The fast-growing code repository GitHub announced today that it will move to Rackspace, ending a lengthy hosting partnership with Engine Yard. The GitHub team said its decision was driven by the rapid growth of the site, which is adding 400 users and 1,000 coding projects a day. The announcement came a week after Engine Yard had publicly announced that GitHub would be transitioning to another host.
“The move to Rackspace will bring about a new backend architecture and a lot more servers, leading to a much improved user experience for everyone,” writes GitHub co-founder Tom Preston-Werner. “We need to take drastic action now to put in place the kind of infrastructure that will allow us to provide you with a top-notch user experience.”
While GitHub characterized the move as being driven by performance requirements, Engine Yard cited philosophical issues as well. Engine Yard specializes in hosting Ruby on Rails sites, and said its agreement to provide GitHub with “value swap” hosting (free hosting in return for free GitHub accounts for Engine Yard customers) was rooted in GitHub’s importance to the Ruby on Rails community.
“Recently, however, GitHub has begun to grow very rapidly in non-Ruby communities,” wrote Engine Yard’s Tom Mornini. “This is wonderful for GitHub, but made adding new resources on a free basis far less attractive to Engine Yard. GitHub offers the largest free storage quota among the big SCM hosters, and we came to the conclusion that we didn’t want to subsidize that quota for non-Ruby developers.
“We discussed options extensively with GitHub and made our best attempt to offer an easy ramp from free to paid,” Mornini added. “However, in the end, the best arrangement for them was moving.”
GitHub’s announcement focused on technical and infrastructure considerations, including the need to work with a host accustomed to larger sites and the desire to run some workloads in non-virtualized “bare metal” environments. And yes, cost was an issue. “In order to keep ahead of the traffic curve, we need to have immediate access to affordable, commodity hardware,” Preston-Werner noted.
Whatever their differences, both GitHub and Engine Yard made a point of acknowledging the value of the partnership during GitHub’s development.
“It takes a lot of effort to build, maintain, and host a site like GitHub,” writes Preston-Werner. “I’d like to thank Engine Yard for getting us to where we are, (and) Rackspace for helping us get to where we’re going.”