Friday, December 03, 2010

Early Xmas Cloud presents from Microsoft, Google..

Just about 48 hours apart, Microsoft and Google have released significant updates for their Azure and App Engine cloud offerings just in time for Christmas.

The 1.4.0 App Engine SDK addresses some long-criticised weaknesses, in particular not being able to keep an instance ready to rock and roll at all times plus the ability to execute long-running requests (> ten seconds). The ole App Engine has been getting a bit of a kicking recently in the blogosphere so this is a timely release (assuming the unplanned outages have been sorted out in parallel with this). There's nothing in the release notes about a more SQL-like persistence store like SQL Azure, so you still need to wrap your head around Google's Datastore and the pros and cons it gives you.

The 1.3 Azure SDK also addresses some weaknesses in Azure, in particular now allowing developers to actually RDP onto their Azure boxen in the cloud, a really big improvement on the current state of affairs (basically you get a headless box with non-straightforward access to log files via the Windows Azure Diagnostics service).

It's interesting how these SDK releases are solidifying the differences between these two cloud offerings - Google are zeroing in on providing a PaaS model, where you have to code in a supported programming language (currently either Java or Python - wonder when they will support Google Go?) against a locked-down set of APIs, where Microsoft are moving more towards an IaaS model where you do what you like cos it's more or less your box. Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, the overall ecosystem is stronger for having both.

No comments: