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Google challenges Amazon with Cloud Platform price cuts

Suse and Red Hat Linux also join as guest OSes
Wed Mar 26 2014, 09:05
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GOOGLE HAS RELEASED a wave of updates to its Cloud Platform, including major price cuts to compete with Amazon and other cloud rivals.

Google's Cloud Platform changes include reductions in on-demand pricing of between 30 and 85 percent and a new approach that blurs the distinction between infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).

The updates were unveiled at the internet giant's Google Cloud Platform Live event, where Google detailed changes to its cloud computing services including a simplified pricing structure, cloud-based Devops tooling, Managed Virtual Machines for App Engine and real-time Big Data analytics with Google Bigquery.

Google announced that it is reducing the cost of its Compute Engine virtual machine service by 32 percent across all regions and classes. The Cloud Storage service will be fixed at a consistent price, set at 2.6 cents per gigabyte in the US, while Google Bigquery analytics pricing is being reduced by 85 percent. It said that it has also simplified App Engine PaaS pricing, with reductions in database and front-end compute instance prices.

"Cloud prices have dropped six to eight percent annually since 2006, which is nice, but hardware costs have dropped by 20 to 30 percent per year over the same period, because it is following Moore's Law. We don't think this gap should exist, so today, we're taking a big step to bring the two closer together, and they will get even closer in future" said Urs Hölzle, Google SVP for Technical Infrastructure.

Google also introduced sustained use discounts that reward users for long-term use of cloud resources, without the need to pay up front for a reserved instance.

"You start off with the new low rates, but once you use a VM for more than 25 percent of the month, your price starts dropping so each additional minute becomes cheaper," Hölzle said.

Taken together, the two moves mean Google is aggressively pricing access to its Cloud Platform resources against rivals such as Amazon Web Services, which regularly cuts prices as economies of scale enable it to do so.

Furthermore, Google also announced support for Suse Linux Enterprise and Red Hat Enterprise Linux as guest operating systems, plus preview support for Windows Server 2008 R2, enabling enterprises to run business workloads on Google Cloud.

Another innovation is Managed Virtual Machines, which blurs the distinction between IaaS and PaaS, which means developers do not have to choose between the two approaches, according to Google product management director Greg DeMichillie.

"Do I use a service like Compute Engine, which gives me total flexibility at the cost of me having to do management and scaling myself, or Appengine, which frees me from all that, but only lets you use certain languages? We think this is another false dichotomy," he said.

"From today, you can start developing with Appengine, and if you hit a point where there is a language or application you can't use, you can simply replace it with an equivalent virtual machine without giving up any of the Appengine benefits."

Google also added Cloud DNS, which enables customers to manage both their DNS infrastructure and virtual networking configuration from a single control point, the Google Console.

Finally, Google announced its Bigquery analytics service enables users to ingest up to 100,000 records per second per table with near-instant updates using Bigquery Streaming. The service itself lets users run interactive SQL queries against datasets of any size in seconds, Google said.

Google also provided further breakdown of the updates in a blog post as the battle for the cloud market - which also saw Cisco commit to a $1bn spend to bolster its presence in this area - continues to heat up. µ


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