Another decision: Windows Azure or Google AppEngine

A few days a go I wrote.as part of starting my own business, about choosing between emotional, innovative of simplicity. Starting a business brings many choices to the table, today I go into a more technical and practical decision to make and appreciate your feedback on missing or misinterpreted arguments. If you are not technical, it might be wise to skip the rest of this article.

I'm not ready to disclose too much about my startup plans, but it does involve various (mobile) devices connecting to a cloud based service. The service exists of a few datastore objects and relatively simple business logic that need to be exposed with an OAuth authenticated JSON API and a lightweight web client for some administrative tasks. There are no legislative and geographical boundaries to the solution and it has the potential te become huge and a reasonable level of scalability needs to be accounted for. This on some basic technical background for the solution.

I've no intention and absolutely no ambition to configure and monitor (hosted) servers and eliminated all options for hosting, virtual servers in the cloud, etc. I just want to build the application on a platform and as the title already indicated I narrowed it down to Windows Azure or Google AppEngine. I consider both as excellent choices and very capable to deliver the results I need. I've collected some of the positive highlights of both platforms that are the influencers of my decision. Let me know if there is anything that I omitted, but could be a significant influencer. Note: I'm looking for positive highlights, not negative sentiment.

Google AppEngine
  1. A simple, easy to learn and easy to use, architecture.
  2. An interesting very scalable data store sitting in the middle between a relational database and big table data store. 
  3. A wide range for standard infrastructure components, like email, task queues and background jobs available.
  4. Standard OpenID authentication and OAuth service provider functionality
  5. Development tools for Windows, Linux and Mac 
  6. Very cheap, meaning free, in the start up phase due to very generous free usage quota

Windows Azure
  1. Deeper functionality and more fine grained control over the system
  2. More data store options available
  3. More visible executive commitment
  4. Close to the Microsoft DNA of providing a developers platform
  5. More control on where your data actually gets stored
  6. Probably easier to recruit engineers or find experienced outsourcing partners
Both are great products, but difficult to compare, because they are almost the opposite of each other while still having the same goals. I put in nicely in an almost two year post on Google AppEngine versus Microsoft Azure.


Is there anything that I forgot? Please let me know in the comments below.

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