Google Enters IaaS Market

Last week I was teaching Learning Tree’s Introduction to Cloud Computing course in Schaumburg, Illinois. During the course we spent some time talking about the differences between PaaS and IaaS. We feature Google App Engine as a representative example of a PaaS and Amazon EC2 as an example IaaS. It looks like going forward we will need to talk about Google in the context of IaaS as well!

On June 28th Google announced the launch of Google Compute Engine. As an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering this product will compete head-to-head with the likes of Amazon EC2, Rackspace and others. Industry pundits and analysts alike are digesting the implications that this new cloud choice will have on consumers of cloud services.

At present the Compute Engine IaaS appears to be more limited than some others. For example it only supports Linux instances at this point. Whether or not GCE ever supports Windows will remain to be seen. Support for Linux is also limited. Currently only CentOS and Ubuntu images are offered.

That said the GCE seems to be very similar to what other IaaS vendors offer:

  1. Compute services – launch virtual machine instances on demand. VMs can be 1, 2, 4 or 8 cores with 3.75 GB RAM per core.
  2. Storage services – persistent block storage devices that can be attached to instances.
  3. Virtual networking – managed connectivity with configurable firewall rules.
  4. Multiple ways to work with the service – including an API, scriptable command-line tools and a browser-based console.

Google has been doing a lot of work lately on Big Data and they are certainly known for their search engine. These capabilities will no doubt continue to be incorporated into the suite of services Google offers in the cloud. It also appears that Google will attempt to compete on price by offering similar compute power at slightly lower prices than Amazon EC2. It will be interesting to see if this competition results in lower prices from Amazon.

Currently Google Compute Engine is being offered in a limited edition preview mode. I have signed up for access and hope to have more to report on this new cloud service very soon!

Kevin Kell

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