Cloud Run vs App Engine vs Cloud Function (Pros and Cons)

Cloud Run vs App Engine vs Cloud Function (Pros and Cons). This article focuses on comparing three popular services offered by Google Cloud Platform: Cloud Run, App Engine and Cloud Function. Nowadays, many applications rely on the cloud to enable rapid deployment and scaling of applications. Each of these services has its own unique features and benefits, so there are many factors to consider when choosing the right service for your application.

What are they? All 3 offer serverless computing which auto scales the work for development team. Also offers services as required, in other words pay as you go. 

This article is going to compare Cloud Run, App Engine and Cloud Function in terms of performance, scalability, cost, flexibility and other factors. We introduce readers to these services and outline which applications suits and performs best on what characteristics. Ultimately, readers gain a better understanding of the differences between those applications and are better informed to choose the right one for their project.

Let’s start with Cloud Run vs App Engine vs Cloud Function (Pros and Cons).

Cloud Run

Firstly, the is Cloud Run. is a serverless product that offers computing platform and is provided by Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It let’s developers to run stateless containers that scale automatically based on incoming requests. All in all, designed as a fully managed platform, where developers focus on writing code without worrying about underlying infrastructure or scaling applications.

Moreover, Cloud Run supports containers, built with any programming language or toolchain, as long as they run in a Docker container. Developers use popular frameworks like Node.js, Python, Go, Java, and Ruby to create their applications, and deploy them to Cloud Run. All it takes is to use a simple command-line interface or a fully managed build and deploy pipeline.

Pros of Cloud Run

  • Developers deploy their work with a single command without additional configuration of specific services.
  • Provides a consistent and simple developer experience. Each container is implemented as a Docker image. Then developers use any programming language, binary, or framework they want.
  • Concurrency multiple requests sent to each container.
  • Fully managed.
  • HTTPS endpoints.
  • Pay as you go, where devOps only pay for the resources their application uses and not for idle instances.
  • Cost effective solution for running containerized applications.

Cons of Cloud Run

  • Not very useful for applications with background tasks.
  • Complicates applications at times, by making the architecture difficult to understand.
  • Some events available to Cloud Functions are not available to Cloud Run (for example, Firestore).

App Engine

Secondly, there is Google App Engine. is a fully managed platform as a service (PaaS) provided by Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Basically, it allows developers to build and run web applications on Google’s infrastructure without having to manage the underlying infrastructure. Besides, App Engine abstracts servers, operating systems, and network infrastructure, so devOps focus on building scalable and flexible applications.

What is more, App Engine supports Java, Python, Node.js, Ruby, Go, and PHP. It also includes built-in services such as data storage, authentication, and traffic splitting to make it easier for developers to build and deploy applications.

Pros of App Engine

  • Fully scalable, so you add power and grow as needed.
  • Perfect for web applications running a number of services at scale.
  • Easy development as supports many languages ​​such as Java, Python, Php, Ruby.
  • Top notch security and reporting systems.
  • Multiple built in APIs.
  • Uses Google servers to power the platform.

Cons of App Engine

  • Read only access to the file system.
  • Expensive deployments compared to pure IaaS deployments.
  • Customer support is not perfect.
  • Not all languages and frameworks are supported.

Cloud Function

In simple terms, a cloud function is a small piece of code that runs in response to an event, such as a file upload, a message from a messaging service, or a change in a database. Then, the code gets executed on demand, without the need to provision and manage infrastructure, which makes it a very convenient and cost effective way to build and deploy applications.

Generally speaking,  Cloud Functions are a type of serverless computing service offered by cloud providers like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure.

Additionally, Cloud services are written in a variety of programming languages, such as Python, JavaScript, Java or Go. They typically run for a short time, from a few milliseconds to a few minutes, and scale automatically to handle large volumes of requests.

Pros of Cloud Function

  • Event driven services make things easier.
  • No server management.
  • Automatic scaling.
  • Pay by the usage pricing model.
  • Integrations.
  • If you want to create lightweight, high-performance functions without worrying about administrative obligations, GCF is a good choice.
  • GCF also allows users to create their own runtime using Docker images, a powerful, popular and well documented provider that is an integral part of other containerized deployments.
  • Known for expediting handling of individual requests. So, Cloud Functions also natively supports HTTP, providing shared hosting, regardless of your usage plan.

