Google App Engine; towards an entirely abstracted platform

Mike Repass, Product Manager of Google App Engine took part in a fireside chat with Alistair as the final session of Enterprise Cloud Summit today. A wide variety of topics were covered.

How can people trust their hardware needs to Google?

“The App Engine is a customer of raw Google services the same way Gmail or anything else is. We offer the same security as those raw Google services which are built to scale – e.g. BigTable”

Why did Google take a platform as a service approach?

This approach plays to Google’s strengths. Google’s success has been to build hardware to serve vast amounts of data to millions and millions of people. The value proposition is more about abstracting away the concerns with machines. No instances, no reservation – pay as you go based on usage.

Are you going to make people better developers?

Hopefully! The billing by usage definitely influences the way developers code. There were radical rewrites of code when we moved to the pay as you go model.

Is there a class of application you wouldn’t recommend to put on Google App Engine?

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A Demonstration of Cloud Computing – ECS 09

Since the dawn of Cloud Computing, there’s been a lot of talk about interoperability. Much of this has included discussions around working groups on interoperability and plans for open cloud standards. While this is well-intentioned, and portability across clouds is a noble goal, but practical demonstrations of cloud interoperability have been few and far between.

Many vendors have demonstrated their individual cloud’s capabilities, but for the 2009 Enterprise Cloud Summit we wanted to do something different.

The ECS Video Messaging Application

For the last few months, Syntenic and Bitcurrent have been working on a sample cloud application designed to showcase the power (and limitations) of cloud computing. The resulting application, based on the Panda open source project, lets users upload and label video content that is then transcoded into a variety of formats. Put simply, it’s like Twitter with video.

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Defining cloud computing: It's all about the layers

Cloud concepts can be pretty confusing. But when you tell a small business owner or early-stage startup it means not having to spend a lot of money, it gets simple fast.

Denise Deveau wrote about this recently in the Globe and Mail (and I got quoted a bunch, which was nice.) But defining what “cloud” really means is a contentious subject. At the upcoming Cloudcamp in San Francisco (running before Structure, and organized by the energetic Reuven Cohen) this is sure to be a subject of debate.

My overly simple soundbite for the Globe article was that cloud computing was “having computing resources available to you when you don’t own the machines.” But that might get me into trouble: There’s a taxonomy of on-demand services, from platform-as-a-service to hardware-as-a-service. And then there’s grid computing. And of course SaaS gets lumped in with this.

So I’m going to try a more detailed description:

Cloud computing means having a set of abstracted resources available to you, and not worrying about what’s below that abstraction.

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