Google opened its Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco on May 19 with the announcement of its new version of the Google App Engine, Google App Engine for Business. This was a strategic announcement, as it shows Google is focused on demonstrating its enterprise chops. Google also highlighted its partnership with VMware to bring enterprise Java developers to the cloud.
Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google said via a blog post: “… we’re announcing Google App Engine for Business, which offers new features that enable companies to build internal applications on the same reliable, scalable and secure infrastructure that we at Google use for our own apps. For greater cloud portability, we’re also teaming up with VMware to make it easier for companies to build rich web apps and deploy them to the cloud of their choice or on-premise. In just one click, users of the new versions of SpringSource Tool Suite and Google Web Toolkit can deploy their application to Google App Engine for Business, a VMware environment or other infrastructure, such as Amazon EC2.”
Enterprise organizations can build and maintain their own applications on the same scalable infrastructure that powers Google Applications with Google App Engine for Business. Additionally, Google App Engine for Business has added management and support features that are tailored for each unique enterprise. New capabilities with this platform include: the ability to manage all the apps in an organization in one place; premium developer support; simply pricing based on users and applications; a 99.9 percent uptime service-level agreement (SLA); access to premium features such as cloud-based SQL and SSL (coming later this year).
Kevin Gibbs, technical lead and manager of the Google App Engine project said during the May 18 Google I/O keynote that “managing all the apps at your company” is a prevalent issue for enterprise Web developers. Google sought to address this concern through its Google App Engine hosting platform but discovered it needed to shore it up to support enterprises. Said Gibbs, “Google App Engine for Business is built from the ground up around solving the problems that enterprises face.”
Product management director for developer technology at Google Eric Tholome told eWEEK that Google App Engine for Business allows developers to use standards-based technology (like Java, the Eclipse IDE, Google Web Toolkit GWT and Python) to create applications that run on the platform. Google App Engine for Business also delivers dynamic scaling, flat-rate pricing and consistent availability to users.
Gibbs revealed that Google will be doling out the features in Google App Engine for Business throughout the rest of 2010, with Google’s May 19 announcement acting as a preview of the platform. The platform includes an Enterprise Administration Console, a company-based console which allows users to see, manage and set security policies for all applications in their domain. The company’s road map states that features like support, the SLA, billing, hosted SQL and custom domain SSL will come at a later date.
Gibbs said that pricing for Google App Engine for Business will be $8 per month per user for each application with the maximum being $1,000 per application per month.
Google also announced a series of technology collaboration with VMware. The goal of these is to deliver solutions that make enterprise software developers more efficient at building, deploying and managing applications within all types of cloud environments.
President and CEO of VMware Paul Maritz said, “Companies are actively looking to move toward cloud computing. They are certainly attracted by the economic advantages associated with cloud, but increasingly are focused on the business agility and innovation promised by cloud computing. VMware and Google are aligning to reassure our mutual important to both companies. We will work to ensure that modern applications can run smoothly within the firewalls of a company’s data center or out in the public cloud environment.”
Google is essentially trying to pick up speed in the enterprise, with Java developers using the popular Spring Framework (stemming from VMware’s SpringSource division). Recently, VMware did a similar partnership with Salesforce.com.
Maritz continued to say to the audience at Google I/O, “More than half of the new lines of Java code written are written in the context of Spring. We’re providing the back-end to add to what Google provides on the front end. We have integrated the Spring Framework with Google Web Toolkit to offer an end-to-end environment.”
Google and VMware are teaming up in multiple ways to make cloud applications more productive, portable and flexible. These collaborations will enable Java developers to build rich Web applications, use Google and VMware performance tools on cloud apps and subsequently deploy Spring Java applications on Google App Engine.
Google’s Gundotra explained, “Developers are looking for faster ways to build and run great Web applications, and businesses want platforms that are open and flexible. By working with VMware to bring cloud portability to the enterprise, we are making it easy for developers to deploy rich Java applications in the environments of their choice.”
Google’s support for Spring Java apps on Google App Engine are part of a shared vision to make building, running and managing applications for the cloud easier and in a way that renders the applications portable across clouds. Developers can build SpringSource Tool Suite using the Eclipse-based SpringSource and have the flexibility to choose to deploy their applications in their current private VMware vSphere environment, in VMware vCloud partner clouds or directly to Google App Engine.
Google and VMware are also collaborating to combine the speed of development of Spring Roo–a next-generation rapid application development tool–with the power of the Google Web Toolkit to create rich browser apps. These GWT-powered applications can create a compelling end-user experience on computers and smartphones by leveraging modern browser technologies like HTML5 and AJAX.
With the goal of enabling end-to-end performance visibility of cloud applications built using Spring and Google Web Toolkit, the companies are collaborating to more tightly integrate VMware’s Spring Insight performance tracing technology within the SpringSource tc Server application server with Google’s Speed Tracer technology.
Speaking about the Google/VMware partnership, vice president at Nucleus Research Rebecca Wettemann told eWEEK, “In short, this is a necessary step for Google to stay relevant in the enterprise cloud space. One concern we have heard from those who have been slow to adopt the cloud is being ‘trapped on a proprietary platform.’ This enables developers to use existing skills to build and deploy cloud apps and then take advantage of the economies of the cloud. Obviously, this is similar to Salesforce.com’s recent announcement about its partnership with VMware–we’ll be watching to see how enterprises adopt both. To date, Salesforce.com has been better at getting enterprise developers to develop business apps for its cloud platform.”
For his part, Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester Research, describes the Google/VMware more as “revolutionary” and the Salesforce.com/VMware partnership to create VMforce as “evolutionary.”
“Java developers now have a full Platform-as-a-Service [PaaS] place to go rather than have to provide that platform for themselves,” said Gillett of the new Google/VMware partnership. He added, however, “What’s interesting is that IBM, Oracle and SAP have not come out with their own Java cloud platforms. I think we’ll see VMware make another deal or two with other service providers. And we’ll see more enterprises application-focused offerings from Oracle, SAP and IBM.”
Google’s recent enterprise moves show that the company is set on gaining more of the enterprise market by enabling enterprise organizations to buy applications from others through the Google Apps Marketplace (and the recently announced Chrome Web Store), buy from Google with Google Apps for Business or build their own enterprise applications with Google App Engine for Business. Nubifer Inc. is leading Research and Consulting firm specializing in Cloud Computing and Software as a Service.