JavaGoogle Revs App Engine for the Cloud

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Google this week is tuning up its App Engine cloud application delivery service, debuting a new version with enhancements that aim to simplify the task of provisioning concurrent users, improved image delivery and other features.

Among the major improvements in App Engine 1.3.6 is revamped multi-tenancy support. Multi-tenancy is a required component for cloud applications, enabling multiple users to leverage the same application.

“With multi-tenancy, multiple client organizations (or “tenants”) can all run the same application, segregating data using a unique namespace for each client,” Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) App Engine team said in a blog post. “This allows you to easily serve the same app to multiple different customers, with each customer seeing their own unique copy of the app.”

Google’s App Engine team noted that using the new multi-tenancy capabilities will come by way of the Namespaces API. For developers who want to take advantage of the new capabilities, Google noted that API configuration changes are all that’s required.

“Using the Namespaces API, you can easily partition data across tenants simply by specifying a unique namespace string for each tenant,” Google’s developer documentation on the Namespaces API states. “You simply set the namespace for each tenant globally using the namespace manager.”

The ability for App Engine-hosted apps to deliver images has also been improved in the 1.3.6 release, with users now able to take advantage of a new image-serving system based on the same one Google uses for its Picasa image-hosting service.

“This feature allows you to generate a stable, dedicated URL for serving Web-suitable image thumbnails,” Google’s App Engine team blogged. “You simply store a single copy of your original image in Blobstore, and then request a high-performance per-image URL. This special URL can serve that image resized and/or cropped automatically, and serving from this URL does not incur any CPU or dynamic serving load on your application.”

Other enhancements in App Engine 1.3.6 include support for custom static HTML error pages. Google also raised several quotas: The count and offset methods get their 1,000-entity limit lifted, while free apps will have their burst quotas raised to the same limits as billed apps.

The company did not respond to requests for further comment by press time.

Google’s App Engine debuted as a free service for Python developers in 2008. It was expanded to include Java applications in 2009. Earlier this year, Google officially launched App Engine for Business as a paid service for commercial developers looking to deploy on Google’s cloud.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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