An ex-Google employee recently expressed concerns about the antiquity of Google's software infrastructure. This is the same software infrastructure underpinning Google App Engine, and as Google prepares an enterprise-class version of Google App Engine, it's important to understand what's under the hood.
[ Get the key insights on open source news and trends from InfoWorld's Technology: Open Source newsletter. ]
Engineer claims Google's software infrastructure is obsolete
In a blog post, former Google Wave engineer Dhanji R. Prasanna explains why he's leaving Google:
Here is something you've may have heard but never quite believed before: Google's vaunted scalable software infrastructure is obsolete. Don't get me wrong, its hardware and datacenters are the best in the world, and as far as I know, nobody is close to matching it. But the software stack on top of it is 10 years old, aging, and designed for building search engines and crawlers. And it is well and truly obsolete.
Protocol Buffers, BigTable, and MapReduce are ancient, creaking dinosaurs compared to MessagePack, JSON, and Hadoop. And new projects like GWT, Closure, and MegaStore are sluggish, overengineered Leviathans compared to fast, elegant tools like jQuery and MongoDB. Designed by engineers in a vacuum, rather than by developers who have need of tools.
Prasanna argues that Google's software infrastructure hasn't kept up with alternatives developed in an open community forum.
Don't take Prasanna's statements as those of a disgruntled ex-employee. He writes that working for Google was the "best job I've ever had, by a long way." Additionally, Prasanna had built up serious technical credibility, both within and outside of Google, especially in the Java arena.
As interesting as Prasanna's comments may be, Google software infrastructure has little impact on your enterprise, right? Correct, unless you're considering Google App Engine.
Google's software infrastructure bleeds through Google App Engine
Google isn't going to open-source its back-end software infrastructure. However, as the Register's Cade Metz writes, Google's software infrastructure is surfaced for enterprise usage through Google's App Engine.
Google App Engine product manager Sean Lynch, who has since left the company, explains how Google exposes its internal software infrastructure to third-party developers and enterprises: