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I'd question how far you can really manage to scale something before you have to start considering it a commercial project requiring investment. My experience is that the free Heroku and GAE levels are both fine at the prototype/closed beta stage, unless your "closed beta" is the size of Gmail. Both services have heavy caching infrastructure in front of them, and you get as much of that as you need at any level—you only need to worry about scaling for actual CPU-intensive tasks, which should always be handled gracefully client-side to begin with (in case of network latency &c.)



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