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Google App Engine Is Here!

As many blogs have already reported Google has just launched the App Engine project.

Google App Engine

In a few words, Google App Engine will let you build a full stack and automatically scalable web application hosted on their premises.

This is what Google is saying about the project:

Today we’re announcing a preview release of Google App Engine, an application-hosting tool that developers can use to build scalable web apps on top of Google’s infrastructure. The goal is to make it easier for web developers to build and scale applications, instead of focusing on system administration and maintenance

Leveraging Google App Engine, developers can

* Write code once and deploy. Provisioning and configuring multiple machines for web serving and data storage can be expensive and time consuming. Google App Engine makes it easier to deploy web applications by dynamically providing computing resources as they are needed. Developers write the code, and Google App Engine takes care of the rest.

* Absorb spikes in traffic. When a web app surges in popularity, the sudden increase in traffic can be overwhelming for applications of all sizes, from startups to large companies that find themselves rearchitecting their databases and entire systems several times a year. With automatic replication and load balancing, Google App Engine makes it easier to scale from one user to one million by taking advantage of Bigtable and other components of Google’s scalable infrastructure.

* Easily integrate with other Google services. It’s unnecessary and inefficient for developers to write components like authentication and e-mail from scratch for each new application. Developers using Google App Engine can make use of built-in components and Google’s broader library of APIs that provide plug-and-play functionality for simple but important features.

This is definitely competing with Amazon S3, EC2 and SimpleDB suite of oservices and it is nice to see this happening.

There are some other interesting things that need to be noticed

If I were a startup I would definitely consider something like Amazon S3 or Google App Engine for my infrastructure. It will allow me to focus all of my efforts on the design of my product/service without having to consider any scalability issue. Moreover I can invest the money i will save in marketing and sales instead of bringing a bunch of servers in a datacenter. You will also spare money on the support of those machines

In some way this is a sort of technology democratization. Talent and creativity may count more than money

The other positive thing is that you will be already sitting in a Google environment and that will make easier for your company to be acquired by Google itself. At the end of the day isn’t that the dream of anyone of us

On the dark side there are a couple of things that need to be considered.

You will not have control over the infrastructure your service will rely on. The recent Amazon S3 black out is something that may happen and may turn to be not so easy to sort out

The other thing is that is may be not so easy to take out your application from Google App Engine and run it on your own server. If, for any reason, you may think that this will happen you need to take this in account.

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  1. don’t forget about Nirvanix… they are similar to Google’s new deal, and Amazon S3, providing the API to build an app on, except their bundle is fully loaded. They market a little bit more to the enterprise end of things, but the pay-as-you-go pricing allows businesses on both ends of the spectrum to enjoy the “full service” storage.
    if you’re interested