I've tried a lot of different Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers for hosting my applications. Some of them make it super-easy to get everything running on the server, but the magic gets in the way when you need to customize things.
Some platforms give you full control, but it can be time-consuming to get all of your dependencies properly set up. It would be nice to have some of the boilerplate taken care of, while still retaining full control of my server environment.
If you haven’t deployed an application to Engine Yard (EY), you should give it a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that this is exactly the kind of service offered. It’s a breeze to get Redis, cron, and any other tools you need installed. You also get root access to your server and can SSH in just as you would with a bare server.