In the last month we have released our first set of Google Cloud Platform quizzes and learning statements. To do this, we have partnered with Janakiram MSV, a Cloud Computing guru and one of the few guys in the world with a deep knowledge of the new Google Cloud Platform. Google Compute Engine, the IaaS platform of Google, became general available in December 2013 and all the signals tell us that Google is ready to accelerate on its cloud strategy, competing with the biggest public cloud in the world: Amazon Web Services.
I think that Google Compute Engine will be the most important competitor of AWS during 2014 and the next years. There are several reasons why Google wants to join this exclusive club, but there are probably a few ways how Google can beat a competitor like Amazon: one of them is related to the existing infrastructure of Google. As a global service provider, Google has built a big network of data center worldwide and has invested on them for years, creating the first distributed cloud infrastructure in the world. If you know how Google works, you know that every team in Google, from Gmail to other products, is a “customer” for the special Google Cloud infrastructure: in fact, this special group is a sort of hosting provider for all the Google projects.
Google has managed a cloud infrastructure for more than 10 years. It’s now ready to roll it out for the public, on the lower level of Infrastructure as a Service public cloud.
In this article I’ll focus on five reasons why Google can succeed in this area and how different is positioned from Amazon Web Services.
5. GCE it’s not the first Cloud product of Google
Google Compute Engine is not the first cloud product of the company. If you think about Google Apps or Google AppEngine, you know that Google has managed big, distributed cloud services, for years. Gmail is probably the most important example of a distributed SaaS platform deployed to hundreds of millions of users.
Google Apps was just the natural evolution of Gmail. An email system designed for companies where there is not only email management: Google Apps is a complex but complete set of tools for the SMB and Enterprise. From users and permissions management to external app integration, it has all the characteristics of a complex Cloud platform. For me it’s more Paas than SaaS, right now.
With the scenario, you can realize that Google Compute Engine and Google Cloud Platform are the last steps of a journey started years ago. Google learnt a lot about distributed data center and cloud computing and it’s now ready to deploy it in a Infrastructure as a Service platform.
4. Big data, the field where Google has no competitors
If you think about data mining and machine learning, Google is one of the most advanced companies in the world. With the experience given by its search business, today Google has some of the most advanced labs in the world about data mining, machine learning and, of course, Artificial Intelligence. Chances are that Google Cloud Platform in the future will be particularly focused on the Big Data industry: BigQuery is the first product released by Google to help companies collecting and analyzing data (BigQuery can be compared to Hadoop).
With all the attention around the Big Data trend and around companies like Cloudera, it’s easy to forecast that Google Cloud Platform will be specially focused on providing analytics and machine learning tools for the enterprise. To put things into perspective, you should remember that Cloudera raised more than $900 Millions for its Big Data products suite.
3. A better network
As Janakiram said in his famous comparison between Google Compute Engine and AWS, Google has a better network. It doesn’t needs to pass through the public internet to move data across data centers, it can do that within its private global network, the one that is using today to manage all the existing services.
2. From Google Apps to Google Compute Engine: the all in one platform
You should consider Google Compute Engine on a broader view in the Google ecosystem.
From the perspective of an SMB today Google has all the products that it needs: Google Apps is probably the best option for small businesses that don’t want to manage mail server and groupware functionalities. Google Drive it’s there to allow you to write and collaborate on a browser. No need to backup, Google is taking care of that for your email, calendar, docs, files and so on. Google Compute Engine is the last step for when you need computational power or storage on demand.
From a company point of view, there are all the tools that you can desire to manage your digital business. Google Compute Engine is not an isolated platform and Google has many opportunities to integrate everything for a really complete offer.
The last months have demonstrated how the future of Cloud Computing will be also a continuos price war among all the most important providers in the market. Computation is a commodity and that’s how Amazon and Google are selling it: unlike Amazon, Google has a bigger data center infrastructure and a faster time to market when it comes to launch new regions around the world. This has a big impact also in terms of prices.
I think that Google will be the most convenient cloud service in the long term: for AWS even a partial hour is rounded to an hour, GCE instances are charged a minimum of 10 minutes and then you can be billed by minute.