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Google App Engine to Support Node.js 8.x Using the Recently Open Source gVisor Sandbox

| by Wesley Reisz Follow 16 Followers on May 10, 2018. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

In the last session of Google I/O, Myles Borins (technical steering committee director for Node.js) and Steren Giannini (product manager for Google App Engine) announced a preview of Node on the Google App Engine Standard Environment, with the intention to release a full version within several weeks (attendees were able to request immediate access).

Google App Engine (GAE), Google's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering, supports a "flexible" and "standard" environment. The flexible environment runs application instances within Docker containers on Google Compute Engine VMs, and can therefore support any language runtime that can be Dockerized. The standard edition runs applications within a sandbox environment for a specific runtime. Up until the introduction of Node.js, that standard environment has supported Python, Java, PHP, and Go. While the Standard Environment is more constrained and involved, it offers faster scale-up times -- on the order of seconds vs minutes to the Flexible Environment.

To run Node.js securely in the GAE Standard Environment, Google uses the recently announced gVisor sandbox container runtime. gVisor is a new way to sandbox containers. It offers a secure isolation boundary between the host operating system and the application running within the container. This is achieved by providing a Linux user-space kernel written in Go. You can learn more about the recently announced gVisor on the Google Platform Blog.

GAE standard environment with Node.js offers an idiomatic node runtime environment, meaning its the same official published version of Node.js that you can run anywhere else. With no API or language restriction, any module from the NPM registry is available to developers. Additionally, as the service is fully-managed, Google will keep things up to date and patched. Out of the box the environment supports Node.js 8.x.

In addition to the announcement of Node.js on GAE Standard environment, Borins confirmed Google’s intention to make Node.js 8.x available for Google Cloud Functions in the near term.

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