Google plays its IaaS hand with Compute Engine general release

Among the hive of activity at Google I/O, one of the search giant’s more interesting announcements has come in the form of a general preview release of Google Compute Engine (GCE), giving developers increased access to Google infrastructure.

Google’s latest push is a further move into the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) space, and culminates in the Silicon Valley company finding itself jockeying for position in a three horse race alongside Amazon and Microsoft.

Last month Microsoft ramped up its IaaS portfolio with the release of Infrastructure Services, enabling Windows Azure customers to migrate apps into the cloud, pricing it in direct competition with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Amazon, in comparison, announced later that week that its S3 cloud had broken the two trillion object mark – in other words, 20 objects for every person ever born on planet Earth.

So Google’s announcement was hotly anticipated. Yet anyone expecting a revolutionary piece of software to be unveiled at I/O would have been in for a disappointment – it’s what’s under the surface which makes for more interesting reading.

Google Cloud Platform, as well as the Compute Engine, was announced at last year’s jamboree; however, back then it was only to carefully chosen enterprises for beta testing.

Now, GCE is available to all on preview.

“We’re now announcing several new capabilities that make it easier and more economical to use Compute Engine for a broader set of applications,” Google product manager Navneet Joneja wrote in a blog post.

The new GCE’s primary features include sub-hour billing, in one minute increments with a minimum of 10 minutes, whereby users with especially short workloads don’t have to pay by the hour; as well as new core instance types, ensuring companies in theory won’t have to pay over the odds for short workloads.

Elsewhere, GCE conforms to the international standard for managing information security with the ISO 27001 certification, as well as having larger Persistent Disks, enabling up to 10tb of storage on the Compute Engine virtual machines.

But what does the industry make of this? Alex Williams, writing for Tech Crunch, opined that whilst Google’s cloud is not as rounded an IaaS solution as Amazon, nor has deep-down integration on the level of Microsoft, the network is the search giant’s key strength – delivering ultra-quick response times between data centres.

Google’s announcements at I/O – as head of Android Sundar Pichai pointed out – have primarily been developer-centric, including new APIs and design for Google Maps, as well as new dev tools for Android Studio.

And it’s developers who stand to benefit from the general release of GCE. With access to the computing infrastructure, Google will hope to attract developers with its rich data supply and tools for its back-end to help the company going forward.

But what do you think? How is the latest Google release shaping up with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft?

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