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martes, 10 de diciembre de 2013

Google Compute Engine: Cloud to the people!

We all thought that Amazon Web Services was the King of the hill referring to IaaS, and, a long distance behind, you could find Azure from Microsoft and other cloud giants.
AWS was launched in 2006 and it left everyone astonished with very innovative and advanced solutions. It has managed to be the major provider of cloud services in the world until now. Its policy based on “pay per use”, its flexibility to generate instances, or having offered five times the compute capacity of the other fourteen providers in the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant are responsible for its well earned fame.

Meanwhile we could see Google distracted designing robots, as Andy Rubin commented in an interview to the NY Times but they have made a move.

The Compute Engine by Google, its IaaS public cloud platform, is already available. Its main characteristics are:
  • -          Support for almost all the linux and kernels distributions.
  • -          24/7 support
  • -          Live migration
  • -          Persistent Disk  Storage
  • -           It is 10% cheaper than its nearest competitor:AWS
  • -          SLA with 99.95% availability

Beta has been a synonym of Google for years (do not forget that Google Mail was in Beta from 2004 to 2009). But, in order to consolidate this new platform, it must change the way in which it is seen by the business world.

Talking about technology, one of the key characteristics it must offer is being  the first provider of non-VMware cloud which adds live migration. This may convince some clients who will consider Google better than its competition. But this functionality must be handled carefully because having instances in more than one region can generate additional costs.

Live migration corners its competitor as Amazon’s system of load balancing between regions has not avoided service failures. Even Netflix, highly concerned about it, had to ask its engineers to think of a layer that could run over AWS offering a maximum cloud uptime.

As Gartner’s analyst Lydia Leong comments in its blog , Compute Engine may not be an attempt to block light to Amazon Web Services, it just wants to be there as a previous step to develop other technologies or services and start to gain the enterprise customers trust that used to be an important part of Google’s business till now.

It is clear that Google can add the technology needed to establish an interesting roadmap but being able to gain the enterprise trust is another matter, besides, it must impress the developer community by listening to their needs and making them come true.

It is always useful to have options; AWS has a predominant position so it is good that some competition appears. This way, everyone will be forced to improve and develop new products.

Anyway, when facing the challenge to chose a Cloud provider, the systems from AWS, Google… all “pay per use”, can be useful in the short term, but in the mid-term it can be more interesting to hire a cloud by the number of cores or RAM and, this way, you could distribute them in different VM according to your needs.

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