Google on Tuesday launched its App Engine, which allows developers to run their Web applications on the search giant's computing cloud.
With Google App Engine, developers can write web applications based on the same building blocks that Google uses, like GFS and Bigtable. Google App Engine packages those building blocks and provides access to scalable infrastructure that we hope will make it easier for developers to scale their applications automatically as they grow. This means they can spend less time dealing with system administration and maintenance, and more time building and improving their applications.
A preview is available to the first 10,000 developers that sign up and Google has hit its limit. Add it up and Google App Engine does the following:
- Forces Microsoft to cook up a rival effort if it wants to be a cloud player;
- Could threaten Amazon, but Garett Rogers notes its an apples-oranges comparison right now;
- And enters Google into the platform as a service race.
I'd take it further. After listening to idle chatter at this Gartner Emerging Technologies conference, I've been surprised about how much Google is entering the conversation for enterprise applications. Gartner has these lunchtime vendor pitches and Google's enterprise search appliance one is always well intended.
Here are some takeaways from a few conversations:
- Corporate customers are interested in using Google apps in their architecture;
- But there's a hangup—they're wary of hosting things in Google's cloud;
- However, these IT managers are very interested in cloud computing even though it seems a bit academic right now;
- I've heard at least four IT types say Google isn't ready for the enterprise, but a Google App Appliance, just like the one Garett advocated a few weeks back would get them off the fence. I'm convinced that an App Appliance would be the ingredient that could put Google on the enterprise map.
Now let's loop all of those crosscurrents back to this Google App Engine. Right now, Google's effort is really about the cloud.
From the App Engine blog:
Google App Engine gives you access to the same building blocks that Google uses for its own applications, making it easier to build an application that runs reliably, even under heavy load and with large amounts of data.
There's no question that enterprises would be interested in using the Apps Engine as a testbed and a hosting platform for even a few corporate apps. What's missing is an appliance that could allow them to develop these Apps Engine projects and keep their Web software creations internal. Consider it a cloud-but-not-cloud approach. That hybrid approach will be the one that initially wins the day among IT buyers. If the App Engine—not to mention Google's docs and spreadsheets—ever met an App Appliance there could be some real corporate mojo to be had.
Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and Editorial Director of TechRepublic.