Google App Engine Price Rises Shock Developers
In May, Google announced that it would alter the price of its cloud computing service App Engine, the company's Platform as a Service offering, later in the year, presumably in an effort to turn the product into another profit centre for the company. Google has now announced that the price changes will occur in the second half of September, at the same time as the product officially loses its "preview" tag. Google has provided a tool that lets existing users calculate how much they'll pay under the new service.
Whilst Google said it expects most currently active apps to full under the free quota, the majority of paying customers will see their prices rise. In return customers should see a better service, with Google introducing an SLA for paid customers and an SLA with operational support for premium.
The reaction of Google's customer base on the official App Engine group has been largely negative. A before-and-after App Engine price comparison thread in Google Groups sees developers reporting increases of 50%, 100%, or much more. A separate thread has been started for developers who will be forced to leave App Engine due to the increased rates.
Elsewhere, Nokia researcher and App Engine user Russell Beattie complains that under the new pricing model, the cost of his App Engine app for one day will rise from $2.63 to $34.38 - a figure that will double in November after a 50% discount expires.
Developer Ugorji Nwoke blogged
Google has done a major disservice to its cult of developers by changing the pricing terms of App Engine ridiculously while giving developers short notice to react. In doing so, Google may have done severe damage to their brand and the trust that developers put in them.
Head of Groovy Development for VMware's SpringSource division, Guillaume Laforge, wrote
The big problem is the cost of the "frontend instance hours". An app running all the time, with low traffic, but enough to keep a frontend instance running all day will cost you 30 bucks a month with this new pricing policy.
Whilst the majority of developers considering a move to an alternative service will look at another cloud service such as Amazon's EC2 or VMware's own Cloud Foundry, it is interesting to compare this with a conventional Java hosting provider. For an equivalent $29.00/month, for example, Kattare will provide you with a dedicated Apache Tomcat JVM on a shared server with a heap size of 256MB and up to 50GB of transfer/month, fully supported. Of course the Kattare service doesn't include Google's unique APIs and infrastructure, but that has always been a cause of some concern for developers using the service. As one user writes on the official Google mailing list
What has always been the biggest concern about App Engine? Lock-in. You're at the mercy of Google. Sure there's TyphoonAE etc... but really those are not alternatives.
What does Google go ahead and do? They do exactly what their critics said they would do and what us GAE adopters hoped like hell they would never do, screw us over.
App Engine is finished not because we're all going to move off to EC2, but because people who are considering using App Engine will see exactly what has gone on here with the pricing, think about the lock-in argument against GAE, and decide not to use GAE. There will be a drop off in new apps, and eventually Google is going to see GAE isn't really panning out and pull the 3 year plug.
Google hasn't so far responded to the outcry, although on the App Engine web site the company does say it is looking into special programs for non-profits, educational institutions, and open-source projects.
Other options exist
Now, if your solution isn't compatible anymore with GAE's new pricing scheme, alternatives exist, see this PaaS shoutout for example.
disclaimer: I work for one of the vendors in the shoutout: CloudBees - we provide a for-pay and GA offering (as well as free trial accounts as well obviously).
GAE free service
Re: Other options exist
Re: GAE free service
We reap what we sow.
Cameron Purdy | Oracle
Tarek M. Nabil
I agree with others that comparing with the likes of Amazon's EC2 is not accurate as this is more of a IaaS rather than a PaaS offering.
No free lunch, again
Cacheonix: Reliable Clustered Java Cache
Re: GAE free service