Google Cloud Platform Gaining Data Storage Momentum

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To the uninformed, the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) seem like a third wheel to that hot couple, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. But anyone believing that had better think again. GCP has been steadily gaining in functionality and popularity.

The company has been working diligently on the development front to increase the breadth of its offerings. Google Cloud Storage offers unified object storage for developers and enterprises, from live data serving to data analytics and machine learning to data archiving. For example, its Coldline storage is for data your business expects to touch less than once a year. Nearline storage, on the other hand, is for data you expect to access perhaps a few times throughout the year. Both options are available with sub-second access speeds.

To make cloud migration easier, Transfer Appliance is a rackable high-capacity storage server that you fill up with data and then ship it to Google. That gets data into GCP orders of magnitude faster than over a typical network. Take the case of 10 PB of data to be transferred over 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps lines. Transfer over the web could take many years.

“Google has been getting more attention lately in part due to there now being many vendors leveraging the newer capabilities of Google as an alternative to OpenStack, Azure and AWS,” said Greg Schulz, an analyst at StorageIO Group. “Some environments may find Google easier to integrate and work with.”

He noted the impressive array of storage partners for GCP. They include backup and archival solution providers such as Veritas, Actifio and Cohesity; primary storage providers NetApp, Quantum and Zadara; storage gateway solutions such as Avere, Panzura and Komprise for those adopting hybrid storage architectures; and hyperconverged and software-defined storage vendors such as Nutanix.

“Storage remains a critical component for every company in the digital age and our partners provide a full range of services,” said Chris Talbott, head of cloud storage product marketing at Google. “Our storage portfolio is deeply integrated across all of the Google Cloud Platform.”

Avere’s hybrid cloud platform, for example, integrates NAS architectures with the Google Compute Engine and Google Cloud Storage. Data files move rapidly between existing on-premises data stores and Google Cloud Storage. Local storage and cloud-based storage also become available to Google Compute Engine instances for cloud bursting.

In addition, its FXT Edge Series Filers work with GCP to provide low latency and an object-based interface. They can store data and run applications on premises or in the cloud. Avere FlashCloud integrates Google Cloud Storage with legacy NAS filers into a global namespace.

“To minimize latency and improve performance, Avere dynamically moves active data to the FXT Edge Filers nearest to the users and application servers, whether located on premises or on the Google Compute Engine, and less active data can be efficiently kept in Google Cloud Storage,” said Scott Jeschonek, director of cloud solutions at Avere Systems. “GCP offers scaling of compute for demanding applications and storing large amounts of unstructured data. Avere provides technology to integrate that compute and storage with existing on-premises resources to provide an easy transition to the Google Cloud Platform.”

Datos IO (acquired by Rubrik) partners on the data protection side. Datos IO RecoverX enables backup and recovery of non-relational databases such as Apache Cassandra, DataStax Enterprise and MongoDB. Data can be recovered in minutes with a reduction in secondary storage costs.

Cloudian HyperStore and GCP work together on rarely used data. Cloudian on-premises storage integrates with Google’s archival service to provide a path to long-term storage. Policy-based migration lets you move files based on age, frequency of access and file type to Google Coldline.

“Enterprise customers need simple, low-cost and easy-to-manage options for their ever-mounting volumes of unstructured data,” said Michael Tso, CEO and co-founder, Cloudian. “With Coldline compatibility, our customers can access a single pool of data that spans on-premises storage and the Google Cloud Storage Coldline archive, while retaining the metadata on-premises for easy data discoverability.”

Nutanix has a new partnership with Google to create a unified hybrid cloud. Nutanix Calm is an orchestration layer for moving applications between different cloud environments. It’s built on the technology Nutanix acquired when they purchased Joint customers can deploy both cloud-based and traditional enterprise applications as a unified public cloud service, while blending the Nutanix environment with GCP. Features include one-click hybrid operations with Nutanix Calm for GCP (enabling a single control plane for managing applications between GCP and Nutanix cloud environments) and Nutanix Xi Cloud Services on GCP (enabling Nutanix customers to natively extend their data center environment into GCP).

“Hybrid Cloud needs be a two-way street,” said Sudheesh Nair, president, Nutanix. “The strategic alliance with Google helps to simplify operations for our customers with a single enterprise cloud OS across both private and public clouds.”

Rackspace and Google Cloud are collaborating on managed services that will offer GCP users added cloud architecture support, onboarding and data migration expertise, as well as operational support on application performance.

“The momentum around GCP is building, and as businesses move workloads to this platform, they’re looking for a partner to help with that journey,” said Patrick Lee, general manager of the Google business at Rackspace.

Cohesity delivers a hyperconverged secondary storage system for enterprise data. The basic concept is to consolidate fragmented islands of secondary storage into one platform that can run on-premises and in the public cloud. Cohesity CloudArchive supports integration with Google Cloud Storage, allowing you choose from Standard, Nearline or Coldline buckets to manage costs based on how frequently you intend to access archives.

“You can leverage Google Cloud Storage as an extension of your on-premises infrastructure, with CloudArchive to copy older local snapshots to GCP for long-term retention, CloudTier to move seldom-accessed data into GCP or CloudReplicate to create a DR copy in GCP,” said Patrick Rogers, head of marketing and product, Cohesity. “GCS provides the cloud storage that Cohesity connects using the REST APIs provided by Google.”

NetApp, too, is working closely with GCP to help enterprises move to the hybrid cloud. For example, NetApp AltaVault provides secure multi-cloud backup leveraging Google Cloud Storage for backup.

“With this partnership, NetApp is helping organizations design and implement an effective hybrid cloud strategy by identifying which applications and workloads belong in the cloud,” said Michael Elliott, cloud advocate, NetApp. “NetApp offers organizations deploying Google Cloud Platform the ability to manage and freely move their data consistently across storage environments to simplify IT delivery, minimize costs, and respond to changing business requirements.”

Finally, MapR has recently formed a GCP partnership. According to Jack Norris, senior vice president of data and applications at MapR, Google provides organizations a price performant, scalable and flexible infrastructure. On top of that, MapR Converged Data Platform combines analytical insights on Google Cloud Platform.

“Our software platform converges essential data management and application processing technologies to support the real-time processing of a variety of files, documents, images, database tables and data streams,” said Norris. “GCP is a tremendous infrastructure option for organizations to leverage.”

What this all adds up to is that Google has unleashed a torrent of cloud storage upgrades and partnerships that have propelled it back into the limelight. It is clear that it will continue to be a major competitor to AWS and Azure.

“We continue to see rising adoption of GCP globally,” said Michelle Bailey, an analyst at 451 Research.

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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