Today, at the Campfire event to celebrate Google App Engine’s first birthday, Google made some significant announcements related to Google App Engine. The biggest news of them, though it has been anticipated for sometime now, is the support for Java in Google App Engine. This is definitely a significant move as many developers are clamoring for Java runtime on Google App Engine platform.
Java runtime on GAE is completely standards based with Java 1.6 support. It is also integrated with Google Web Toolkit 1.6. Since many developers in the Java community are religious about their use of Eclipse, Google is also working to develop a Google plugin for Eclipse. It provides the current App Engine API’s and wraps them with standards where relevant, like the Java Servlet API, JDO and JPA, javax.cache, and javax.mail. It should also be noted that recently Amazon Web Services also released a Toolkit for Eclipse. Today’s announcement by Google is pretty significant and I expect a surge from Java developers to build apps on top of GAE. They are allowing the first 10,000 developers to have an early look at their Java implementation. Check it out here. During the event, they built a Guestbook app using Java on GAE in matter of minutes. Will PHP be next in line?
The second significant announcement was Google’s attempt to lure enterprises to tap into Google App Engine. Google released support for Google Secure Data Connector, a tool that will help enterprises build apps on top of GAE and access the data stored inside the enterprise firewall. This encrypted secure connection helps enterprises control access to their data using a granular access control. Google Data Connector can also be used to securely connect the data behind the firewall with Google Apps Premier Edition and Education Edition.
Oracle, IBM and Appirio demonstrated the use of GAE to build enterprise level apps. Oracle used Google Secure Data Connector to integrate Google Gadgets with On-Premise Siebel CRM system. IBM showed how easy it is to port a GAE app to their Websphere server. Within minutes, they could port the Guestbook App developed in the demo to Websphere. As Appirio’s Ryan Nichols points out, there is no reason for anyone to move an app from a low cost GAE environment to an expensive Websphere environment. For me, it means nothing other than a proof that it is possible to port App and data out of Google App Engine to other platforms.
Google also announced some other Google App Engine improvements like the much needed Cron support to schedule tasks like maintenance tasks, reports generation, etc.. and a tool to import huge amounts of data (running in Gigabytes) into GAE. They have also promised a tool to export the data out of GAE in the near future.
While Google is busy sprucing up its PaaS offerings with support for additional languages, paid options, etc., there is also a debate going on in the Cloud Computing community on whether it is better to run the SaaS apps on PaaS or on open platform like IaaS. This is an interesting topic and I would like to visit sometime in the future.