Google App Engine is an infrastructure to deliver applications through Google’s cloud. You can drop applications written in Python in it, and let Google do the hosting. I am setting up a business based on this (GriddleJuiz).
So the first obvious questions are: where is the cloud, and does it perform? With the help of my friends from Watchmouse I ran a test on one of my Google App Engine sites and compared it with a regularly hosted website. In the chart you can see some of the results: the time it takes to connect to the site from various places in the world.
The interesting observations are:
- Time to connect to the regular site increase with distance. We are measuring the speed of light here, sort of.
- The Google cloud is in more than one place. For example, it is close to the Netherlands, but it also has a presence in East Asia, near Hong Kong.
- The cloud is probably also close to North America, but it puzzles me why it is not nearer.
- The regular site is closer to monitoring station NL2, where the cloud is closer to NL4.
- Google does not guess correctly the location of some WM monitoring stations. E.g. DK (Danmark) is way off, and might as well be in North America. This is a common misconception among Americans 🙂
These results are pretty reproducible by the way. We have done measurements over several 24 hour cycles. The next interesting thing of course is raw performance: how many hits/second can it pull? Stay tuned for more results.
Google has solved the hard part of scalable application infrastructure: duplication over a large distance. If you can do that, you can deploy any number of servers. Yet, there appears to be a lot of work left, the cloud does not always guess correctly where the user is.