So we finally found out that Google was not opening up the use of BigTable. Instead, they decide to launch a competitor to Amazon’s suite of services. The question now is, does Google app engine rev your engine? As a certified geek, I have a few issues with the Google offering some of which can be summarized from the TechCrunch coverage of the launch.
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.
Google’s offering is the entire application stack. So, you can’t choose a different application host and use Google’s storage. A major issue is the choice of language, Python. I have nothing against Python and have yet to learn it. However, it is not one of the most widely used languages. Given that you have no choice, they have alienated the large majority of developers on the internet. The third major issue is the fact that Google accounts are used for everything. Do you want users to have different security roles, you are using a Google account. Do you want other developers helping you and have version control access? You are using a Google account. This is probably OK for someone just starting out, but for anyone with bigger plans this is going to be a problem.
There are some good things about the service though. Mashable has a nice summary of some of the trade-offs.
So what do you get for a trade-off? Let me count the ways:
Log-file level access.
Ability to see all source and indexes.
Ability to view all collected data (database view).
Permissioning of the application.
Collaborative development (manage access of others with developer level access).
This is the redeeming factor of the service in my opinion. Google’s reliability is also a major plus. Given Google’s prior history, I doubt that we are going to see this platform as Python only for a long period of time. So, does Google App Engine rev my engine? Not yet, but if they give me a Java/Ruby/Php platform it looks like an engine to drool over.