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Google App Engine suffers outage

Bug in datastore found to be the cause

Google App Engine, the service that lets developers host web applications for free for up to 5 million monthly page views, suffered an outage on Tuesday after a bug appeared in the datastore servers.

"This outage was the result of a bug in our datastore servers and was triggered by a particular class of queries," said Pete from Google's App Engine team in a blog post.

The service is aimed largely at developers rather than companies looking to host commercial services, so the outage may have had less impact than similar recent outages at Amazon's hosted services, said Phil Shih, an analyst with Tier 1 Research.

Google's App Engine "is very much a service targeted at developers who are kind of experimenting with new projects," he said. "It's a very limited and unique audience with a specific set of needs who may be able to arguably tolerate a little more unreliability."

Google only launched App Engine earlier this year, and Shih suspects that the company may have quickly pulled together the offering in hope of catching up with the momentum around cloud computing. "Google is far, far behind Amazon," he said.

Still, even Amazon, which has been offering its web services since 2002, has its share of problems. Amazon has had outages on both its hosted computing and hosted storage services this year.

The troubles both companies are having reflects how new these types of offerings are, said Shih, who emphasises his advice that companies shouldn't host any mission-critical applications on these services. "This is not something you can trust for anything that you depend on having online all the time," he said.


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