In the two days since I posted that I was waiting to see if App Engine or an alternative got to the goal first both App Engine and EC2 have edged forward.
Yesterday Amazon announced a private beta for their own monitoring, load balancing, and automatic scaling service offering. Such included services is one of the key advantages that App Engine currently offers using EC2 (without paying for third party software that provides these services). Once this goes public it will be interesting to see if Amazon also allows a web app to hibernate (i.e. stop consuming all instance hours thus their associated costs) when idle and automatically be spun up when a request comes. Even if they don’t offer this, the monthly minimum will drop to a bit of $70 for a month without the need for third party services to get load balancing and automatic scaling.
On the App Engine front the conflict, which I ran into 10 days ago between GAE’s 1000 mcycle per request soft cap and the actual mcycle consumption of updating multiple entities in the datastore, apparently is no conflict at all. Rather it is a bug in GAE’s admin console where the mcycle consumption of datastore operations are included in the logs results when they should be excluded as they are apparently excluded when actually comparing mcycle consumption to the softcap.