Google Moves to Rival Amazon in Cloud Computing
Google is making its next move on the chessboard of cloud computing, and on the tails of the major outages of Amazon’s cloud-based services – due to worrisome internal bugs as well as lightning storms – they stand a chance at orchestrating a good, fierce rivalry with the online giant. Since Google recently announced their Kindle Fire-rivaling tablet, Nexus 7, at competitive prices, this is really throwing down the gauntlet.
How Google Stacks Up
The Google Compute Engine Infrastructure utilizes a cloud stack, meaning that a number of different services are offered via different venues for cloud-based computing: Google Apps, the Google App Engine, and Google Drive. While Amazon has focused on offering infrastructure, this approach to cloud computing emphasizes specific functions. They aren’t the only company doing this, of course – Microsoft’s Azure Cloud presents a similar menu of cloud-based services, as does Oracle, Vmware, etc. But Google hopes to take them off the board with old-fashioned elbow grease: they claim that the Google Compute Engine can simply outperform any of its rivals, based on the kind of technology that powers their search engine.
Amazon’s offered EC2 at commodity prices, but Google hopes to take them down with dollars as well. The claim from Google is that their Compute Engine Infrastructure will offer “50 percent more compute per dollar.” There’s no doubt that Amazon has benefited from being the only real player in the game for the past several years. Given this claim, the price of cloud computing is going to lower dramatically.
Google also has the advantage of its branding and resources. They’re a tech-based company – unlike Amazon, which is best known as selling everything from music to beach balls. Amazon has a head start, but Google has firepower.
Improving on Amazon
Suffice to say, Google is hoping to learn from the failures of Amazon’s EC2. They’d better. The latest outage of the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud took out Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest, and the outages have already cost Amazon customers. With new players in the game the standards for cloud computing are going to rise as quickly as prices drop.
But how does Google plan to avoid these failures? Their tech savvy, of course. They’re trying to design their cloud-based services so that they work as part of a global state (rather than being bound by region). To that end, they’re working on a new piece of technology called Spanner. Spanner is described as “a storage and computation center that spans all of our data centers.”
Advantages and Disadvantages
So how this cloud computing shakedown look so far? Amazon has a head start. And they do offer a lot: templates for cloud-based services, storage, databases, content delivery, and identity management.
Google’s promises are striking some as a little thin in comparison to Amazon’s offerings. They have integration with the highly popular Google Docs, but their Compute Engine Infrastructure doesn’t offer quite as much as EC2 yet. With Google’s history of innovation behind them, many have faith that they’ve yet to reveal all the plans up their sleeve. (There’s enough at stake here that Google, obviously, isn’t about to make this technology open source. Not yet, anyway.)
But there’s no question that however Google compares now, the appearance of rivals to Amazon is a game changer. We’ll see how things shape up in the next few months.