Google Compute Engine: Google is officially in the game

Google officially gets in the battle for market share in the infrastrucuture-as-a-service (IaaS) area. What was only determined for a selected group of customers starting one year ago, the company from Mountain View has now made available for the general public as part of the Google I/O 2013. It’s about their cloud computing offering, Google Compute Engine (GCE).

News about the Google Compute Engine

With App Engine, BigQuery and Cloud Storage, Google has steadily expanded its cloud portfolio since 2008. What was missing was an infrastructure-as-a-service solution that can be used as needed to start virtual machines. The Google Compute Engine (GCE) released Google to its I/O 2012 in a closed beta, to use virtual machines (VM) with the Linux operating system on the Google infrastructure, which is also used by Gmail and other services.

Together with the Google I/O 2013, the GCE has now reached the general availability. Furthermore, Google has launched the Cloud Datastore, a by Google fully managed NoSQL database for non-relational data. Independent from the GCE the service provides automatic scalability, ACID transactions, and SQL-like queries and indexes. In addition, there is a limited preview of the PHP programming language for App Engine. With that Google wants to address developers and users of open source applications such as WordPress. Beyond that, the integration has been improved with other parts of the cloud platform such as Cloud SQL and Cloud Storage. Further, Google looks at the feedback of its users, that it should be possible to develop simple modularized applications on the App Engine. In response, it is now possible to partition applications into individual components. Each with its own scaling, deployment, versioning and performance setting.

More news

Other major announcements include more granular billing, new instance types as well as an ISO 27001 certification:

  • Granular billing: Each instance type is now billed per minute, where 10 minutes will be charged at least.
  • New instance types: There are new micro and small instance types that are meant to process smaller workloads inexpensive and require little processing power.
  • More space: The size of the “Persistent Disks”, which can be connected to a virtual instance have been extended up to 8.000 percent. This means that now a persistent disk can be attached with a size of up to 10 terabytes to a virtual machine within the Compute Engine.
  • Advanced routing: The Compute Engine now supports based on Google’s own SDN (Software Defined Network) opportunities for software-defined routing. With that instances can act as gateways and VPN server. In addition it can be use to develop applications so that they run in the own local network and in the Google cloud.
  • ISO 27001 certification: The Compute Engine, App Engine and Cloud Storage are fully certified with ISO 27001:2005.

Developer: Google vs. Amazon vs. Microsoft

First, the biggest announcement for the Google Compute Engine (GCE) is its general availability. In recent months, the GCE was held up by every news as THE Amazon killer, although it was still in a closed beta, and thus there was no comparison at eye level. The true time reckoning begins now.

Many promise from the GCE that Google creates a real competitor to Amazon Web Services. The fact is that the Google Compute Engine is an IaaS offering and Google due to its core business, have the expertise to build highly scalable infrastructures and to operate them highly available. The Google App Engine also shows that Google knows how to address developers, even if the market narrows here with increasingly attractive alternatives.

A lack of diversification

Having a look at the compute engine, we see instances, storage, and services for the storing and processing of structured and unstructured data (Big Query, SQL Cloud and Cloud Datastore). Whoever sees Google as THE Amazon killer from this point, should scale down its expectations once a little. Amazon has a very diversified portfolio of cloud services that enables to use the Amazon cloud infrastructure. Google needs to tie in with it, but this should not be too difficult, since many Google services are already available. A look at the services of Amazon AWS and the Google Cloud Platform is worthwhile for this reason.

Hybrid operation for applications

Google may not be underestimated in any case. On the contrary, from a first performance comparison between the Google and Amazon cloud, Google emerged as the winner. This lies inter alia in the technologies that Google is constantly improving, and on its global high-performance network. What is particularly striking, Google now offers the possibility to develop applications for a hybrid operation in the own data center and for the Google cloud. This is an unexpected step, since Google have been rather the motto “cloud only”. However, Google has been struggling lately with technical failures similar to Amazon, which does not contribute to the strengthening of trust in Google.

A potshot is the new pricing model. Instances are now charged per minute (at least 10 minutes of use). Amazon and Microsoft still charge their instances per hour. Whether the extension of the “Persistent Disks” up to 10 terabytes will contribute a diversification we will see. Amazon is also under developers regarded as the pioneer among IaaS providers, which will make it not easier for Google to gain market share in this segment. In addition, Google may assume that, next to ordinary users, developers also do not want to play Google’s “service on / off” games.

Amazon and Microsoft are already one step ahead

Where Google with its SaaS solution Google Apps massively tries to penetrate corporate customers for quite some time, the Compute Engine is aimed primarily at developers. Amazon and Microsoft have also begun in this customer segment, but long since begun to make their infrastructures respectively platforms attractive for enterprise customers. Here is still much work for Google, if this customer segment is to be developed, which is inevitably. However, in this area it is about much more than just technology, but about creating trust and to consider organizational issues (data protection, contracts, SLAs, etc.) as valuable.

