Google App Engine – out of Beta

O´Reilly Radar: Google App Engine Lets Your Web App Grow Up

After today developers can pay to have more storage, more bandwidth, more CPU time and send more email. The costs as of this morning are listed below with a comparison to the AWS equivalent cost.

• 10 cents per cpu core hour (AWS charges $.10/hr for a small, standard Linux instance and up to $1.20/hr for an XL, Hi-CPU Windows instance in EC2)
• $.10 per gigabyte transferred into AE (AWS charges $.10 for all data transferred into S3)
• $.12 per gigabyte transferred out of AE (AWS charges $.17 for the first 10 TB/month transferred out ofS3)
• $.15 per gigabyte stored per month (AWS charges $.15 for the first 50 TB/month stored onS3)
• .0001 dollars per email (AWS does not have an equivalent)

A huge concern with App Engine is platform lock-in. Google provides a lot of powerful, but non-standard APIs and features that make switching platforms difficult. Developers can extract themselves from App Engine via projects like AppDrop, but it is still risky to use their platform without an SLA. Without a guarantee Google could theoretically decide to raise prices unreasonably. Is it likely? No, but it is something that developers need to think about before committing to any platform.

This may be a showstopper, at least for some. The lock-in is imho much stronger than for example with AWS. So choose wisely…

App Engine quotas here.

And Dare asks Is Google App Engine the wrong product for the market?

Below are the two categories of people I surmised would be interested in spending their hard earned cash on a book about cloud computing platforms

  1. Enterprise developers looking to cut costs of running their own IT infrastructure by porting existing apps or writing new apps.
  2. Web developers looking to build new applications who are interested in leveraging a high performance infrastructure without having to build their own.

As I pondered this list it occurred to me that neither of these groups is well served by Google App Engine.

Given the current economy, an attractive thing to enterprises will be reducing the operating costs of their current internal applications as well as eliminating significant capital expenditure on new applications. The promise of cloud computing is that they can get both. The cloud computing vendor manages the cloud so you no longer need the ongoing expense of your own IT staff to maintain servers. You also don’t need to make significant up-front payments to buy servers and software if you can pay as you go on someone else’s cloud instead. Google App Engine fails the test as a way to port existing applications because it is a proprietary application platform that is incompatible with pre-existing application platforms.