It appears as if Google has been listening to its App Engine platform-as-a service customers, as the company has just announced the release of a limited preview of the Google SQL Cloud service. With the service, Google supplies developers with a hosted MySQL database environment that is scalable. The move shows that Google is dedicated to giving customers the functionality they desire and should attract more businesses to its cloud computing platform.
According to Navneet Joneja, Google Cloud SQL’s product manager, Google App Engine users repeatedly voiced the need for an avenue to develop traditional applications driven by databases in a simple manner. Such feedback resulted in the creation of Google Cloud SQL. The combination of Google’s App Engine and Cloud SQL services simplifies developers’ lives by eliminating the worry of having to handle the administration, management, and maintenance of databases. Google handles those time-consuming and dreadful tasks, which frees up valuable time for developers to concentrate on actually developing innovative applications and services.
As mentioned, Google Cloud SQL offers its users a familiar MySQL database environment. Joneja’s post in the Google Code Blog noted that Cloud SQL comes with “JDBC support (for Java-based App Engine applications) and DB-API support (for Python-based App Engine applications.” With its comprehensive user interface, administering databases is done with ease. Safeguards begin with the practice of replicating data synchronously to various data centers and also include the automatic handling of machine, rack, and data center failures. Both work towards achieving the goal of backing users with high reliability and availability. Another Cloud SQL feature worth noting is the ability to easily import and export databases to the cloud for use with the App Engine. As for what it doesn’t do, Cloud SQL does not support the Google Go Programming language and it cannot be accessed from outside the App Engine.
Cloud SQL is currently available for free to give developers some time to get acclimated with its features. The free status will not remain into perpetuity, however, as Google does plan to charge for its use. Developers will get a 30 day heads up before any actual pricing changes go into effect, which is expected to occur next year. Slowly transitioning Cloud SQL from a free to a premium service will follow in the footsteps of Google’s App Engine, which is set to receive a price hike, much to the chagrin of developers. The move is seen as necessary, since Google wants App Engine to function as a business for business customers. Included in the App Engine price increase will be a shift in the service’s pricing model as well, plus the inclusion of offline billing and support through what are dubbed as Premiere accounts.