We decided we could take a lot of this infrastructure and expose it in a way that would let third-party developers use it -- leverage the knowledge and techniques we have built up -- to basically simplify the entire process of building their own Web apps: building them, managing them once they're up there, and scaling them once they take off.
Make no mistake, Google App Engine is a success, with more than 100,000 developers accessing the online console each month and serving up 1.5 billion page views a day, according to Metz's story. However, keep in mind the difference between success with developers and success with enterprises.
Lynch states that Google App Engine is a long-term business focused on the enterprise space. Later this year, Google App Engine expects to exit a three-year beta period and introduce enterprise-class service-level agreements.
Google App Engine started as a way to expose Google's vaunted, to use Prasanna's description, software infrastructure to third-party developers. But it appears that the market has moved faster than Google's internal audience demanded.
Enterprises seek vendors whose core business is linked to the software platform they're selling
Part of this gap between Google and outside technologies is driven by the fact that offering a cloud platform as a service is not core to Google's business. This is why I've argued that commercial software vendors have little to fear from vendors that produce software primarily for their own use and then opt to secondarily open-source the code. Unless and until the open-sourced code is picked up by one or more vendors whose core business is tied to the project, enterprises will shy away from adopting it.
Consider where Hadoop, first developed and open-sourced by Yahoo, would be if not for Cloudera and other vendors whose core business is linked to the enterprise success of Hadoop.
In the case of Google App Engine, a key question to ask is how your enterprise needs will be prioritized against the needs of internal Google developers.
Although both user groups will share a set of feature requests, there are undoubtedly features that enterprises will seek but Google developers will not need. With both user groups vying for the next feature on their wish list to be completed, will Google address the needs of its internal developers or of outside enterprises? Keep in mind that revenue from projects that internal developers are working on will far outweigh revenue from outside enterprises through Google App Engine for the foreseeable future.