GCP App Engine vs Cloud Run vs Cloud Function

Serverless computing is a great option for developers looking to focus on development without getting bogged down with infrastructure and maintenance details. With benefits like autoscaling, pay-as-you-go, and on-demand provisioning, it’s a clear choice for those building stateless HTTP applications, web and mobile apps, IoT and sensor apps, data processing systems, chatbots and more. 

Google Cloud Platform offers three options for serverless computing, including GCP App Engine, Google Cloud Run, and Cloud Function. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

What is a GCP App Engine?

Google App Engine is a fully managed platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offered by Google Cloud. It allows developers to build, deploy, and scale applications without having to worry about managing the underlying infrastructure. With Google App Engine, you can focus on writing code and let Google handle the infrastructure, security, and scaling aspects.

What is Cloud Run?

Google Cloud Run is a serverless computing platform provided by Google Cloud. It allows developers to deploy containerized applications without the need to manage or provision underlying infrastructure. With Cloud Run, you can focus on building and scaling your applications while Google handles the operational aspects.

What is Cloud Function?

Google Cloud Functions is also a serverless computing platform provided by Google Cloud. It allows developers to write and deploy event-driven functions that automatically respond to events or triggers from various Google Cloud services or external sources. With Cloud Functions, you can build and run code without provisioning or managing servers, paying only for the resources consumed during function execution.

GCP App Engine vs Cloud Run vs Cloud Function

Cloud Run, App Engine, and Cloud Functions are three distinct services offered by Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with different characteristics and use cases. Here’s a comparison of the three services:

Download the comparison table: GCP App Engine vs Cloud Run vs Cloud Function

It’s important to consider your specific requirements, development preferences, and the nature of your application or workload when choosing between Cloud Run, App Engine, and Cloud Functions. Each service offers different levels of control, scalability options, language support, and pricing models to cater to different use cases and developer needs.

How to choose between App Engine, Cloud Functions and Cloud Run?

Choosing between Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) App Engine, Cloud Functions, and Cloud Run depends on various factors. Here are some considerations to help you make a decision:

Application Type and Complexity:

  • App Engine: Well-suited for web applications and APIs that require a fully managed platform without worrying about infrastructure management. It supports multiple programming languages and abstracts infrastructure details.
  • Cloud Functions: Ideal for event-driven functions and serverless computing. Suitable for lightweight, short-lived tasks or event-triggered workflows.
  • Cloud Run: Suitable for containerized applications that require more control over the underlying infrastructure. It offers the flexibility of using any language and framework within a serverless container platform.

Scalability Requirements:

  • App Engine: Automatically scales based on demand, making it suitable for applications with varying traffic patterns.
  • Cloud Functions: Automatically scales based on event triggers, allowing for efficient resource allocation for event-driven workloads.
  • Cloud Run: Autoscales based on request volume, making it suitable for applications with varying traffic and the ability to handle bursts of requests.

Flexibility and Control:

  • App Engine: Abstracts infrastructure details, providing a managed platform. Offers limited control over the underlying infrastructure but allows focus on application development.
  • Cloud Functions: Offers minimal infrastructure control, with the primary focus on writing functions to respond to events or triggers.
  • Cloud Run: Provides more control over the underlying infrastructure as it allows you to run containerized applications.

Development Language and Environment:

  • App Engine: Supports Java, Python, Node.js, Go, Ruby, .NET, PHP, making it suitable for developers comfortable with these languages.
  • Cloud Functions: Supports Node.js, Python, Go, Ruby, .NET, Java, and more, providing flexibility for developers with various language preferences.
  • Cloud Run: Supports any containerized application, allowing the use of any programming language and framework.


  • App Engine: Pricing is based on instance class and usage, considering factors such as instance type, instance hours, and resource consumption.
  • Cloud Functions: Pricing is based on the number of function invocations and the resources consumed during execution.
  • Cloud Run: Pricing is based on CPU and memory allocation, considering the resources used by the container instances.

Consider these factors along with your application requirements, expected traffic patterns, development preferences, and budget to determine the most suitable option for your specific use case. It can also be beneficial to experiment with each service through proof-of-concept projects or small-scale deployments to assess performance, scalability, and ease of development before making a final decision.

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