Engine Yard, a managed hosting services provider for RubyOnRails applications, announced today that they closed a $15M Series B round of financing from NEA, Amazon and Benchmark Capital. The company had previously raised $3.5M from Benchmark back in January of this year – so only 7 months ago. In that time, the company has grown to 80 employees across four continents with servers across two datacenters. New investors in the round are NEA and Amazon, who run generic Linux grid hosting and more via their web services division.
While as a core service Engine Yard offers hosted and scalable RubyOnRails application hosting (similar to Joyent, Mosso and others), and is specifically focused on Ruby and Rails, their goals are much bigger and broader. By supporting various open source projects related to Rails as well as supporting the community in general, Engine Yard hope to become an active advocate of the RubyOnRails platform within startups and the enterprise. The managed hosting service is only one of a number of components and auxiliary services that are being built out to spin Engine Yard into a de-facto “RedHat of Rails”.
The ambitions at Engine Yard are high, and it is reflected in the amount of funding they have raised as well as the caliber of those investors. Their sights are set on competing not only with Java in the enterprise, but the numerous billion–dollar vendors currently providing app servers, tools and more as part of the J2EE stack. While Ruby, and Rails in particular, are increasing in popularity amongst startups, the impact within the enterprise to date has been limited (and almost insignificant on a revenue basis). From a technology perspective, there are major differences between Ruby – a scripting language running via CGI in a lightweight web server, and Java – a stable and tested virtual machine. With Java, there are also full application servers and suites available from both commercial vendors and as open source – the equivalent of which on some scale the Ruby community are building now.
Regardless of the high aims of cutting away from Java in the enterprise, Engine Yard at its core seems to be a stable and well supported platform for deploying and hosting apps written in Rails. Pricing for application hosting starts at $399 per ‘slice’ per month, along with $299 setup cost for each new slice. Clustering solutions are also available (insert joke here about how you will probably need it) and are priced on a bespoke basis.