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Google Cloud Storage: Product Overview and Insight

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Bottom Line:

Although generally thought of as running behind AWS and Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) earns a spot in the "top three" with these other leaders. As such, it offers a robust cloud storage platform with high potential in the years ahead.

Impressively, Google Cloud has consistently higher availability and markedly better network performance when compared to its main competitors for its multi-regional object storage service. For businesses that rely on fast access to data, this is critically important. 

Furthermore, Google is given high marks for its single, consistent API, reliable performance and overall simplicity -- all traits that matter to busy storage administrators. It tends to follow the other leaders in cloud pricing moves.

However, Google is behind AWS and Azure in terms of partnerships with storage vendors, and the delivery of a hybrid cloud infrastructure platform, cloud storage gateways and edge-optimized compute.

Google's deepest strength is in data analytics. If your business needs to tap AI or Big Data along with storage, Google may be the top choice.

Company Description:

Google is a U.S. provider of Internet, advertising, search and cloud computing services. It entered the public cloud storage market in 2010. It is publicly traded. Google Cloud Storage customers include CloudBerry, Cosentry, DNAstack, Ubisoft, VendAsta, Webydo, and Zulily.

Service Description:

The Google Cloud Platform offers object storage for different needs and price points, block storage for VMs, file storage for applications that need a shared filesystem, as well as managed MySQL and NoSQL databases, and archival storage.

Specific Google storage services include Persistent Disk (block), Google Cloud Storage (GCS; object) and Transfer Appliance (data transport).

Locations:

Google offers storage services from multiple locations in the U.S. and has a presence in Belgium, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and the U.K.

Over the past year or two, GCP added Montreal, the Netherlands, Los Angeles, Mumbai, São Paulo, Frankfurt, Sydney, London and Northern Virginia regions. It is available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin and Thai.

Storage Type:

File, block and object.

Differentiator:

Google Cloud Storage features a consistent API. Also, its Persistent Disk service provides SSD and HDD storage, which can be attached to instances running in either Google Compute Engine or Google Kubernetes Engine. Storage volumes can be transparently resized (up to 64TB).

Implementation:

Google provides several quickstarts, which are short tutorials to get you up and running fast. Unlike, say, AWS, whose backend can be complex, Cloud Storage can be launched as easily as this:

• For all Google Cloud Platform services you select or create a project which has billing enabled.

• Open the Cloud Storage browser in the Google Cloud Platform Console.

• Click Create bucket.

• Enter a unique Name for your bucket.

• Do not include sensitive information in the bucket name, because the bucket namespace is global and publicly visible.

• Choose your Storage class.

• Choose a Location.

• Click Create. And that’s it.

Google's common set of APIs across all object storage offerings enables easier application development and easier migration of data across storage tiers and hybrid cloud storage integration.

“Implementation has been easy, but it requires bringing devOps know-how into the company,” said a CIO in manufacturing.

Data Transfer:

Google Cloud has multiple options for customers to transfer data efficiently. They include offline, online, and transfer services optimized for movement between clouds (AWS to GCP) and movement from SaaS applications into Google Cloud Bigquery for analysis.

Performance:

With Google Cloud Persistent Disk, you can get 25,000 IOPS per volume. Millisecond access is provided for all data regardless of storage class (hot, cool or archival).

Availability/SLA:

Availability as high as 99.95% is available, depending on the type of storage. Durability is offered at 99.999999999%.

Technical Support:

All Google storage customers get basic support for free. You can upgrade to premium support packages, which grant 1:1 access to a team of engineers. Support is available in English and Japanese. Documentation is available only in English.

Security:

All data in Cloud Storage is encrypted by default.

Storage Management:

Google Cloud offers several administration and management features. Stackdriver monitors Cloud Storage usage. Object Lifecycle Management supports common use cases like setting a Time to Live (TTL) for objects, archiving older versions of objects, or downgrading storage classes of objects to help manage costs.

Markets and User Cases:

Use cases vary, but clearly include: 

  • Media content storage and delivery.
  • A repository for analytics data.
  • Longer term archive.

Google's cloud storage offerings are often used for cloud-native-oriented use cases, in addition to traditional enterprise workloads. Persistent Disk (block storage) is used for high-performing transactional databases, genomics analysis and media processing.

Pricing:

Capacity pricing for the U.S. starts at $0.026 per GB. Pricing for data transfer and/or number of requests is no higher than 12 cents per GB.

Vendor

Google

Locations

U.S, Belgium, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, UK

Storage Type

File, block, object

Differentiator

Consistent API

Performance

25k IOPS per volume

Availability

99.95%

Gartner MQ Rating

Leader

Pricing

Starts at $0.026 per GB. Data transfer up to 12 cents per GB.

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