Google Compute Engine Drops Prices, Improves Migration, Maintenance

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-12-03 Print this article Print

In a Dec. 3 blog post, Gartner analyst Lydia Leong states that the new general availability status of GCE is adding to the options of users who want to use the cloud for essential services.

"Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the king of this space and is unlikely to be dethroned anytime soon, although Microsoft Windows Azure is clearly an up-and-coming competitor due to Microsoft's deep established relationships with business customers," wrote Leong. "GCE is more likely to target the cloud-natives that are going to AWS right now—companies doing things that the cloud is uniquely well-suited to serve. But I think the barriers to Google moving into mainstream businesses are more of a matter of go-to-market execution, along with trust, track record, and an enterprise-friendly way of doing business—Google's competitive issues are unlikely to be technology."

Where Google will excel with GCE is in features, she wrote. "In fact, I think that Google is likely to push the market forward in terms of innovation in a way that Azure will not; AWS and Google will hopefully goad each other into one-upsmanship, creating a virtuous cycle of introducing things that customers discover they love, thus creating user demand that pushes the market forward."

While GCE "still lags AWS tremendously in terms of breadth and depth of feature set," Google's offering "has aspects that are immediately more attractive for some workloads," she wrote. "However, it's now at the point where it's a viable alternative to AWS for organizations who are looking to do cloud-native applications, whether they're start-ups or long-established companies. I think the GA of GCE is a demarcation of market eras—we're now moving into a second phase of this market, and things only get more interesting from here onwards."

In October, Google released several technical papers to help developers get better acquainted with Google Compute Engine services. The articles, "Overview of Google Compute Engine for Cloud Developers" and "Building High Availability Applications on Google Compute Engine," were created to help cloud developers learn more about the services and how they could use them.

In September, Google unveiled its second version update of the Google App Engine since August, with the latest release 1.8.4 including a host of features that the company says will make it more flexible and simpler for developers to use for their applications. Included in 1.8.4 is support for Dynamic Web Projects in Eclipse to better support Google Cloud Endpoints and App Engine Backends, as well as fixes for several bugs. One other important new feature is the ability of Google App Engine to handle differential snapshots of a Google Compute Engine persistent disk, so that only the most recently changed data is updated.

The August launch of the previous App Engine 1.8.3 was also accompanied by deeper features for Google Compute Engine and the Google Cloud Datastore as the search giant continues to add functions and robustness to the Google Cloud Platform. The new tools included Layer 3 load balancing for Google Compute Engine and improvements to the PHP runtime in the latest Google App Engine release. The Layer 3 load balancing capabilities were a key addition in the Google Compute Engine, to provide Google-scale throughput and fault tolerance to manage Internet applications.

In July, Google unveiled several new features in the Google Cloud Storage environment to make it easier for developers to manage, access and upload data into the cloud. Those new capabilities included automatic deletion policies, regional buckets and faster uploads as part of a wide range of services.

In June, Google unveiled a new Cloud Playground environment where developers can quickly try out ideas on a whim, without having to commit to setting up a local development environment that's safe for testing coding experiments outside of the production infrastructure. The Cloud Playground is slated as a place where application developers can try out all kinds of things, from sample code to viewing how production APIs will behave, in a safe, controlled place without having to manage the testing environment, according to Google. The new Cloud Playground initially supports only Python 2.7 App Engine apps.


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