New Google Cloud Service Offers Online Data Storage at Offline Prices

Google's new Cloud Storage Nearline supports long-term storage and disaster recovery at affordable prices, the company says.

Google Cloud Storage 2

Google has made it more affordable for organizations to back up and store virtually limitless amounts of business data that is rarely used, but is too important to discard.

Unlike traditional offline storage services that businesses typically use for long-term data storage, Google’s new Cloud Storage Nearline allows companies to access and retrieve backed up data almost as quickly as they are able to store it. This makes the service as durable and available as standard storage, but at a lower cost, according to Google.

The company has positioned Nearline as ideal for storing infrequently accessed data, such as archive data stored for legal and regulatory reasons, and for backing up data for disaster recovery purposes. It says the service is appropriate in situations where slightly lower availability and slightly slower retrieval times are an acceptable trade-off for lower-costs.

It offers all the benefits of cold storage while making the data immediately available,” Google product manager Avtandil Garakanidze said in a blog post announcing the new service. Unlike offline storage options where it can take several hours to retrieve data, Nearline enables 3-second response times for data retrieval, Garakanidze said.

Capacity pricing is also low, starting at 1 cent per GB of data at rest, compared to 2.6 cents for standard storage and 2 cents for Google’s Durable Reduced Availability storage option, Google said.

Because Nearline is meant for storing infrequently accessed data, Google levies a data access fee of 1 cent per GB of data that is read from Nearline storage.

According to Google, businesses should expect a throughput of 4 MBs per second for every terabyte of data stored as Nearline Storage. The throughput increases with increased storage consumption. “For example, storing 3 TB of data would guarantee 12 MB/s of throughput, while storing 100 TB of data would provide users with 400 MB/s of throughput,” the company said.

Google said its Nearline Storage is fully integrated with Google’s other cloud storage services so businesses will not need to adopt new programming models or data manipulation methods to store or retrieve data from Nearline storage.

Google has also partnered with Veritas/Symantec, NetApp, Iron Mountain and Geminare to make it easier for customers of these vendors to use Nearline for long-term storage and disaster recovery purposes.

Symantec, for instance, will offer customers of its Netbackup service the option of using Google’s cloud storage as an alternative to tape for long-term data storage. By integrating with Nearline, Symantec said it would be able to continue to use NetBackup to monitor and manage information that is stored in the Google cloud.

In an analyst note on the new service, Gartner analyst Kyle Hilgendorf said Google’s Nearline would likely be seen as a close competitor to Amazon’s Glacier storage service.

“However, I think there are some fascinating differences with Nearline that will surface it as perhaps a more compelling backup/archival/retrieval service than Glacier,” in some situations, he noted. Those with very specific backup, archiving, DR or static content hosting requirements, for instance may find Nearline more appealing than Glacier because of its pricing structure and faster retrieval speeds.

It also appears to be easier to move content back and forth between Nearline and other Google storage services, compared to moving data between Glacier and other Amazon Web Services Storage options. This is because of the slower retrieval times and the costs associated with data retrieval on the Amazon platform, Hilgendorf said.

Furthermore, some AWS customers could end up choosing Nearline as a hedge in a multi-provider storage strategy, he said.

At the same time, Hilgendorf said he does not expect to see Nearline trigger any mass migrations off the Amazon platform. For existing customers of Google’s storage services, Nearline is a great addition, he said. “For AWS customers, it’s probably not differentiating enough to warrant a big migration.”

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.