Google Cloud Platform – Google App Engine

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Google App Engine is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering that allows you to quickly deploy your applications. The app engine environment automatically scales your app up or down depending on the load. You can also customize the runtime and the operating system of your app engine using Docker files.

App engine offers two different environments, the flexible environment and the standard environment. Depending on your use case, you can choose to use both environments simultaneously for your application.

The following table summarizes the differences between the two environments:

Feature Flexible environment Standard environment
Instance startup time Minutes Seconds
Maximum request timeout 60 minutes 60 seconds
Background threads Yes Yes, with restrictions
Background processes Yes No
SSH debugging Yes No
Scaling Manual and automatic Manual, basic, and automatic
Writing to local disk Yes, ephemeral (disk initialized on each VM startup) No
Modifying the runtime Yes (through Dockerfile) No
Automatic in-place security patches Yes (excludes container image runtime) Yes
Network access Yes Only via App Engine services (includes outbound sockets), and only for billing-enabled Python, Go, and PHP applications.
Supports installing third-party binaries Yes No
Location North America, Asia Pacific, or Europe North America, Asia Pacific, or Europe
Pricing Based on usage of vCPU, memory, and persistent disks Based on instance hours
Table 2.1: courtesy of Google

Before you start using the app engine, you need to download and install the SDK for the app engine. The process differs in the app engine environment and also depending on the development platform you choose. For more specific information on installing the SDK, refer to the app engine documentation link: https://cloud.google.com/appengine/downloads .

All the infrastructure that is required to run your app engine instance is located in one region and is redundantly available across all zones in a region. Ideally, you would want to deploy your app in a region that is close to your primary customer base. Once the app region is set, you cannot change it. The app engine is available in northamerica-northeast1, us-central1, us-east1, us-east4, southamerica-east1, Europe-west1, Europe-west2, Europe-west3, asia-northeast1, asia-south1, and Australia-southeast1.

Let’s have a look at accessing the app engine from the Google Cloud Platform web UI.

Click on the top-level menu and click on App Engine:

You can learn to deploy a new app with a guided deployment:

An interesting feature of the Google App Engine is its ability to deploy apps as a set of microservices that makes your app components independent and modular.

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