Google’s problem: volatility

No doubt, Google is by far the most innovative company on our planet. But equally the most volatile and data hungriest. This also developers and especially companies both observed and should ask the question how future-proof the Google cloud portfolio is. If the compute engine is a success, don’t worry about it! But what if it is for Google(!) a non-seller. One remembers the Google Reader, whose user numbers were not sufficient enough for Google. In addition, the compute engine has another KPI, revenue! What does Google do when it’s no longer economic?


How future-proof is the Google cloud portfolio?

Google is known for “just” throw a new service on the market. That’s their corporate culture. It promotes creativity within the company and ensures innovation. But at the end of the day also Google must be clean up the playground. This resulted in numerous closures of famous and lesser-known services in the recent past. Latest victim is the popular Google Reader. It will be shut down at 1th of July 2013. This naturally raises the question of how vulnerable Google’s cloud services are for a portfolio adjustment. At least the finger on the close button seems to fit very loosely.

Longevity vs. popularity

Google scrubs its Google Reader as its popularity has fallen sharply in the past, Google said. That Google is apparently not quite right here, shows a recent petition against its closure. After all, 20,000+ subscribed against its closing.

Google sometimes gives me the impression that it is like a big kid. They find many things at once exciting (20 percent rule), play with it, investing time and then loses interest and pleasure, when the playmates apparently no longer want to play with it. The concentration phase is only with a few products really high. (From a entrepreneurial point of view correct.)

Companies do not like that

Google is currently making great efforts to broadly make it in the business environment. Regarding current providers such as Microsoft and IBM no easy task. Google’s trump card is that they are born in the cloud and know the rules inside out. Finally, they almost self-developed them.

Nevertheless, the question is permissible. Why should a business use Google cloud services, such as Google Apps or the Google Cloud Platform, if services that are apparently not used sufficiently well, to be suddenly closed? Even if Google has monetized above named cloud solutions now, this question retains its place. Because by the monetization of individual service suddenly gets a new KPI, the revenue!

Google may assume that enterprises will not be thrilled if they suddenly get an e-mail that the service they are using will be closed due to lower attractiveness and revenue figures in three months.

For enterprises, this type of product management is not attractive and Google must learn that enterprises need to be treated differently from private users. Even if the consumerization progresses.

Clean up the portfolio is good, but…

No question, it makes sense to clean up the portfolio steadily. It is also recommended for many other providers. However, these seem to act in the interests of their customers and offer their products and services on a long-term roadmap. However, it seems that the finger at the “service close button” at Google sits relatively loose.

I do not think companies will come together for a petition against the closure of Google services. Indeed, you always hear about “too big to fail”, but Google is not as big as all that.

Management @en

Google makes first serious steps into the enterprise

In a post on the Google Enterprise Blog, Google has announced support plans for its cloud platform solutions App Engine, Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL and BigQuery. Google says, they understand that Google Groups or StackOverflow does not always provide the right answers, and sometimes the support by phone is required. That’s right, Google!

Support plans for the Google Cloud Platform

Google divides its support in four categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with the following services:

  • Bronze
    Price: free
    Service: Access to the online documentation and forums, contact regarding questions about billing.
  • Silver
    Price: $150 per month
    Service: All benefits of Bronze. Plus: E-mail support regarding product features, best practices, and error messages.
  • Gold
    Price: from $400 per month
    Service: All benefits of Silver. Plus: 24×7 telephone support and consulting for application development and best practices and architecture support for a particular use case.
  • Platinum
    Price: Upon request.
    Service: All benefits of Gold. Plus: Very individual support. Direct access to a Technical Account Manager.


Google seems more and more to understand that the “old world” would be supported not only by boards and communities. In particular, enterprises expect a high quality and personal support. That Google also wants to make bigger steps into the business environment, I already had experienced personally. Following a request form to a Google Apps problem a few minutes later I received a call from a German Google employee who helped me out. That was a positive wow factor and a key experience. As a very early Google Apps user, I was used to times, where support pages were running on error pages and a telephone contact even to the United States was not possible.

Nevertheless, today Google is not on a par with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Windows Azure and is likely to be found at number three. Indeed Google, in addition to the two mentioned plus Salesforce, belongs to the current cloud players in the market, however, the portfolio of Google’s cloud platform compared to AWS and Azure is very thin. With App Engine, Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL, BigQuery, the Prediction API, and the Translation API at least seven encapsulated services are available, but which not nearly provide the scope of AWS. In addition, you should know that the Google Compute Engine is still in a closed beta and therefore not in active competition.

For Google I still see a problem of acceptance in terms of credibility and above all, the trust. In the core Google is and remains a search engine, which is financed by advertising. Therefore Google is not without a reason named as data kraken, what underpins numerous actions and decisions by Google’s executives even further. At this point Google must be much more open and show what happens to the data that companies but also ordinary users give in trust to Google.