Friday, May 15, 2015

"Traditional" cloud-based hosting vs. Google App Engine

There is no doubt that we live in an era of rapid technological advancement. This means it's fairly easy to get left behind if you aren't adopting new ways if improving IT systems for your business. Using technology to your advantage as a business is nothing new. What matters now is how you implement that technology to work for you in the most efficient and cost-effective way. For example, setting up a web server or providing redundancy to the infrastructure are both examples of things that can now be fully automated. Automation is your friend. Learn to make it work for you and you can achieve wonders.

If you've adopted cloud technology as your business system, kudos to you! Cloud solutions are imperative if you are looking to augment abilities to better meet the specifics needs of your business. A great example of this is developing a custom web application. The question that arises here is whether or not you have the infrastructure to support it. The answer for many businesses is simply 'no.' But before we delve into supporting a custom web application, why would your business consider this? Here are a few good reasons:
  • You want to streamline internal departments and functions, operations, sales and project management.
  • You want to add more functionality to the already existing application.
  • You want to take advantage of web-based applications flexibility and versatility by moving away from the traditional desktop application platform to the web application platforms.
  • You want to gain more clients or better service current clients by offering convenient services and solutions online.
  • You want to build new web applications to offer innovative services or solutions to online users and businesses.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest headaches of supporting a web application is the infrastructure and scalability. Building new infrastructure or upgrading existing infrastructure to meet use requirements costs valuable time and money that could be spent focusing on development and other aspects of your business. Downtime, lost data, unhappy customers, impossible machine configurations, and added complexities are all downfalls of traditional web application hosting. Even with a trained team of server admins, you only end up in a good position to recover from a disaster, not to prevent one from happening in the first place. Virtual private servers and traditional web hosts require far too much maintenance and disaster recovery.

The time it takes to maintain and scale infrastructure can now be designated elsewhere. So how do you save costs and time? The answer is Google App Engine. Google App Engine allows you to develop custom web applications with the ability to host and run them directly on Google's own infrastructure. Once you've created an app, you can easily upload it and Google handles both hosting and scaling. All of which is to say: no more servers to maintain! This means that you get to run on the same hardware stack that Google builds on; that's a huge advantage!

Now some may argue that there are drawbacks to using platform as a service (PaaS) providers like Google's Cloud Platform, and mainly this stems from not "owning" your own environment. To work around this, Google offers Compute Engine, where you get absolute freedom to run large-scale workloads on virtual machines. This combined with Google App Engine gets you PaaS-style functionality while also allowing you to run your own virtual servers.

Google is a powerful innovator in the technical services industry, and Google App Engine brings with it the ability to give businesses in today's market what they require to stay on target with their goals. It's reliable, scalable, efficient, cost-effective, and Google is constantly updating and upgrading their services.

So lets take a look at some of the major advantages that Google App Engine has to offer:
  1. Focus on your business and allow technology to work for you.
  2. Build on a proven hardware stack.
  3. Proven cost savings. for example, you don't need to hire an engineer to manage your servers and you won't have to manage them yourself. You can invest the savings in other aspects of your business.
  4. Multiple storage options.
  5. Powerful built-in services.
  6. Ability to deploy at "Google-scale" (you could scale up to 7 billion requests per day, if you wanted to).
It's important to understand that building your application with these 'cloud services' can bring huge benefits in cost and effort when what matters is delivering a great product. The people at Google are experts at setting up and maintaining machines. They are experts at data storage, data redundancy, and scaling computing power up and down to handle sudden bursts of user traffic. Their state-of-the-art data centres are constantly evolving to keep up with demand, and you don't need to incur any of that additional cost.

Check out this video to get an idea of what we're talking about:

You've now seen the great advantages that Google App Engine has to offer as an excellent content delivery network and so much more. Cloud computing is one of the fastest growing fields and it provides an easy and affordable way to run your applications.

"Traditional" cloud-based hosting and scaling applications on virtual machines comes with a cost. Even if the structure is virtual, you still have to manage it, do load balancing, bring instances up and down, take care of patching software and in general spend a lot of time and resources on just the infrastructure. With Google Cloud Platform, Google takes care of all the heavy lifting and back-end maintenance.

Google is a pioneer in the business of scaling, and now you can use their infrastructure. It doesn't matter whether your application is small scale or large scale, the scalability of Google's infrastructure is basically impossible to match in a traditional environment. Let them handle what they're good at while you focus on other important aspects of your business.