Tuesday, April 08, 2008

PaaS Gets The Google Touch

It seems that even Google is getting the PaaS (Platform as a Service) religion. At their Campfire One "get together" Google announced an "early technology preview" of a new service they're calling the Google App Engine.

The idea is that Google has determined (like Force from Salesforce.com and Elastic Cloud Computing from Amazon) - that the so-called "last mile of service" - actually getting your application up and running somewhere on the web - can be a challenge.

They've set out to allow developers to get an application up on the web and running - and then scale it up to almost infinite capability - seamlessly and for free (for now). The platform will be limited to running applications in Python (WTF?), and they go out of their way to stress that they are not providing a virtual server or virtual instance of a machine, but rather, they are hosting the developer's application (only).

It comes with 500MB of persistent storage and enough CPU and bandwidth for about 5 million page views a month. For free. For now.

Although they also stress it is not "feature complete" and it's still in development, AND there is no word on what the actual pricing will be once it's out of development, AND they're limiting this preview to the first 10,000 lucky developers to sign up... it's still a very interesting development.

It seems that in the emerging world of the integrated stack (aka PaaS) I think we're going to see LOTS more announcements and competing platforms and standards in order to gain the most developer eyeballs.

Speaking of developers - it just seems to me that Google is slowly becoming the new Microsoft. That is, it has your mail (free), your Office-like apps (free), searching (free), image archive (free), and now also wants to host your applications.

This could be a bug or a feature, depending on how you look at it.

BUG: For all the privacy, head-in-the-ground-scardy-cat-types - it's "big brother." It also smacks of what Microsoft has been doing for years - locking developers into a proprietary integrated stack that is almost impossible to get out of - without completely re-writing all applications ever developed.

FEATURE: If you're a small Web 2.0 company that is looking to get bought by Google (and be honest - who isn't?) - then what better way to have Google become aware of your application and your company and your sustained pageviews - than to host it on Google's own infrastructure? I can almost hear the wide-eyed-we're-going-to-be-rich gear heads coding now...

For the gory details - check out the six (6) videos and the technical specs after the break...

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