Monday, 27 December 2010

Is Google App Engine an Option for Startups?

If you look for rules and regulations of Google App Engine you might feel you are being restricted too much. Apps only work as callbacks and must respond within 30 seconds, no file system write access, cannot create a thread and so on.

Lets look at what all GAE offers. It is Platform as a Service solution that offers massive and flexible scalability to your web app. It supports Java and Python as well as third party APIs as long as they do not violate sandbox rules. With JVM compatible compilers and interpreters you can use other languages such as Javascript, Scala and Ruby. Besides Python framework 'webapp' other frameworks like Django work well with GAE. You get to run web apps on Google's infrastructure, which is based on cloud computing. There you go, so easy to get started! There is automatic scalability, reliability, performance and cost efficient hosting. Also Eclipse plugin is available for GAE project and servlet version 2.5 is supported.

Datastore plus Bigtable gives great scalability to Google App Engine. Unlike the relational database technology datastore can scale horizontally. Bigtable allows infinite number of rows and columns and new columns can be added on the fly. It scales out by adding more servers to the datastore cluster. GQL has SQL like syntax and intentionally does not support query joins. So overall there is not much of learning curve involved. This is very much the case with startups where they can neither afford to have buffer nor to devote time for learning phase.

You focus on development and let Google take care of IaaS complexities! That is so conducive for startups. If you look at the goodies provided by GAE- Memcache, URLFetch, Task Queues, Cron Jobs and the list is apparently endless. So what are you thinking? Go grab the advantages of GAE!

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