Google updated its AppEngine cloud platform earlier this week with new features and functions that help to address some of the services initial shortcomings.
According to a blog post from the AppEngine development team, new features include multitenancy support (to run multiple instances of an application), high-performance image serving, and increased data storage quotas.
Multitenancy is accomplished via the new Namespaces API, which allows multiple organizations to run the same application, segregating data using a unique namespace for each client. This allows developers to serve the same app to multiple different customers, with each customer seeing their own unique copy of the app.
The Namespaces API allows developers to easily partition data across tenants simply by specifying a unique namespace string for each tenant. Each tenant is specified in the namespace manager as opposed to setting it explicitly for a specific request. It's also integrated with Google Apps, allowing you to use your Google Apps domain as the current namespace.
Using namespaces is a smart approach to the multitenancy challenge that many SaaS providers find themselves in. By segmenting application users, developers can theoretically tweak specific portions of the application to meet unique scenarios.
The other interesting feature of the new release is faster image processing. To date, many Amazon Web Services (AWS) users have found their way to the AWS service with a simple need to host and cache images for their Web sites. High-performance image processing potentially opens the door for more developers to become interested in AppEngine as a platform once they start using the image hosting.