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Summary:

Updated: Today we’ve received an email and seen multiple tweets alerting us to the fact that Google’s App Engine software development platform is down. We’ve emailed the company for details, but in the meantime, a check of the App Engine status page won’t even load at […]

appengine_lowresUpdated: Today we’ve received an email and seen multiple tweets alerting us to the fact that Google’s App Engine software development platform is down. We’ve emailed the company for details, but in the meantime, a check of the App Engine status page won’t even load at 11:30 a.m. PDT, and updates on the site indicate that it’s been put into unplanned maintainance mode after experiencing problems this morning.

Update: A Google spokeswoman tells us that the service was down because of a storage issue. She emailed a statement that read: “Today at 8 am PT datastore access for App Engine applications was affected due to a cluster-wide issue. The team identified and fixed the underlying problem and service has now been restored. We apologize for the inconvenience and encourage anyone having technical difficulty to visit the System Status Dashboard or the Downtime Notify Group, which are both linked from the Google App Engine Community site.”

We’ve seen several complaints about the impersonal way Google seems to be handling this, criticism that certainly may cause the company harm in its quest to woo the enterprise to its platform. Readers, can Google keep App Engine flying?

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  1. Bruce Simmons Thursday, July 2, 2009

    I’m not surprised. Are you? Google has been a very aloof creature… and they very well can be, but I think it’s time they start to play in the same yard with everyone and actually communicate with the rest of us Earthly like folk!

  2. Now I understand why google stamps ‘Beta’ on all their apps. They want to free-up their engineers from any customer support issues, to enable them to can focus on churning pet projects into Beta releases. Google makes money when they sell ads. This seem to me like their business model to create as many as beta apps against which they can sell their large inventory of ads.
    Why shouldn’t Microsoft envy Google ?

    1. Sonal Maheshwari Thyaga Thursday, July 2, 2009

      I agree completely with you on this. Why in the world even after so much time do they keep the tag as Beta. It looks like they want to remain free of all the hassles due to customer queries and dissatisfaction.
      This has been the story since long let us see when they change their ways.

      Sonal Maheshwari
      USourceIT: Single source for all your IT needs

  3. Google Appengine is sort of alpha stages. I love the idea , but when you start developing , thats when you realize that its not worth it.

    First you have to get used to Appengine way of doing things in the hope that you will get unlimited scalability. That would add anthing between 30% to 50% additional development time. All is good if that provides you scalability. But scalability is iffy because you get penalized for every data write etc with “warning, operaiton would soon exceed its quota”.
    Bulk data load is a joke. So forget it if you have loads of data to be uploaded. There is no relational DB, so you one’s got to implement everything , right from count(*) et all.

    There is little , if any documentation about what would happen when your app would be brought down. There is no support help line. Just post to google group and pray that it will get looked by some one at Google.

    All in all, if you are startup, stick to traditional web hosts for development or even amazon. Scalability issues is a good problem to have, because it means your apps are being atleast used.

    With Google appenine and its restriction , one would end up launching late and launching a substandard product.

  4. If google docs team is reading this. Google spreadsheets forms have been having chinese characters display issue under Safari and I.E. since a week ago. just use Safari and I.E. to check this link to see the different compared to Firefox http://tr.im/mfoQ

    Have emailed google for a week without any responses.

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  6. Mishan Aburted Friday, July 3, 2009

    Google Arrogance(tm) is their most important product, and the nature of Google’s business may make them peculiarly tone deaf in dealing with end-users.

    The lock-in problem with AppEngine seems like the biggest red flag.

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  8. We use appengine as our hosting platform and we were affected by the downtime. I think all these problems will finish soon, it is a preview release, don’t forget that “detail”, it is not supposed to be reliable enough for a serious project!

    1. muselius- you say its a ‘it is a preview release’… App Engine has been out of preview for over a year. Since February, they have been charging for the GAE service if you exceed your quotas, which should be reliable enough for a ‘serious project’ if a guy has to pay for it.

      A six hour downtime is inexcusable, and shows they lack the resources to diagnose and restore the service in a timely manner. The level of communication of the problem is poor as well. Obviously they aren’t prepared to let people know they made a mistake since they aren’t divulging exactly what went wrong.

      We have been kicking the tires on GAE, and with this outage and the way Google handled it is bad business. Right now, I don’t see any benefits to using the service. Amazon Web Services gives you the best flexibility with scaling up, down and out. Plus you aren’t limited to any single platform.

      Lets be honest… Google is good at one thing… Selling Ads.

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