Why Amazon Should Worry About Google App Engine for Business


I wrote last week that the time may be right for Amazon Web Services to launch its own platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, if only to preempt any competitive threat from other providers’ increasingly business-friendly PaaS offerings. The time is indeed right, now that Google has introduced to the world App Engine for Business.

That’s because App Engine for Business further advances the value proposition for PaaS. PaaS offerings have been the epitome of cloud computing in terms of automation and abstraction, but they left something to be desired in terms of choice. With solutions like App Engine for Business, however, the idea of choice in PaaS offerings isn’t so laughable. Python or Java. BigTable or SQL. It’s not AWS (not that any PaaS offering really can be), but it’s a big step in the right direction. App Engine for Business is very competitive in terms of pricing and support, too.

Google is often is cited as a cloud computing leader, but until now had yet to deliver a truly legitimate option for computing in the cloud. Mindshare and a legit product make Google dangerous to cloud providers of all stripes, including AWS.

The integration of the Spring Framework in App Engine for Business is important because it means that customers have the option of easily porting Java applications to a variety of alternative cloud environments. Yes, AWS supports Spring, but the point is that Google is now on board with what is fast becoming the de facto Java framework for both internal and external cloud environments.

Meanwhile, in the IaaS market, AWS is busy trying to distinguish itself on the services and capabilities levels now that bare VMs are becoming commodities. Thus, we get what we saw this week, with AWS cutting storage costs for customers who don’t require high durability (a move some suggest was in response to a leak about Google’s storage announcement), and increasing RDS availability with cross-Availability-Zone database architectures. It’s all about differentiation around capabilities, support and services, and every IaaS provider is engaged in this one-upmanship.

If PaaS is destined to become the preferred cloud computing model, and if the IaaS market is becoming a rat race of sorts, why not free cloud revenues from the IaaS shackles and the threat of PaaS invasion? Amazon CTO Werner Vogels will be among several cloud computing executives speaking at Structure 2010 June 23 & 24, so we should get a sense then what demands are driving future advances for AWS and other cloud providers. For more on Google vs. Amazon and PaaS vs. IaaS, read my entire post here.


Paul Washington

I think this article is somewhat of an over dramatization of Google’s “threat” to AWS. Not everyone in “enterprise” wants to be pigeon holed into using Java (or Python). There are going to be quite a few use cases whereby legacy enterprise, in order to be wooed to the cloud, is going to want to take their legacy and working investments with them (hence if they’ve got apps they’ve already invested into and are maintaining written in C, C++, .NET, C#, VB, Ruby, etc. what motivation is there to spend the time moving to Java). Why does Google over rate Java (which is now in the hands of Larry Ellison’s Oracle)?


Sun might be owned by Oracle, but Java is still quite open…

I develop on a Sun based JDK, deploy it on a IBM JVM, this is why Java is powerful.

Derrick Harris

It’s not just Java that’s the threat, but the .NET and Ruby PaaS options, too. The point with Google is that it has the monetary means and the mindshare to be a real threat on the Java and Python fronts. It can roll out new services and play the pricing game like many AWS competitors cannot.

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