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Google Apps Engine Gets SQL 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the rows-and-columns dept.
oker writes "Google has finally added SQL to its cloud platform offering, Apps Engine. Until now, developers had to use the Datastore service, which provides a vendor lock-in threat and isn't supported by most existing software and libraries. The SQL service should definitely improve Apps Engine adoption. It is currently in limited preview mode."
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Google Apps Engine Gets SQL

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  • Before Google Apps Engine had an edge with its free plans, but why would anyone seriously use it now when there are much more capable Amazon cloud and Microsoft Azure available? Those two are also Apple's choice for their iCloud [slashdot.org], while Google's services are missing from that list.

    There's practically nothing that Google offers that others don't (except for the price before), and they're still missing huge amount of stuff that their competitors offer, like htis addition of SQL just now tells. For example, A
    • by rish87 (2460742)
      I mostly use AWS, but have tried app engine a while back. I get the feeling that if you're trying to do something that app engine supports, it is easier to do it there instead of rolling everything together on your own from the various AWS offerings. Basically AWS = many more options, App Engine = better support/interfacing for a smaller subset of functions.
    • Well, EC2 is lower level, so you have to manage the whole stack. In App Engine they take care of managing everything up to your application - the OS, web server, app server, etc. And nothing stops you from using S3 with GAE.
      I don't know Azure, though.

      • by Braino420 (896819)

        Well, EC2 is lower level, so you have to manage the whole stack.

        I think a more apt comparison to App Engine would be AWS' Elastic Beanstalk.

    • by tdelaney (458893)

      My apps all fall under the free thresholds. The "little" guy really hasn't been hurt by the changes. Google listened, and increased the number of free instance-hours to 28, allowing a free app to have a single idle instance all the time, with occasional spikes.

      You do need to configure this though - I personally think that any free app should be automatically configured to be max 1 idle instance and maximum queue time.

      http://googleappengine.blogspot.com/2011/09/few-adjustments-to-app-engines-upcoming.html [blogspot.com]

    • by dolmant_php (461584) on Friday October 07, 2011 @03:42PM (#37642850)
      I disagree that app engine offers nothing more than the other services. The offerings are different types of services. As proof: app engine comes with the following basic services: blobstore, memcache, database, auto-scaling. Amazon web services has options for all of these, yes, but they are all separate services: S3 (blobstore), memcache (elasticache), simple db (database), auto-scaling (cloud watch). In AWS, I have to configure all of these systems independently of the others, and pay for them, too. I have to worry about upgrades, operating systems, etc. In google app engine, all of this is bundled in already. AWS does have all of the functionality, but it requires lots more setup. After all is said and done, GAE is actually priced very competitively, and even cheaper than, its competitors.
    • by rosciol (925673)

      It seems clear you haven't tried App Engine. You mention Azure's integration with Eclipse as something which competitors have that Google doesn't, except that the Google Eclipse plugin has provided the same (and dare I say better) integration with the Eclipse environment since App Engine launched, which was well before Azure. You then go on to allude to "services" that Amazon provides, which if you're referring to EC2 is a bit like comparing Gmail to exim4 with mutt, and if you're referring to the other A

    • Before Google Apps Engine had an edge with its free plans, but why would anyone seriously use it now when there are much more capable Amazon cloud and Microsoft Azure available?

      The Amazon cloud offerings win on more than just specs. I have a Paypal credit card, but I don't live in the US. Thus, getting the physical plastic card to me is a hassle as I have to route it through someone in the US. That means that I've now been without my card for two months, and my Amazon bill has gone unpaid. When I got the "we're going to shut you down if you don't pay" letter, I wrote back explaining the situation and asked that they defer my payment until November with interest.

      How did Amazon hand

      • Any company would buy goodwill if it cost them less than a dollar.

        • I don't know about that. I've had to swear off some places for less than a dollar for sure. The Amazon rep didn't know that I'd go on /. telling about the incident, in fact, I'm surprised that the rep had the authority to do what he did at all.

          • by Kalriath (849904)

            They likely have delegated authority for small amounts which they can use in a sales capacity. In general though, your offer to defer with interest would have costed more in administration costs than simply waiving it, and disconnecting you for less than a dollar is a major PR risk. Not to say Amazon doesn't have very good customer service - they do (I have a Kindle 3G with a damaged screen, out of warranty, and they say they'll replace it for $85 which comes with a new warranty and everything - they sure

    • Before Google Apps Engine had an edge with its free plans, but why would anyone seriously use it now when there are much more capable Amazon cloud and Microsoft Azure available?

      What Google offers with App Engine (which still has the same distinction between free apps and apps with billing enabled as it has since billable features were first introduced) is not really directly competing with EC2, its more directly competing with services like Heroku that are built on top of EC2.

