With offshore teams becoming a norm in many businesses, online collaboration has also become a common practice. Business processes done in the cloud are growing including application development. Over the past weeks, we are looking at different ways to optimize Google Enterprise for your business. Google Business Suite is composed of tools that can help you become more efficient such as Google Drive, Gmail, and Calendar. It also allows you to integrate business processes through the Google Cloud and Chrome.
Google Business Suite also offers another platform which addresses a fast-growing need. One of the most in-demand business tools used today are apps. An app (i.e. short of application) is basically a software created for a specific purpose. You can have a traffic tracker, an improved camera, or a barcode scanner with a simple app. It can run on the web and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The App Engine is Google’s answer to this demand.
Google App Engine is a platform as a service (PaaS) tool that allows you to create and run apps on Google’s infrastructure. PaaS is a cloud environment where developers can build apps without having to invest on or maintain a physical server. It’s like renting a virtual infrastructure which can be accessed anytime via web browsers. So what does the App Engine have to offer?
Easy app building and deployment. Google App Engine makes app creation easy with its reliable storage that allows queries, transactions, and sorting. It also runs smoothly even under a heavy load because of its automatic scaling and load balancing. In terms of deployment, it has asynchronous task queues and scheduled tasks to ensure seamless app execution. It is also connected to Google Cloud and other APIs or application programming interface.
Multiple programming languages. The App Engine runs on Java, Python, PHP, and Go languages. This gives you the flexibility and freedom to use the language you’re most comfortable with. You can build apps using Java technologies or leverage the fast Python interpreter. You can also explore the new PHP functions and Go codes with this platform. All the APIs and libraries of these languages are available in App Engine.
Secure app environment. Security is important to any cloud process and app development is no exception. With Google App Engine, your applications run in a secure, “sandboxed” environment which means that it automatically scales its servers to meet high traffic demand while distributing requests across different servers, too. App Engine runs in a safe, reliable infrastructure that is different from the operating system, hardware, or the physical location of the server.
Google App Engine vs Amazon EC2
Google App Engine is not the only PaaS available in the market. Its close competitor is probably Amazon EC2. Amazon EC2 is the pioneer in public cloud computing. It was founded in 2002 while Google App Engine was established in 2008. Now that’s a lot of years of expertise in between. Most SME’s prefer the App Engine while medium-to-large scale companies go for the EC2. Let’s make a quick comparison of the two.
Google App Engine offers a free service for a limited usage and trial. Meanwhile, Amazon EC2 charges you with a minimum amount ($0.08 per hour) even if you didn’t use any bandwidth. App Engine also has a better billing system because you only pay based on your CPU usage.
EC2 is compatible to almost all operating systems except Linux. Meanwhile, App Engine is only compatible to Linux and Windows Server 2008. When you use EC2 you can scale each instance or program object which allows you to control each instance in your app. App Engine, on the other hand, provides a platform that allows you to deploy apps easier. If you’re not looking for a particular service, the App Engine is the way to go but if you want complete control of your operating system then EC2 is the best option for you.
EC2 leads this area with its advanced firewall, critical data privacy, and custom secure permissions. App Engine boasts of back up storage and persistency which EC2 lacks. However, Amazon has more security measures up its sleeve like data encryption, failover features, and intrusion detection.
If you’re looking for other PaaS options, you can try Microsoft Windows Azure. It’s another fast-growing platform which is targeted mainly for .NET developers. Google App Engine does not host .NET programming language so if your app developer is comfortable with .NET then Azure may be a good choice. And then there’s Heroku despite being the most expensive provides you with a huge ecosystem of unique add-ons and a lot of automated functions for easy deployment.
Google App Engine is great if you want to try developing your apps for free. There are even tutorials for your preferred programming language. Amazon has more experience in PaaS and far more extensive features but Google is quickly catching up. Building your apps in the cloud will bring you cost savings and practical advantages. Your developers can focus on creating a dynamic app without having to think about hardware purchases and maintenance. It also gives you the flexibility to rent the platform instead of investing in a physical infrastructure that is not used consistently. Look into your marketing efforts and see if creating an app is one of your goals this year. If not, you might want to start exploring this platform to increase your brand awareness and consumer interaction.
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