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Google’s Compute Engine: Now Opening its Doors for Outside Users

December 3, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

It has been no secret that Google was jealous of Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) and vowed to be a major competitor – OK, you know Google, they want to take over top spot, and even though they deemed their own Google Compute Engine (GCE) infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) as “generally available,” they still have a ways to go before they topple AWS.

It was eighteen months ago, at its I/O Conference, that Google originally announced its service, but Google wanted to test and retest to make sure it was ready for primetime. After all, it is one thing to manipulate your own data, but it is something altogether different handling transactions for other companies on a consistent basis. Monday’s announcement does come with several of new features that Google explains:

Scale, Performance, and Value – Refined over the years for scale and efficiency so that the users can get excellent value for their money, with unparalleled performance…only pay for what you use.

Flexibility and Open Environment – Launch Linux machines with a variety of configurations and use the built-in, Layer 3 Load Balancing service to distribute the workloads across many virtual machines (VM). You can also manage workloads using additional solutions from their ecosystem of partners such as, RightScale, OpsCode, and Puppet Labs.

Predictable Performance – Benefit from a system built from the ground up, that is consistently fast and dependable core technologies to store and host your data.

Strong Security – Use the many built-in data privacy and security capabilities to prevent unwanted access…data is encrypted on local ephemeral and persistent disks.

Environmental Impact – GCE is 50-percent more efficient than a traditional data center and is the first major internet services company to receive external certification for their standards, as they try to power their company with renewable energy.

Although, even with all of its new features, blazing fast speed, and extremely competitive pricing, GCE is still nowhere near comparable to the Amazon Web Services in terms of capabilities and services.  However, Gartner Analyst, Lydia Leong wrote a post about the feature gap in the two services and she believes Google will ultimately close the gap. She goes on to say that not only does Google have to compete with AWS, but also with Microsoft Windows Azure, which is up and coming and already has their established business relationships, although Google’s competitive issues are unlikely to be with technology.  She states:

“…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.”

It should be interesting to see just how long it takes Google’s GCE to grow and compete with Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure – my money will be on Google finding a way to make it work.