      Compared to EC2, there's a lot

  • I think this is a good thing, but I'm still baffled by people actually using it. AFAIK there is no escape hatch, no way of getting a little special component to run. Say, your app suddenly needs Stunnel, Varnish or HA-Proxy, what do you do? I'm guessing you don't want to tie the app down across two data centers. Anyone ever used App Engine that might supply us with some actual experience?
    • by rosciol (925673)

      I think you misunderstand the point of App Engine. Varnish and HA-Proxy are things that are installed on servers to improve their performance. The idea behind using GAE is to remove yourself from needing applications of that variety at all. Using GAE, you don't have to worry about the server hardware, the operating system, the load balancer, caching, or any other system details; you just run a program. If fine tuning system architecture is your idea of fun, or is critical for your particular application

      • by raylu (914970)

        While I agree with your post in general, you don't have to derive your competitive advantage from your server infrastructure to not use a PaaS. Sometimes it's just difficult to abstract away all of those things (hardware, OS, other details).

        Alternatively, you're a business that simply deals with requests beyond the 100 per second range; this doesn't make you one of the largest players in 2011.

    • I think this is a good thing, but I'm still baffled by people actually using it. AFAIK there is no escape hatch, no way of getting a little special component to run. Say, your app suddenly needs Stunnel, Varnish or HA-Proxy, what do you do?

      It doesn't happen, because Stunnel, Varnish, and HA-Proxy aren't things that an app needs, they are thing that an infrastructure layer might use to support functions that the Google App Engine platform already provides. You use App Engine because you distribution manageme

  • Instead of allowing SQL which will probably never be a first class citizen, they should have opened their existing platform.

    There is a good video of the Joyent CEO bashing Google at a panel with a Google representative right there.

    • by mgiuca (1040724)

      There is AppScale [ucsb.edu], an open source implementation of App Engine which can run App Engine apps on your own web server -- that helps to mitigate the lock-in. I thought I read that a Google employee was behind at least the datastore implementation (but not doing it on Google's time).

      Frankly, I think it's in Google's interest to make sure that App Engine apps are portable. That would be consistent with their philosophy of "we don't lock you in; we hope you stay because our service is the best."

  • Are they allowed to call it "Apps Engine"? Don't Apple legally own the word "App" now?

    OK, I'm being a bit pretentious I know- but considering Apple went after people for having "App Stores" - how much different is "App Engine"?

    Is this another stupid patent/copyright fight waiting to happen?

    • Considering it launched before the App Store, I'm pretty sure Apple won't be so stupid to sue them over it.

    • Except it's not called "Apps Engine". Hell the linked article at the top says "Google App Engine Blog".

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Well, considering App Engine was available to the public about 3 months before the App Store, I'd say Google would win that one.

  • by drx (123393) on Friday October 07, 2011 @02:47PM (#37642186) Homepage

    The blogpost mentions a "familiar MySQL environment" ... that's not much SQL.

  • Competition and Standards are wonderful things.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      So you're saying it's a good thing that they're competing their proprietary mindset against your open one.

  • Gotta love pushing away data to those various cloud data provider.

    I hope some people encrypt stuff and store in blobs (albeit, I'm sure, somewhere in the agreement this must be forbidden for funny reasons)

    • If your application is running on the same engine has the data storage, as in GAE, encrypting it doesn't really protect it from the provider.

    • by swillden (191260)

      I hope some people encrypt stuff and store in blobs (albeit, I'm sure, somewhere in the agreement this must be forbidden for funny reasons)

      It's not forbidden at all. It's not very useful, though, because you have to decrypt the data sometime. If you do it in your code running on GAE then you might as well not have bothered. You can do it on the end-user's browser, in Javascript, but that doesn't make sense for many apps.

  • PHP is the #1 requested feature [google.com] for GAE and has been for several years. And Google has pretty much said no. BTW, perl is #3 and ruby is #4.

    That is what people want. If I can take my app and move it to GAE, then it might be interesting. If I have to rewrite it in Java or Python...quite a bit less so. Sure, if I have a Java and Python app - and the man-hours to inevitably rewrite parts of it to work with GAE - then maybe I'm interested. Or if I'm starting from scratch, maybe. But honestly there are so

    • If all you want to do is run an existing app in "the cloud", EC2 is a better choice for you. App Engine is designed around the philosophy that "We'll make scaling magically happen; but you need to obey our rules." These rules, for the large part, are designed to make scaling easier - all the seemingly-weird limitations in the datastore are there because they implicitly force you to shard your data early on. Since you'll be customizing your database layer for app engine, the logic goes, providing all kinds o
    • BTW, is the SQL actually MySQL?

      You know, I could find that answer in probably about as much time as it to took you to ask it. I mean, this is slashdot, you'd think people could use the web. RTFFAQ [google.com].

    • Google banned the mental plague that is PHP from their "cloud"? That's awesome, I see that they're really keen on that "do no evil" thing.

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