Rob Greenwood, technical director, Steamhaus
Ask me a year ago whether I’d recommend Google Cloud Platform to a client and you’d get a very different answer to the one I’d give today.
Google has taken impressive strides in this market and now offers a very credible alternative to Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. I wouldn’t hang my hat on any one of these big three providers and say this one is the best. It really comes down to the requirements of each individual organisation.
Here are Google’s five key strengths:
This is always going to be a major consideration for clients – and when it comes to on-demand pricing, Google is proving to be very competitive. Research has shown that it can be significantly cheaper. This isn’t the only cost benefit Google provides, however.
Very much the up-and-comer in the cloud infrastructure market, Google is chasing down the established leader, AWS. As such it is offering incentives in the form of free development credits, to help start-ups build and scale their cloud architecture.
For start-ups, however, these credits are extremely valuable as they can allow a fledgeling business to establish a strong infrastructure during their first year. Rather than investing a large proportion of their budget into computing power and storage during this critical phase, companies can instead commit their resources to developing the solid architecture required to provide a firm platform for growth in years to come.
The importance of location and data sovereignty cannot be downplayed – especially when 1 in 2 UK businesses now decide where to store their data based purely upon matters of security.
Google recently addressed this issue by opening its first UK-based data centre in London, reflecting the preference of many British businesses to keep information as close to home as possible. With this new data centre set up in the country’s capital, Google Cloud users can be guaranteed that their private information will remain securely within these borders should they wish it.
With Brexit also on the horizon, Google looks to have made a wise move by putting down these UK roots. Especially when you consider the long-term regulatory considerations and the implication this may have for companies storing data in continental Europe and further afield.
One disadvantage you could level at Google a year ago was it didn’t have the same range of features as AWS, but Google is catching up. An increased range of features is not the main reason to consider Google though – after all they still just lag behind in terms of quantity.
The major benefit of Google’s features is their reputation for being stable and reliable. This is providing developers with reassurance that they won’t encounter any unforeseen problems when scaling out an organisation’s infrastructure.
Google has launched a series of individual products that can be very helpful for developers. The obvious examples would be ubiquitous tools such as Google Maps. As a company, it’s committed to being innovative and is also pioneering cutting-edge technology in areas such as machine learning.
If you are a heavy user of any of these Google products, it can be preferable – from a technical and commercial basis – to deal with one supplier. However, I should add the caveat that, from a resiliency perspective, it can be unwise to put all your eggs in one basket.
Over the last year this has been a biggy! One of the main reasons why we, at Steamhaus, are using Google more is Kubernetes. If you’re not familiar with Kubernetes, it’s a system that allows you to automate the deployment, scaling and management of containerised applications. This means you can gain control over a cluster of applications using just one piece of technology – and you can then move that cluster into any cloud environment you want. This is saving developers a huge amount of work, effort and expense. It’s undoubtedly the future of cloud.
Currently, Google has a big advantage when it comes to Kubernetes. Although it’s open source technology, Google understands the system well – given that it was originally based on an internal piece of Google technology, known as Borg. It is also the only cloud provider that is supporting Kubernetes with a managed platform.
It really does depend on each business’s unique requirements as to what provider they should go with. Google, however, makes a strong case for consideration – especially when it comes to start-ups.