Google has a New Cloud Platform – What Does it Mean for Application Development?
Google’s foray into the cloud computing space is the talk of the town. By offering a suite of public cloud computing services such as compute, storage, networking, big data, IoT, machine learning, and application development, Google has now joined the likes of Amazon and Microsoft and hopes to take over the cloud computing market. Since the platform is a public cloud offering, services can be accessed by application developers, cloud administrators, and other IT professionals over the internet or by using a dedicated network connection.
What Google New Cloud Platform Means For Application Development?
According to Gartner, by 2021, the PaaS market is expected to attain a total market size of $27.3 billion. In addition to the core cloud computing products such as Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud Storage, and Google Container Engine, what’s particularly exciting for the application development world is the Google App Engine – a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that enables developers to build scalable web applications as well as mobile and IoT backends. It offers access to Google’s scalable hosting, software development kit (SDK), and a host of built-in services and APIs. Here’s a list of features application developers can leverage:
- Access to familiar languages and tools: Since developers are most comfortable developing apps using languages that they are familiar with, the Google Cloud Platform allows them to choose the language of their choice – from Java, PHP, Node.js, Python, C#,.Net, Ruby or any other language you prefer. Access to a collection of tools and libraries that include Google Cloud SDK, Cloud Shell, Cloud Tools for Android Studio, IntelliJ, PowerShell, Visual Studio etc. make application development all the more efficient. And with custom runtimes, you can bring any library and framework to the App Engine by supplying a Docker container.
- Hassle-free Coding: Despite being proficient in coding, developers often end up managing several other aspects of the application development life-cycle beyond the purview of their role. The Google Cloud Platform offers a range of infrastructure capabilities such as patch and server management, as well as security features like firewall, Identity and Access Management, and SSL/ TLS certificates. With all these other facets of development taken care of, developers can enjoy hassle-free coding, without worrying about managing the underlying infrastructure.
- Scalable Mobile Backends: Depending on the type of mobile application that is required to be built, the Google Cloud Platform automatically scales the hosting environment. With Cloud Tools for IntelliJ, one can easily deploy Java backends for cloud apps to the Google App Engine flexible environment. Integration with Firebase mobile platform provides an easy-to-use front-end with a scalable and reliable backend, and access to functionalities such as databases, analytics, crash reporting and more.
- Quick Deployment: Quick deployment is a top priority for any developer; if one can’t deploy apps quickly, someone else will and might eat into your market share and customer base. Being a fully-managed platform, Google Cloud Platform allows developers to quickly build and deploy applications and scale as required, and not worry about managing servers or configurations. What’s more, Google’s Cloud Deployment Manager allows you to specify all the resources needed for the application and to perform repeatable deployments quickly and efficiently.
- High Availability: Making applications available anytime, anywhere, and on any device has become a requisite. The Google App Engine allows developers to build highly scalable applications on a fully managed serverless platform. All they have to do is simply upload their code and allow Google to manage the app’s availability — without having to provision or maintain a single server. Since the engine scales applications automatically in response to the amount of traffic they receive, you can ensure high availability and only pay for the resources used.
- Easy Testing: The impact of an app failure is extremely profound. Not only does it cost a lot but it also impacts customer trustworthiness. Do you know? In 2017, software failures resulted in losses of over $1.7 trillion. The Google Cloud Platform integrates with the Firebase Test Lab that provides cloud-based infrastructure for testing mobile apps. With Firebase Test Lab, app developers can initiate the testing of apps across a wide variety of devices and configurations and view test results directly on their console. And if there are problems in the app, they can debug the cloud backend using Stackdriver Debugger without affecting end-user experience.
- Seamless Versioning: Users need updated information about the version of the app installed on their devices. This means that versioning is a critical component of the application upgrade and maintenance strategy. When developing apps in the App Engine, one can easily create development, test, staging, and production environments and host different versions of the app. Each version then runs within one or more instances, depending on how much traffic it has been configured to handle.
- Health Monitoring: Providing users with high-quality app experiences requires app developers to carry out timely performance monitoring. As applications get more complex and distributed, Google Stackdriver offers powerful application diagnostics to debug and monitor the health and performance of these apps. By aggregating metrics, logs, and events, it offers deep insight into multiple issues. This helps speed up root-cause analysis and reduce mean time to resolution.
Streamline Application Development:
The Google Cloud Platform – with its application development and integration services – could change the face of application development. With access to popular languages and tools and an open and flexible framework that is fully managed, it enables app developers to improve productivity and become more agile. Developers can focus on simply writing code and run all applications in a serverless environment. Since the App Engine automatically scales depending on application traffic and consumes resources only when the code is running, developers do not have to worry about over or under-provisioning. Now developers can efficiently manage resources from the command line, debug source code in their production environment, easily run API backends using industry-leading tools, and streamline the application development process.