernetes

Justin Rhee
August 17, 2023
3 min read

La Haus is a leading Latin American proptech company that provides a marketplace, payments infrastructure, and all-in-one platform for housing developers. La Haus helps people multiply their savings by investing in new housing projects and connects buyers with residential developers to make these transactions possible. La Haus primarily operates in Colombia and Mexico and was named Best LatAm Proptech Startup in 2022.

Growing pains on Heroku

La Haus was founded 6 years ago and began its hosting journey on Heroku with a small team of 2-5 Ruby developers. The La Haus team initially chose Heroku for its simplicity and ease of deployment, but engineering priorities rapidly evolved as the team grew to between 75-100 engineers out of a total company headcount of over 400.

As La Haus grew, the monolith on Heroku became a bottleneck for both scalability and developer velocity as autoscaling performance worsened and application build times became increasingly bloated. While the La Haus team managed to migrate Heroku Postgres to RDS, application services remained a concern. As an initial remedy, some of the new engineers began to deploy workloads directly to Kubernetes, but this resulted in a bifurcated workflow with some teams on Heroku and others on EKS. As these teams grew, a clear need emerged for a consolidated, scalable deployment solution that preserved a world-class developer experience.

Getting the best of both worlds on Porter

Several factors drove the migration off Heroku:

  • The need to standardize the stack. Significant excess engineering bandwidth was required to maintain two completely independent deployment workflows and flavors of infrastructure.
  • Security concerns. Hosting databases on AWS RDS and applications on Heroku meant publicly exposing databases to make them externally accessible. While Heroku private spaces were evaluated as a solution, the associated cost for a simple VPC was prohibitive.
  • Lack of resource granularity. La Haus had to use the largest Heroku dynos available, but a substantial amount of memory in the instances they were paying for remained unutilized due to lack of sufficient granularity in Heroku’s resource tiers.

The shift away from Heroku was also catalyzed by several outages on the platform, including a major GitHub incident. A direct move to AWS EC2 was considered, but this still meant deploying to both EKS and EC2 so the initiative faced ongoing delays.

“Our developers really enjoy using Porter. They appreciate the simplicity but also the built-in observability which was really constrained by Heroku.” - Herbert Gomez, Director of Engineering at La Haus

At this point, Porter entered the picture, delivering a Heroku-like experience on top of Kubernetes in La Haus’s existing AWS cloud. Within a month, La Haus fully migrated off of Heroku to Porter, consolidating all applications onto Kubernetes while preserving Heroku’s seamless developer experience.

Beyond the traditional PaaS use case

In addition to providing full functional parity with Heroku, Porter has enabled new use cases for La Haus’s developers with its expanded feature set. While Heroku has very rudimentary cronjobs, Porter’s first-class support for scheduled workloads has drastically reduced the overhead of creating and maintaining jobs at La Haus.

“The feedback from our developers has been great. There are also features like jobs that were very basic on Heroku that are much better on Porter. These improvements have been very helpful for our development workflow.” - Herbert Gomez, Director of Engineering at La Haus

Likewise, since Porter delivers a developer platform on top of Kubernetes, DevOps engineers at La Haus now have the freedom to customize the underlying Helm templates and cluster. One notable addition to La Haus’s tech stack is Kubecost, which they run on their Porter-connected clusters to retrieve insights into Kubernetes-related costs.

With the unique combination of abstraction and flexibility afforded by Porter, the La Haus team now has the freedom to continue expanding their infrastructure without sacrificing developer experience and velocity.

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