Google App Engine Adjusts Price Changes After Developer Outcry

It has been two weeks since Google's unpopular pricing changes on its Google App Engine platform. The pricing left many developers upset since it pushed up their charges by 3x-5x in many cases. Google was pushed to the back foot in the face of the uproar and realized it needed to do a better job explaining the pricing and give developers a little more time to make changes in their apps.

At the AppEngine blog, the team has published a post that tackles the issue on 3 fronts: more time for developers to make changes to their apps, providing more quota and giving tips on how to reduce your application costs.

The main points to note are:

  • Developers now have eight weeks before the new pricing is introduced. This should come as a relief to those who felt that the original window of 2-3 weeks was too short. The new pricing is now effective from November 1.
  • One of the main areas of complaint was Free Instance Hours. This has been increased from 24 to 28. This should allow developers trying out App Engine to run a single instance all day with with relatively low spikes still manage to remain in the free quota. Google still has one of the most generous quotas compared to other platforms.
  • Additional tools will be provided to help model the costs. The time window of seeing what your new prices are after making app changes has been reduced from three days to one.
  • 50% discount on instances will be available until December 1. The App Engine team hopes that Python 2.7 will be available by then, which in turn allows for concurrent requests that should help bring costs further down.

The blog post also contains information on various other ways to experiment until November 1 to see how to bring prices down. These include setting max idle instances and reserving instance hours which come at a lower cost. Developers are reminded again to go through the managing resources article published by the App Engine team.

The App Engine team is trying its best to be transparent in terms of how developers can work to reduce their costs further. It is clear that App Engine wants to provide a solid and reliable PaaS while continually providing new features. It is fair enough that there are costs involved to do that and the days of almost zero pricing are over. Developers will need to take a good look at their apps, make the changes that Google is recommending and see for themselves where the costs end up.

Peter Magnusson, Engineering Director responsible for Google App Engine has also penned his thoughts on App Engine Pricing.