Google Apps Engine vs Amazon S3

According to a recent TechCrunch post, Google will be venturing into the application cloud business to compete directly with Amazon’s S3 service.

From TechCrunch:

Unlike Amazon Web Services’ loosely coupled architecture, which consists of several essentially independent services that can optionally be tied together by developers, Google’s architecture is more unified but less flexible. For example, it is possible with Amazon to use their storage service S3 independently of any other services, while with Google using their BigTable service will require writing and deploying a Python script to their app servers, one that creates a web-accessible interface to BigTable.

Are there enough differences for both services to exist or will there be a knock-down, drag-out fight in the near future. It’s hard to beat Google’s “hey, kids, our dope is free…for now” model.

It should be interesting to watch this unfold.

– Dave

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2 Responses to Google Apps Engine vs Amazon S3

  1. Will says:

    I think there are enough differences. Amazon’s S3 is all about storage in the cloud, Amazon’s EC2 is all about computing in the cloud. EC2 seems to be aimed at system admins, allowing them to build scalable infrastructures. Your virtual server lives and breathes, it’s aware of itself.

    Google’s App Engine (currently) allows you to run python in CGI mode mapped to a web resource (URL). For each request that comes in, a CGI process is born, it does some processing (do you have a cooke? did you post data to me? is it morning? etc..) then it quickly dies. Processes know nothing about each other and live for short periods of time.

    What they share is the ability to scale in ways that haven’t been available before to Joe Developer. Amazon offers a swiss-army knife approach, Google, on the other hand, is a pocket knife. It’s comparable to the Emacs/vi wars. Emacs is extremely flexible, you can edit text with it, surf the web, check your email, FTP, etc, etc… vi is a text editor. Why then do people compare Emacs to vi? Because 90% of us, 90% of the time use Emacs as a text editor.

    Amazon’s EC2 is far more than a CGI environment, but I imagine lots of people are using it for that.

    If you want to “easily” get a scalable python web application on the web in as few clicks as possible, you’ll want Google’s App Engine. If you want a virtual computing environment you can do anything to, you’ll want EC2.

    That was a waaaaay longer description that I intended to write 🙂

  2. Dave says:

    Interesting stuff. Steve brought up another great point yesterday that Google is now more poised to buy interesting products from companies that use their application engine. There would be no need for system administrator to migrate products form one platform to another if the apps are already built on Google’s servers.

    The down side…I don’t know python.


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