Marco thinks we should all suck it up and learn basic Linux server administration, and that a lot of people are going to get burned by highly abstracted solutions like Heroku and Azure:
There’s a learning curve and necessary integration work for every back-end option, from iCloud and Dropbox to your own colocated servers. AWS, Azure, Heroku, App Engine, Parse, and similar services aren’t free, easy, or automatic. (Neither is “scaling” with them, regardless of what you’ve heard.) Hosted infrastructure is like sync: it has a minimum, unavoidable level of complexity to accommodate. You can’t just check a box or set a BOOL and have it all taken care of for you.
We definitely had the experience at my old company of — even at our pretty small scale — not being able to get what we needed out of it and it getting prohibitively expensive. Marco would definitely know, so I’m inclined to listen to his advice. I’ve been leaning towards hosting my band app on WebFaction with Django instead of Azure, although not due to costs or because I think it’ll be a problem for me to scale, but because Django seems like a better fit for the specific thing I want to do. Maybe I should go all the way and put it on Linode?