Google App Engine to Power Python Projects

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Last night’s unveiling of Google App Engine, a developer platform for Python applications, generated lots of coverage. Most of the stories focused on Google’s offering as a competitor to Amazon’s utility computing platform (S3 and EC2), but some coverage also looked at the technical and strategic details. Here are the highlights from around the web:

  • Introducing Google App Engine: An overview from Product Manager Paul McDonald on the new Google App Engine Blog. “During this preview period, applications are limited to 500MB of storage, 200M megacycles of CPU per day, and 10GB bandwidth per day,” McDonald writes. “We expect most applications will be able to serve around 5 million pageviews per month.”
  • TechCrunch: “Unlike Amazon Web Services’ loosely coupled architecture, which consists of several essentially independent services that can optionally be tied together by developers, Google’s architecture is more unified but less flexible,” Michael Arrington writes.
  • Brady Forrest at O’Reilly Radar: “I like the approach that Google is taking. They have always been clear that they want more people on the web (more pages means more ads served). They are providing the platform for people who want to put up a quick app; the real question is will they stick with it when the app hits the bigtime?”

  • High Scalability: A couple of the many notes on the service from Todd Hoff: “Python only. More languages will follow. As you are uploading clear text into the engine there’s no hiding from mother Google. You aren’t getting root. Applications run in a sandbox, which is a secure environment that provides limited access to the underlying operating system. These limitations allow App Engine to distribute web requests for the application across multiple servers, and start and stop servers to meet traffic demands.”
  • James Urquhart sees App Engine as “cloud lock-in”: “It is a cloud, but it’s exactly the kind of cloud most enterprises should avoid. If you are building a web business, and this tickles your fancy, go for it. You can’t beat the price, and you’ve got to love the feature set. If you are a Fortune 500 looking for where to launch your next CRM interface, forget it.”
  • Bob Warfield: “The arms race has begun. I’ll stick to my 2 year timetable before entry of new players will be impossible. Google has just raised the bar on what you have to get done in the 2 years. Others may raise the bar further … The ball is in Amazon’s court. They have a lot of momentum, but they will finally have to offer something beyond what they already built for their existing business if they want to keep up with Google.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.