Home > Articles

Improving Google App Engine Performance

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter explains performance characteristics specific to the Google App Engine environment. It starts by discussing the process of starting and stopping instances in the cloud. It also offers pointers for minimizing and, where possible, avoiding cold startups. Finally, it provides a high-level overview of performance-related topics you can find in other chapters in this book.
This chapter is from the book

Throughout this book, a lot of attention is given to performance optimization. By improving performance, you get the added benefit of lowering the usage costs of your application when you surpass the App Engine’s free quota. This chapter explains performance characteristics specific to the Google App Engine environment. It starts by discussing the process of starting and stopping instances in the cloud. The cost of starting an instance is demonstrated by showing the performance of a servlet using a third-party library compared to the performance of a plain vanilla servlet. This chapter also offers pointers for minimizing and, where possible, avoiding cold startups. Finally, it provides a high-level overview of performance-related topics you can find in other chapters in this book.

Performing in the Cloud

One of the unique selling points of cloud computing over traditional hosting is high scalability and flexibility when responding to changes in the demand of your application. The pricing model of cloud computing is especially convenient if you experience sudden high spikes in the number of visitors on a regular basis.

In the cloud, you pay for what you use. On the App Engine, this means that if your traffic is usually below Google’s free daily quota and you have only incidental traffic spikes, you pay only for the computing power used during the days with high spikes. The advantage of cloud computing over having a physical machine park capable of handling high-traffic spikes is that you are not paying for machines that remain idle except during a traffic spike.

This flexibility also introduces a new challenge that might not be apparent at first sight. Responding to changes in demand means starting and stopping instances multiple times per hour. The time necessary to respond to a change in demand is directly related to the time necessary to start your web application. This means that your web application does not necessarily become flexible and scalable simply because it is deployed on the App Engine. You need to optimize your application to get the most out of the specific circumstances of running on the Google App Engine.

Comparing the App Engine to Traditional Web Applications

Whereas the lifetime of a typical App Engine instance is measured in minutes and hours, the lifetime of a traditional web application instance is measured in weeks or months. Traditional web application here means a web application running on a physical machine that you maintain yourself rather than an application running in the cloud.

One of the most common approaches to optimizing the performance of a traditional web application is to take a performance hit on startup of the instance. For example, if you load a lot of classes and data into memory during startup, you can save loading time while processing the actual user requests because starting and stopping an application instance is unrelated to handling a request.

Taking a performance hit during the startup of a new instance is not such a good idea, though, if a website visitor is waiting while your application is starting. You may lose a visitor every time a new instance is started.

In addition, the scalability requirements of the App Engine ask for different storage strategies. Most traditional web applications are based on relational databases. Strategies for optimal usage of a relational database can sometimes be catastrophic when applied to NoSQL storages like the Google App Engine datastore.

As a result, web application frameworks originally designed for use with software stacks can lead to bad results when used on the App Engine without consideration.

Optimizing Payments for Resources

On the App Engine, you pay for the resources you use. This means that optimizing your application to use fewer resources also leads to cost reductions.

On the App Engine, some resources are more expensive than others. The optimal usage versus cost ratio depends on the characteristics of your application. How much data do you store? How much traffic is generated by your visitors? How is the traffic distributed over the total data set? How much data processing is involved? How is the number of visitors distributed over time?

When you consider these questions and look at the current pricing tables on Google’s site, you quickly find that you may have an optimization challenge. Take a look on http://code.google.com/appengine/docs/billing.html for more information.

Although there is no silver bullet for an optimal cost reduction, this book aims to give you the most control over the performance and costs of your web application.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020