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Re: [google-appengine] Re: Keep it short: Who is forced to leave GAE?


Wesley C (Google) Sep 1, 2011 3:33 PM
Posted in group: Google App Engine
On Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 10:23 PM, Srirangan <srir...@gmail.com> wrote:
The mode of operation seems to be:

1. Attract users with free / very low cost, cloud infrastructure
2. Force them to use Google specific APIs aka lock them in
3. Drastically increase prices giving users only a couple of weeks notice
4. Since they're locked in, and can't migrate their app in a couple of weeks, fleece them!

I do hope somebody from Google tells me that I am wrong! :-)


we understand what users are feeling, but i think you're mistaken on some of your points:

1. most Google products are free/low cost. App Engine was/is no exception. it was/is also in it's beta or preview period... a time for users to "try before you buy." however, unlike a standard API, this is a distributed application execution platform, which is not exactly a low-cost service. 

many users are comparing App Engine to EC2, but that is not an accurate comparison... yes, both are fruits, but this is really apples vs. oranges. with EC2, *you* have to not only worry about your app, but also *everything else*, like elasticity/scale, operating system, database server, web server, load balancer, licenses, patches/upgrades, etc. i would argue that scalability is the most difficult and most expensive thing to build on your own.

your app can be slashdotted or tweeted by demi moore -- http://adtmag.com/blogs/watersworks/2010/10/mobile-app-creators-talk-google-app-engine.aspx -- or perhaps you may need to build/host something on the scale of both the royal wedding blog and event livestream with traffic numbers that are mindblowing -- http://googleappengine.blogspot.com/2011/05/royal-wedding-bells-in-cloud.html ... *these* are the reasons for using App Engine. it was not meant as free/cheap generic app-hosting but to provide a premium service that's difficult to get elsewhere in the market. if you're just after the former, there are plenty of options for you.

2. this is directly related to #1. the company has spent many years and $$$ to build infrastructure that is "Google-scale," whatever you think that means, and you should have an idea. we've built a system that lets you leverage all the research and horsepower, but because it's all hand-built, you need to use our APIs to take advantage of it! after all, you can't get something for nothing, or can you? perhaps you *can*, if you're developing a Django app using Python.

the Django web framework traditionally relies on a SQL/relational DB, but the django-nonrel project -- http://allbuttonspressed.com -- enables Django apps to run on NoSQL/non-relational databases, including MongoDB and App Engine. (ports to Cassandra, Redis, SimpleDB, etc., are also underway.) what this means is that you can write a traditional Django app but can choose *where* you want to run it, whether it be on App Engine, or via traditional hosting (SQL or non). "lock-in" doesn't exist if you can move your app (and data) to/from App Engine any time you wish with just a change of your settings.py file! i've even written an article to help you port your app from webapp to Django if you wish -- http://code.google.com/appengine/articles/django-nonrel.html

that's on the client side as both the App Engine SDK as well as Django are both open sourced. if you wish to run you own App Engine-like *backend* compatible with the App Engine SDK & API, you can take a look at the TyphoonAE -- http://code.google.com/p/typhoonae -- and AppScale -- http://appscale.cs.ucsb.edu -- projects. Google welcomes/supports such server-side projects -- http://appscale.cs.ucsb.edu/sponsors.html -- even if we can't release our proprietary backend. in fact, one of the AppScale team members has written about the project -- http://googleappengine.blogspot.com/2010/10/research-project-appscale-at-university.html -- and has interned here at Google!

3. the price changes are a reflection of certain key facts:

a. Google as a company backing the entire platform as a product... instead of being cancelled, we're coming out of preview mode and become an official product! Google is not a non-profit company and cannot continue to operate services at a loss. our products, and my paycheck's gotta come from *some*where! coming out of preview means Google is committed to App Engine, and in turn, we're committed to our users.

b. this service costs the company significant resources... premium services like App Engine and YouTube require a lot of hardware and networking bandwidth. We serve more than 1.5 *billion* pages views a day across all applications!

c. we're adding an SLA and paid support -- http://code.google.com/appengine/sla.html plus a business-oriented ToS -- http://code.google.com/appengine/updated_terms.html -- with updates like alternative billing options. These help prove to enterprise that we mean business and provide a strongly-desired comfort level from larger customers.

d. most importantly, these changes were announced publicly during the second week of May during Google I/O -- see http://googleappengine.blogspot.com/2011/05/year-ahead-for-google-app-engine.html ... slightly more than a few weeks notice.

4. this is certainly not the intention, as stated above. We written up a FAQ -- http://code.google.com/appengine/kb/postpreviewpricing.html -- as well as provided guidance on adjustments that you can make to ease the transition to the new pricing model -- http://code.google.com/appengine/articles/managing-resources.html

we will continue to work with users over the coming months to help them with any questions or concerns they may have. please reach out to appengine_up...@google.com to send in your feedback and concerns.

hope this helps clear up some details,
-- wesley
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"Core Python Programming", Prentice Hall, (c)2007,2001
"Python Fundamentals", Prentice Hall, (c)2009
   http://corepython.com

wesley.chun : wesc+api at google.com : @wescpy
developer relations :: google cloud products