Google just significantly raised the stakes in the platform-as-a-service market with tonight’s launch of Google App Engine, a scalable, fault-tolerant web application environment that lets developers run their own apps on Google’s infrastructure. Naturally the new platform leverages Google’s expertise in building web-scale services including Big Table-type storage.
While in many ways this service competes with Amazon’s suite of on-demand infrastructure APIs including S3 storage, EC2 hosting and the SimpleDB database, the approach is different. In Google’s model you get all of these services bundled together in one package. This is a plus if you want to run your entire app under one roof versus the lower-level, individual services in Amazon’s model.
At a high level there are five pieces to App Engine:
One of the first questions from most developers will be: What’s the cost? Sign up is free and so is running your app as long as stay under quotas 500MB of storage, 200 million megacycles/day of CPU, and 10GB of total bandwidth. Google estimates this means there will be no cost for up to approximately 5 million pageviews a month. Once this initial preview period is over Google will introduce a billing model for additional resources at “competitive market prices.”
As you can see there’s a lot to this announcement. Google provides a lot of useful resources including What is Google App Engine?, an FAQ, and set of articles. Note that the preview release is limited to the first 10,000 developers that sign-up.
And finally, a note on today’s launch itself: just as they’d done with their OpenSocial announcement last fall, Google launched App Engine at a Campfire on Google’s Mountain View campus. For details on the event itself check-out TechCrunch’s coverage including videos from Robert Scoble.