Google Shows Enterprise Focus with App Engine, VMware Plans

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-05-19

Google Shows Enterprise Focus with App Engine, VMware Plans

Google opened its annual developer confab, Google I/O, with a few moves aimed at demonstrating its enterprise chops, including a new version of the search giant's developer hosting platform and a partnership with VMware to help bring enterprise Java developers to the cloud.

At the opening of its Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco on May 19, Google announced a new version of the Google App Engine, Google App Engine for Business.

In a blog post on the Google site, Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google, said:

"Today 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."

Google App Engine for Business enables enterprise organizations to build and maintain their own applications on the same scalable infrastructure that powers Google applications, with added management and support features tailored specifically for the enterprise. New capabilities for businesses include the ability to manage all the apps in an organization from one place, simple pricing based on users and applications, premium developer support, a 99.9 percent uptime service-level agreement (SLA), and, coming later this year, access to premium features like cloud-based SQL and SSL. 

During the May 18 Google I/O keynote, Kevin Gibbs, technical lead and manager of the Google App Engine project, said one of the most common concerns for enterprise Web developers is "managing all the apps at your company." So Google looked at its Google App Engine hosting platform as a way to address this, but realized it needed to shore it up to support enterprises.

"Google App Engine for Business is built from the ground up around solving the problems that enterprises face," Gibbs said.

In a briefing with eWEEK, Eric Tholome, product management director for developer technology at Google, said Google App Engine for Business allows developers to use standards-based technology, such as Java, Python, the Eclipse IDE and Google Web Toolkit (GWT), to create applications that run on the platform. It also offers users dynamic scaling, consistent availability and flat-rate pricing.

Gibbs said Google will be delivering the features in Google App Engine for Business throughout the rest of this year  What Google announced at the show was a preview of the platform, which includes an Enterprise Administration Console, a company-focused console that allows you to see, manage and set security policies for all applications in your domain. Other features such as support, the SLA, billing, hosted SQL and custom domain SSL will come later, according to the company's road map.

Pricing for Google App Engine for Business will be $8 a month for each user for each application, up to a maximum of $1,000 per application per month, Gibbs said.

Meanwhile, Google announced a series of technology collaborations with VMware to deliver solutions that make enterprise software developers more efficient at building, deploying and managing applications within any cloud environment: public, private and hybrid. 

"Companies are actively looking to move toward cloud computing," said Paul Maritz, president and CEO of VMware. "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 customers and the Java community that choice and portability are of utmost importance 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."

The move for Google is to gain more traction in the enterprise, with enterprise Java developers using the popular Spring Framework, which comes out of VMware's SpringSource division. VMware recently did a similar partnership with in this regard.

"More than half of the new lines of Java code written are written in the context of Spring," Maritz said addressing the audience at Google I/O. "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."

Making Cloud Applications More Productive


VMware and Google are collaborating on multiple fronts to make cloud applications more productive, portable and flexible. These projects will enable Java developers to build rich Web applications, use Google and VMware performance tools on cloud apps, and deploy Spring Java applications on Google App Engine.

"Developers are looking for faster ways to build and run great Web applications, and businesses want platforms that are open and flexible," Google's Gundotra said. "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 announced support for Spring Java apps on Google App Engine as part of a shared vision to make it easy to build, run and manage applications for the cloud, and to do so in a way that makes the applications portable across clouds. Using the Eclipse-based SpringSource Tool Suite, developers can build Spring applications in a familiar and productive way 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.

Moreover, VMware and Google are working together 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 build rich browser apps. These GWT-powered applications can leverage modern browser technologies such as AJAX and HTML5 to create the most compelling end-user experience on both smartphones and computers.

In addition, the two companies are also 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 to enable end-to-end performance visibility of cloud applications built using Spring and Google Web Toolkit.

Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research, told eWEEK of the Google/VMware partnership:

"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's recent announcement about its partnership with VMware-we'll be watching to see how enterprises adopt both. To date, has been better at getting enterprise developers to develop business apps for its cloud platform."

Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester Research, said he believes the Google/VMware move is more "revolutionary," whereas the partnership to create VMforce was more "evolutionary."

With the new Google/VMware partnership, "Java developers now have a full platform-as-a-service [PAAS] place to go rather than have to provide that platform for themselves," Gillett said. However, "What's interesting is that IBM, Oracle and SAP have not come out with their own Java cloud platforms," he said. "I think we'll see VMware make another deal or two with other service providers. And we'll see more enterprise application-focused offerings from Oracle, SAP and IBM."

The latest enterprise moves from Google signal the company's intent to gain deeper penetration into the enterprise market by enabling enterprise organizations to buy applications from others through the Google Apps Marketplace (and newly announced Chrome Web Store), buy from Google with Google Apps for Business, or build their own enterprise applications with Google App Engine for Business. 

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