FREE MOBILE CLOUD COMPUTING CONCEPTS
Google App Engine is a unique hosting
platform that lets you build applications and run them in Google’s data centers using the massive global infrastructure
built to run the Internet’s most powerful company.
App Engine offers a development environment that uses
familiar technologies (Java and Python) and provides a powerful and robust set of APIs to users while maintaining security
and independence from other apps running in the cloud. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Google launched Google
App Engine, a hosted dynamic
runtime environment for Python web applications inside Google’s geo-distributed architecture.
Google App Engine is the latest in a series of Google-hosted application environments and the first publicly-available
dynamic runtime and storage environment based on large-scale propriety computing systems.
Google App Engine lets any Python developer
execute CGI-driven Web applications, store its results, and serve static content
from a fault-tolerant geo-distributed computing grid built exclusively for modern Web applications. I met with the App Engine’s
team leads on Monday morning for an in-depth overview of the product, its features, and its limitations.
has been working on the Google App Engine since at least March 2006 and has only just begun revealing some of its
In this post I will summarize Google App Engine from a developer’s point of view, outline its
major features, and examine pitfalls for developers and startups interested in deploying web applications on Google’s
What is Google App Engine?
Freemium hosting model
What is Google
Google App Engine is a proprietary virtualized computing suite covering the major common components of a modern web
application: dynamic runtime, persistent storage, static file serving, user management, external web requests, e-mail communication,
service monitoring, and log analysis.
The Google App Engine product offers a single hosted production web server
stack hosted on Google’s custom-designed computers and datacenters distributed around the world.
Google App Engine is a managed hosting
environment with a tightly managed stack running in a machine-independent environment. It simplifies the deployment and management
of your web application software stack while constraining you to a specific stack. When I start a new web development project
today I have to first setup a tiered system to effectively handle site growth:
dedicated servers or virtualized slices. Estimate necessary CPU, memory, disk
space, etc. at each tier.
Configure a web server for dynamic content. Install Python and its eggs, Apache HTTPd and
extra modules such as modwsgi. Configure and tweak each. Open appropriate
Setup a MySQL database server and choose the appropriate
storage engine. Configure MySQL, add users, add permissions. Tweak and optimize.
Add an in-memory caching layer for frequently accessed dynamic content.
Monitor your uptime
and resource utilization with Ganglia and/or other tools on each machine.
Serve static files
as Amazon’s Simple
Turn your static
server into an origin server for a CDN with points of presence close to
your website’s users.
Connect each piece of the stack, keep its software updated to avoid security vulnerabilities,
and hopefully respond to all website requests in less than a second.
Dedicate work hours and expertise to all the above.
Hire outside assistance if needed.
Don’t go broke trying.
Your tiers will expand as your new web application gains
popularity. Your single-server tiers become load-balanced services, message bus broadcasts and listeners, and distributed
cache arrays at scale. You’ll probably spend time rearchitecting your application at each stage of growth to incorporate
for these new resource demands if you can afford the time, expertise, and effort.
Google App Engine is a new and interesting solution
for Python developers interested in adding features, not servers.
Google spends hundreds of millions of dollars
developing its custom infrastructure with 12-volt power supplies
tapped into a hydro-electric
dam next door and fat fiber
pipes owned by local governments carrying requests and responses to their proper home. Google’s physical infrastructure
is vast array of highly optimized web machines, and we’ll now be able to see how such infrastructure performs across
more generic applications on App Engine.
Freemium hosting model
Google App Engine is a “freemium” business model offering basic features for free with paid upsells available for application developers exceeding
approximately 5 million pageviews a month. This resource quota approximately matches the Google Analytics 5 million pageview limit. Google Analytics customers may currently exceed this
limit if they maintain an active AdWords account with a daily advertising budget of $1 or more. The Google App Engine team
plans to introduce pricing and service level agreements for additional resources, priced in a pay-as-you-go marginal resource
structure, once the product leaves its limited 10,000-person preview period later this year.
Limit / day
External URL requests
these quotas and provides administrative monitoring tools.
