Google App Engine Flexible Environment
Suppose you’ve decided that the restrictions of App Engine standard environment’s sandbox model don’t work for you, but you still want to take advantage of the benefits of App Engine. That’s what App Engine flexible environment is for.
Instead of the sandbox, App Engine flexible environment lets you specify the container your App Engine runs in. Yes, containers. Your application runs inside Docker containers on Google Compute Engine Virtual Machines, VMs. App Engine manages these Compute Engine machines for you.
They’re health checked, healed as necessary, and you get to choose which geographical region they run in, and critical backward-compatible updates to their operating systems are automatically applied. All this so that you can just focus on your code. App Engine flexible environment apps use standard run times, can access App Engine services such as data store, memcached, task queues, and so on.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Standard and Flexible. Notice that Standard environment starts up instances of your application faster, but that you get less access to the infrastructure in which your application runs. For example, Flexible environment lets you SSH into the virtual machines on which your application runs.
It lets you use local disk for scratch base, it lets you install third-party software, and it lets your application make calls to the network without going through App Engine. On the other hand, Standard environment’s billing can drop to zero for the completely idle application.
Because we mentioned App Engine’s use of Docker containers, you may be wondering how App Engine compares to Kubernetes Engine. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of App Engine with Kubernetes Engine. App Engine standard environment is for people who want the service to take maximum control of their application’s deployment and scaling.
Kubernetes Engine gives the application owner the full flexibility of Kubernetes. App Engine flexible edition is somewhere in between. Also, App Engine environment treats containers as a means to an end, but for Kubernetes Engine, containers are a fundamental organizing principle.
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