I'm currently assessing Google App Engine, and one of the answers from Hidden limitations of Google App Engine? stated:

Performance will surprise you. GAE is optimized for many tiny queries and you get warned if a query takes any CPU time at all. You get 6.5 (at last check) free hours per day, but it's a mystical number and you should test.

You'll find that time as you measure it doesn't relate to the CPU or datastore CPU time, because (for example) under the covers there might be multiple machines updating indexes during deletes/updates. Some users have found huge CPU usage when uploading bulk data - many hours of usage for e.g. 20 min of real time.

Your Java instance might need to be powered-up if it hasn't been hit in (I think) 20 minutes. The benefit is that they can pass their smart management on to you as cheaper costs, but it does mean you'll experience a short delay, and see a high CPU warning on the first request in a while.

For many cases, Python datastore access is faster than Java JDO. You'll likely find that using the low-level API for Java faster.

Some developers seem to have experienced more datastore errors thank you would expect (around 0.4-1% maybe?). I haven't yet.

I'm wondering what factors go into determining a PaaS's CPU time (like, in this case, the 6.5 hours free that you get with GAE). For example, does it include the total time it takes for the database to transfer data over to the client?

Do the costs under this model increase dramatically as you get more users?

1 Answer 1


As explained on this page:

CPU time is reported in "seconds," which is equivalent to the number of CPU cycles that can be performed by a 1.2 GHz Intel x86 processor in that amount of time. The actual number of CPU cycles spent varies greatly depending on conditions internal to App Engine, so this number is adjusted for reporting purposes using this processor as a reference measurement.

In other words, 6.5 hours per day would equal the processing you can get from 6.5 hours of 100% CPU utilization for the mentioned CPU.

  • In other words wouldn't everything be very expensive if you start getting more users using your website?
    – Pacerier
    May 15, 2011 at 19:29
  • @Pacerier: of course, that's the whole point of 'pay as you go'.'. May 15, 2011 at 22:14
  • @Dean Harding actually i mean't wouldn't it end up being more expensive than other services (provided my startup has already matured and is using alot of resources)
    – Pacerier
    May 16, 2011 at 0:18

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