SAN FRANCISCO -- Google detailed its plans for enterprise developers and fleshed out its application strategy during the first day of its Google I/O conference.
A key part of that focused on App Engine for Business, a cloud-based, scalable developer environment hosted by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). App Engine for Business is now available in a Preview Release that the company is encouraging enterprise customers to try, while the finished version is set for later this year.
In an on-stage demonstration during the morning keynote here at San Francisco's Moscone Center, Google demonstrated how a developer could quickly create a cloud-based expense report application using less than 200 keystrokes. Google officials then showed how they could access and interact with the new application from both a mobile phone and an Apple iPad, though response time was slowed by subpar network performance in the packed hall. Google said over 5,000 developers are attending the sold-out I/O conference.
Matthew Glotzbach, director of enterprise products at Google, said the economies of scale Google has achieved among its many data centers enabled it to offer an aggressive pricing model for App Engine for Business, which starts at $8 per user and application/per month with a $1,000 cap per application regardless of the number of users.
"Our goal with the pricing wasn't to be disruptive, but to offer enterprise customers a level of certainty and simplicity as to what their costs are going to be, which they don't really have now," Glotzbach told InternetNews.com. "Some smaller companies, working with a smaller number of users, might look at this and decide they can do better on price with [Amazon's] EC2."
Meanwhile, Google's new partnership with VMware (NYSE: VMW) brings Google both technical expertise and credibility with enterprise customers who have helped make its new partner the leader in virtualization software. VMware also owns the Java Spring developer software.
"There isn't a developer in the enterprise space that doesn't know what Java Spring is," Vic Gundotra, Google's vice president of engineering, said in a press panel following the keynotes. "Our approach is to work with market leaders." He also emphasized that Google was working with VMware in "a deep technical partnership with real engineering collaboration."
Google and VMware are combining their respective tools, the SpringSource Tool Suite and Google's Web Toolkit, to help developers build and deploy applications to Google App Engine for Business and other cloud platforms from VMware as well as other cloud infrastructures such as Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) EC2. The two partners also said they recognize that many companies have applications they're not ready to deploy to the cloud, so the development system lets them also deploy on-premises.
Will HTML5 fragment?
While Google and VMware officials repeatedly touted the benefits of the open standards approach, Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney questioned whether customers should be concerned that standards like HTML5 -- which are key to the App Engine strategy -- might fragment as Java has, causing incompatibilities.
Gundotra conceded there have been Java compatibility issues in mobile and in the past Unix suffered from the same issue with applications not able to run on different Unix systems. But he said the Web makes these concerns almost moot.
"We have one advantage: HTML5 has an amazing test suite called the Web that lets us quickly see whether applications work," Gundotra said.
He said it was "pretty shocking" to see how quickly the major browser vendors have moved to make sure they're compatible with HTML5.
"There's a deep desire, the carrot, to get their browser adopted," he said.