Last night, Google App Engine was launched in beta. The system is designed to expose Google scaleable infrastructure to other server side web applications.
And it's free for up to 500MB of persistent storage and enough bandwidth and CPU for 5 million monthly page views.
But, you do have to know Python for this release, and data is stored in BigTable. While NASA might be able to adopt this tool easily, this limits access for PHP, ASP and other programmers who haven't kept tabs on the big snake.
Oh, and only the first 10,000 developers to sign up for the beta will be allowed to deploy applications.
But this beta testing phase allows Google to build and stronger product and gives the rest of us a chance to study-up on Python and BigTable.
But I can't help wondering whether the full adoption of this new toolset might be slower than anticipated. Websites recently investing in a move to open source LAMP, might hold out until Google offers a PHP alternative. But that may not be in the works.
Of course, that doesn't address the fact that the data source is housed in BigTable -- a different beast from SQL. Assuming you will be able to port content over to this format, it will require a shift in how developers view content storage. While it may be the better than SQL for large enterprise-level content (see Google’s Bigtable Distributed Storage System, Pt. I), it will take some work and bend some minds as they adjust to a very different schema.
Here are some resources for additional information:
- Techcrunch: Google Jumps Head First Into Web Services With Google App Engine
- Scobelizer: Google jumps on Big Table of Web Services (A bit shout-out to Robert Scoble for keeping us in the loop on this through his multiple tweets last night)
- Mashable: Google App Engine: An Early Look
- CNET: Google hopes to house Web software on App Engine
- ThinkingNectar: Google App Engine In Brief
- Google App Engine Website -- check out the videos.