Interestingly... this is the same play MS used to gain prominence: they controlled the API and the more code was written for it, the network effects kicked in with more force. Very interesting parallels here.
In short, I'm really confused as to what the big deal is. Can someone elaborate on the above questions?
Migrating elsewhere might not be better along any single dimension (price, speed, reliability, etc.) at any particular point in time. You might never need to do it. But having the option is gigantic. It makes GAE a much, much, safer platform on which to develop. In a pinch, you could port elsewhere in short order without reengineering your service architecture.
This is a very impressive move by Google. It removes my number one fear of using GAE. I'll be watching AppScale closely.
The risk of Google doing something to simply enrage GAE developers is very, very low. Is there any non-hypothetical reason why they would do this?
And that's with Google still making barrels of money and not yet facing significant antitrust action for using profits from search to underprice products in other markets (like cloud services). With a few unprofitable quarters or lawsuits, what's the guarantee GAE will continue in an attractive form indefinitely? What if they decide they have to maximize revenue from developers locked-into the GAE platform? (Or what if the core team leaves to do their own startup?)
Even a tiny risk that another company could yank your platform out from under you on short notice, for arbitrary reasons having to do with their business needs (and not yours), may be unacceptable. AppScale mitigates that risk -- a lot.
And who says AppScale is just for private clouds? What if Yahoo starts offering AppScale hosting?
It was created by 10gen as an AppEngine competitor and it's now released under an open source license.
Now they have a substantial option. I was surprised to see HyperTable support -- it's a solid piece of work, and plays to my biases a lot better than HBase.
This would essentially allow you to create one-click installable apps that could run on any service running AppScale.
I would definitely hold off for the next version until persistent storage is resolved.