Cons of Cloud Function

  • Running the features and connecting them to other services provider specific. So they are multitude of ways to learn from providers how to connect and utilize the features  
  • Keeping track of all the cloud features you have deployed is not easy.
  • Monitoring, analysis and deployment scripts need to be synchronized with the existing system.
  • Daunting or overwhelming to control.
  • Architectural complexity.

We have reach the comparison stage of Cloud Run vs App Engine vs Cloud Function.

Cloud Run vs App Engine vs Cloud Function - key differences

All of the 3 providers- Cloud Run, App Engine and Cloud Functions differ in terms of performance due to their different architectures and use cases.

Performance Analysis

Cloud Run offers fast start up times and automatic scalability based on demand. Ideal for applications with unpredictable or variable traffic patterns. The performance of Cloud Run mainly depends on the size of the container image, the resources allocated to the container and network latency.

Following tool, the App Engine offers automatic scalability, load balancing and traffic sharing. Perfect for handling large amounts of traffic without worrying about infrastructure. The performance of App Engine mainly depends on the number of instances and the resources allocated to each instance.

All in all, it offers a simple, event driven programming model that allows developers to focus on writing business logic instead of infrastructure. That is, with Cloud Functions offers fast start up times and automatic scalability according to demand, making it a good choice for event driven workloads. The performance of Cloud Functions mainly depends on the size of the function code and the resources allocated to the function.

Cost Analysis

The first of these, Cloud Run offers a per second billing model.  You only pay for the resources actually used. However, you are paying for RAM consumption, CPU time and data transfer. The cost is usually higher than with App Engine or Cloud Functions, due to the need to maintain containers.

Engine offers a billing model based on resource consumption, such as number of instances, memory and CPU time. However, costs tend to be lower than for Cloud Run because App Engine offers a more integrated runtime environment.

Comparatively, Cloud Functions offers a billing model based on the number of calls and the duration of the function. Only pay for the actual resource consumption during the function execution. Importantly, the cost is usually lower than with Cloud Run or App Engine because functions are only run when they are called.

Scalability Comparison

First of all, with Cloud Run, it provides autoscaling based on the number of requests coming into your container. As requests increase, the service automatically launches a new container instance to handle the additional requests. Also, Cloud Run also supports horizontal scaling. This means you run multiple container instances in parallel to handle large workloads.

Secondly, App Engine provides autoscaling based on application load. To handle more requests, the service automatically launches new instances of your application. Scaling is done both vertically and horizontally, allowing you to scale individual application instances or run multiple instances in parallel.

Thirdly, Cloud Functions provides autoscaling based on the number of function calls. As the number of function calls increases, the service automatically starts a new function instance to handle the additional calls. Similarly to both Cloud Run and App Engine, the Cloud Functions also offers horizontal scaling. Permits you to run multiple function instances in parallel to handle large workloads.

Use cases

Generally, Cloud Run is a good choice for applications that require more flexibility and control than App Engine, where you need to deploy containerized applications. Hence, with App Engine is better suited for applications that are written in a supported language and require less management overhead. On the other hand, Cloud Functions is a good choice for event driven applications, that require a lightweight and serverless approach.

Portability Comparison

Both, Cloud Run and Cloud Functions offer more portability than App Engine. Why? They allow you to run your applications in any environment that supports Docker or Node.js respectively.

Thank you for reading Cloud Run vs App Engine vs Cloud Function. We shall conclude the article now. 

Cloud Run vs App Engine vs Cloud Function Conclusion

In conclusion, the choice between Cloud Run, App Engine and Cloud Functions depends on the specifics of your application and business requirements. If you need full runtime control and want to run applications in containers, choose Cloud Run. And when you need an easy to use platform to run apps in the cloud, choose App Engine. Lastly, if you need to focus on creating and running individual functions, choose Cloud Functions.

As we see, there is no clear cut answer as to which service is best as all three offer unique features and scaling models. Ultimately, the choice is individual as requirements are unique to each company. Consider also application workload characteristics, and your budget. Whichever you choose, these three cloud computing services offer advanced cloud application launch capabilities to help you achieve the best results in terms of performance, scalability, and cost.

Thank you for your time.

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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