The quotas are just a guideline as Google may cut off
access to your application if you receive a traffic spike of an unspecified duration.
App Engine is not without its faults. Applications cannot currently expand beyond the quota’s ceiling. It’s still
unclear how an application will dynamically scale on App Engine once it leaves the farm leagues, and at what cost.
A few major issues include:
Static files are limited
to 1 MB. App Engine does not support partial content requests (Accept-Ranges).
Cron jobs and other long-life processes are not permitted.
Applications are not uniquely identifiable
by IP address, leading to a lack of identification for external communications. Applications may suffer from
bad neighbor penalties from API providers upset at another app
on the service.
No SSL support. No IP address complicates signing, but port
443 is open for requests. You can rely on Google services (and branding) for trusted login and possibly future payments.
No image processing.
Python Imaging Library relies on C, and is therefore not a possible App Engine module.
Google user accounts. Site visitors are very
aware of your choice in web hosts each time they attempt to logon to your application.
I feel like this flow makes
your application seem less professional, but may be a reasonable trade-off.
Google will store your user data and
potentially mine its data for better ad targeting.
Overall I am quite impressed
with Google App Engine and its potential to remove operations management and systems administration from my task list. I am
not confident in Google App Engine as a hosting solution for any real business while the host is in preview stage but those
concerns may be alleviated once the product is ready for real customers and real service-level agreements.
Python developers have just been granted
a few superpowers for future projects. As an existing Python and Django developer I know how difficult it can be to find a
managed hosting provider with modern Python support. Many hosts are years behind, running Python 2.3. I am excited App Engine
already features the programming tools I use every day, with a few modifications for their proprietary systems. App Engine
should introduce more developers to Python and the Django framework and hopefully cause other web hosts to provide better
Python support as well.
The product is clearly in a beta, the hard
caps are part of that. No one in their right mind would host anything of value on it until the private beta is over. Something
tells me that Google will be able to handle the techcrunch effect (lol) just fine, and happily charge you painful overages
What’s new here?
Web developers have long used Google App Engine to host web apps in the cloud – see Clear-NetworkDoings for example – but this is probably the first time that Google’s
infrastructure is being used to host a ‘static website’ of an event that will get plenty of press attention and
web traffic in the coming days.
Host your own website on Google App Engine
There are quite a few advantages with hosting websites on Google App Engine. First, it should
be more reliable since your site will get served through Google’s own data centers.
Second, if you have a low traffic website,
it is highly likely that you won’t have to spend a penny for web hosting. You get 1 GB of free storage space for hosting
your images, HTML web pages and other files and 1 GB of bandwidth per day. If you exceed that quota, you pay-per-use similar
to Amazon S3.
Ready to jump?
With a regular web hosting company, you rend
some storage space on their server, you then transfer your HTML and other files to that server using FTP or cPanel and your
website is ready to serve. Google App Engine works in similar manner except that the file transfer mechanism is a bit different.
1: Go to appengine.google.com
and create a new application. If you have never used App Engine before, you might be asked to verify your mobile phone number
before you can create a new app.
Step 2: Give your application a name – it should be unique and may
only include lowercase alphabets and digits. For this example, our app identifier is “thisismyawesomewebsite”.
3: The next two sub-steps may scare some of you but trust me, they simply require you download and run two installers
in the given sequence.
3a. Download and install Python from python.org. 3b. Download and install App Engine SDK from this code.google.com.
Step 4: Download and unzip this file – website.zip – somewhere on your desktop. It contains a basic website with some HTML pages, images
and CSS that we’ll try to host with Google App Engine.
Step 5: Open the app.yaml file with
notepad and replace the word ‘labnol’ with the application identifier that you created in Step 2 above. Save the
Step 6: Finally it’s time to deploy /upload our website to Google
App Engine. Open the Google App Engine Launcher program from the Start Menu, choose File – > Add Existing Application
and browse to the folder where you unzipped the website.
Hit the deploy button, input your Google Account credentials and
within seconds, your website should become available online at abc.appspot.com where abc is your unique app identifier.
Later, if you add or modify any web page, press Deploy again and your new /edited files will get uploaded to App Engine.....