Cloudy combo Google App Engine and Amazon S3 combo pack:

Google App Engine provides you a ready to use environment to build and host web applications. The hosting environment is secure and made highly available by the google’s cloud computing infrastructure.

While GAE provides you such a strong platform to build and host web applications, it has it’s own limitations as well. While Google’s infrastructure gives you abundant computing power but not the  case with storage which you would expect if you are developing web applications which require a large amount of flexible secondary storage as well, for that even the applications requiring moderate amount of secondary storage to store the files.

Coming to the actual point, GAE has a limitation of allowing applications to store not more than 10MB of a single large file on it’s server. This may not be a problem for some of the web applications. This is a serious issue for many web applications which assume sufficiently large underlying storage, given these days secondary storage is available in abundance at cheap rates. Some of the developers and users are shying away from using GAE as a platform for their web application development and hosting only because of this reason. And to make life hard google does not have a paid service either to work around this issue.

What are these web application developers supposed to do? Switch to something else which offers sufficient storage along with computing power. The other better options available are Amazon EC2 and VPS. Give me a break. Why do we want to run away from the problem? Well, look around. Amazing Amazon is there to help you out. We need to think creatively and be selective when making decisions about technology these days. There are a bunch of technologies lying around. It is just a matter of selecting and integrating the two technologies and using them to satisfy needs. I am not trying to promote any specific cloud here, but to highlight the fact that GAE and Amazon S3 work really well. And it turns out to be a cost effective solution.

GAE provides the development and hosting platform for you web applications at free of cost while Amazon S3 provides you reliable, powerful and abundant storage at cheaper rates. GAE and Amazon S3 together can do wonders.

Enough of theory, let me explain it to you with a practical example.
We, at BYGSoft, had a requirement to develop a web application for one of our clients. It was a simple web application which will work as a download portal for it’s customers. We chose GAE as a development and hosting platform for web application and Amazon S3 as the back end storage.
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10 Comments to “Cloudy combo Google App Engine and Amazon S3 combo pack:”

  1. GAE is another one which lacks definite purpose (like some of its other ventures YouTube). How else does one explain the essential features which
    are missing?

    Exactly what kind of applications, the team at
    Google envisaged, would be developed on GAE
    is anyone’s guess.

    From a pure development environment Microsoft’s
    Azure has a lot of promise (largly because it is
    .NET in the cloud).

    From pure computing infrasturcture – Amazon has
    the edge (for now).

    Google IMO is third in the list.

  2. Hey, can you elaborate more on this?

  3. @Mark D: I’d completely disagree. I’m a .NET developer by trade, but having played with Azure and GAE in my spare time, my money is totally on Google App Engine!

    I wrote a comparison of the services (mostly pricing) on my blog:

  4. Being a consultant we have to be aware of all the options. GAE works for us and our clients when it is a “simple webapp/website” they are
    interested in. We can offer the best price and of course – Google has
    some class infrastructure.

    The most limiting factor for us is not the price – clients are willing to pay –
    but storage or the lack of it.

    It is hard for us to explain why we/clients cannot “buy” storage from

    For decades storage has evolved with along
    with other compute resources (albeit at a slower rate) and it has reached
    a stage where a Tera Byte costs next to nothing. The programming
    strategies have evolved with the changing compute landscape. While
    programming on the desktop or the server, it is assumed that

    1. There is plenty of storage.
    2. Both file storage and database storage are available.

    GAE breaks both assumptions to a certain extent. It is certainly
    challenging everybody to ‘think’ differently. An interesting
    phase for everybody – people pushing technology and the people
    adopting technology.


  5. Why not combine the both? In the near future I will write an article about combining GAE and Amazon S3. Also combining Amazon EC2 (for background jobs) and GAE will be part of my blog.

    • @jvdkamp – Why not combine the both?

      In what ways do you mean? We have successfully deployed an app where part data was stored on GAE (mostly small bytes) and the large bytes were server by S3. The performance is ok – given that large downloads are expected to take longer.

      However, if the entire datastore is moved to S3 that will suck in performance. The real challenge is to partition your dataset into GAE datastore and S3 during design & development.

  6. Great post! Maybe you could do a follow up on this topic?

    • Hi Green Web Hosting – thank you for your interest. We are working on
      some interesting problems with cloud technologies. Will certainly blog on
      those topics in the next few week.

  7. hello

    i want to share my computer in clouds to earn some money..
    can you please guide me…>?

    • @sikandar – the short advice is – you cannot earn money that way.

      instead consider offering value added services on top of existing public clouds.

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