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The Mountain View Chocolate Factory is now offering (theoretically) unlimited access to Google App Engine, charging a fee for resources above and beyond the no-charge quotas on its fledgling developer cloud.

When Google opened App Engine to all (earthbound) developers back in May, its so-called cloud platform was completely free. But each cloud-sitter was limited to 500MB of storage, 200M CPU megacycles a day, and 10GB of bandwidth a day.

At the time, Google technical lead Kevin Gibbs said the company would begin selling additional resources later in the year, and though this has taken a little longer than expected, additional resources are now yours for the buying.

With a Tuesday afternoon blog post, App Engine Googler Brett Slatkin said that developers can now set their own daily budgets for processing power, bandwidth, storage, and email spewing. Google will then give you as many resources as your app needs - up to those limits. But you're only charged you for what you use beyond App Engine's no-charge quotas.

The rub is that the free CPU and bandwidth quotas are going down. "Along with many performance improvements over the past ten months, we've learned that we overestimated our initial free quota values," Slatkin said. In 90 days, free usage will top out at 6.5 hours of CPU time per day and a mere gigabyte of data transfers. But Slatkin and the App Engine team are confident these limits can still handle 5 million page views a month.

To lessen the blow, Google has increased the free storage limit a GB. And the free email limit remains at 2,000 recipients.

Pricing for resources above these quotes is as follows:

  • $0.10 per CPU core hour (This covers the actual CPU time an application uses to process a given request, as well as the CPU used for any Datastore usage).
  • $0.10 per GB bandwidth incoming, $0.12 per GB bandwidth outgoing. (This covers traffic directly to/from users, traffic between the app and any external servers accessed using the URLFetch API, and data sent via the Email API).
  • $0.15 per GB of data stored by the application per month.
  • $0.0001 per email recipient for emails sent by the application

But even without paying for extra resources, you could run all but a minority of today's web apps. The larger point here is that if you build your app on Google's cloud, you have no choice but to use Google's dev tools. App Engine is a runtime for Python apps only, and it's tied to BigTable, Mountain View's proprietary BigTable online database. ®

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