July 25, 2018
Companies today are increasingly enlisting vendors to help them keep pace with rapid levels of innovation in the marketplace. Many are looking to their cloud service providers for data analytics, application development and IT management in addition to data storage. The major players in the cloud space all offer businesses better data capacity, flexibility to scale up and down, and IT cost savings. When looking at cloud service providers, many businesses initially base their decisions on cost alone. However, each service varies by a multitude of nuanced factors and it’s important to find the right fit for your business.
The Google Cloud Platform, established in 2011, is a suite of cloud computing services offered by Google. It runs on the same infrastructure that powers Google’s customer facing products like Google Search and Youtube.
In this post we will take a closer look at Google’s cloud services and discuss some of its features, benefits and drawbacks as well as discuss what types of businesses are best suited for Google’s model.
One of the key benefits Google positions for its cloud services is its infrastructure. The company advertises it as “future proof” as it’s secure, global, cost-effective, and constantly improving. Google, as well as its major competitors, is constantly expanding its cloud services infrastructure by investing in datacenters, high performing servers, and underwater cables. Google aims to launch the first new underwater cable to land in Chile in order to serve more customers in Latin America. Google leads the pack of the top three cloud service providers in year over year VM footprint growth.
Big Data & Analytics
Today’s applications harness unprecedented levels of data and drawing actionable insights from that data in an efficient way remains a primary focus for most companies. Most data is highly unstructured but with the right tools, can be repackaged into effective analytics that tell the story of your operations.
Google cloud customers can leverage the same distributed data technology that Google uses. These include Google BigQuery, Google Cloud DataLab, and Google Cloud Dataproc. The back-end infrastructure is fully managed by Google.
Flexible Capacity & Scaling
Regardless of which major service provider your company chooses, your business will gain immense flexibility and capacity by migrating data to the cloud.
The major players in the cloud space also promote hybrid environments. Earlier this year, Google announced a partnership with Cisco to better connect Cisco infrastructure to Google’s cloud services. In other words, Google understands that customers will likely seek hybrid solutions and is working with other tech giants to make that as simple as possible.
When it comes to pricing by usage, Google ranks first among the major players as the most economical option. Google customers pay by minute level pricing and also receive discounts for long running work loads. Instance costs are also lower than both AWS and Azure.
Google employs more than 500 cybersecurity professionals dedicated to securing programs like Gmail, Search, and cloud services. All data is encrypted between Google, its customers, and data centers. Each encryption key is then re-encrypted under regularly changed master keys. Each request coming from different applications need to be authorized and authenticated. Google continually undergoes third party audits for security which in turn helps customers with their own compliance efforts.
Businesses Using Google Cloud Platform
Google’s cloud service is the most junior of the major players. The initial push to create the Google cloud infrastructure was to support its own programs like Youtube. While trendy millennial companies like Snapchat initially used the Google cloud infrastructure, it lacked some of the big Fortune 500 customer names that Azure and AWS had. Last year, SAP announced it will allow access for its HANA database on the Google Cloud Platform. Nothing says enterprise like SAP. The partnership signals a major play by Google to appeal to more substanial companies.
A list of Google Cloud Platform customers can be found here.
Google cloud customers can apply the company’s heritage of machine learning and advanced analytics to their data. The Google Cloud Platform democratizes the analytics game as sole proprietors and small companies can harness the same predictive analytics that large companies have access to. Google has open-sourced its library for machine learning and launched a suite of Cloud Machine Learning products.
Drawbacks of Google Cloud Services
Google’s cloud services rely on Google’s proprietary systems and don’t allow for much customer control over the VMs. Some reviews state that it can prove difficult to move away from the Google Cloud Platform. While the usage may be cost competitive, Google’s cloud services have a complex pricing structure. The service support fees are high (upwards of $150 per month for basic service) and downloading data from the Google Cloud Storage can also be expensive (about $0.12 per GB).
Companies Best Suited for Google Cloud
At the onset, Google Cloud Platform was targeted toward startups and companies that could build their own applications like Google does. However, they found the larger companies actually didn’t want to build their own apps. Since then, the company has shifted its approach to provide more hands on and customized services for cloud customers. Following that, Google has added companies to its cloud customer roster such as Disney, Coca-Cola, and Apple.
The major players in the cloud computing and cloud services space all offer businesses advantages for IT and innovation. While a multitude of companies offer cloud services, analysts often discuss the cloud industry as a three way battle between Microsoft (Azure), Amazon (AWS), and Google (GCP). The differences typically lie in price and user experience. When selecting a cloud service, we recommend running compatibility testing to ensure a smooth transition into whichever cloud model you choose.