Google Cloud hosting is more of an IAAS service – Infrastructure As a Service. Google, the Silicon Valley massive conglomerate that we’ve all come to love and know also provides hosting services.
On a basic level, Google calls this Google Sites. It has been used by the educational and government sectors for a long time to create simple websites and even simpler intranets. At the moment, they are not trying to compete with other Web hosting platforms and providers. Instead, they are trying their hand in the IAAS industry.
Best Features of Google Cloud Hosting
Google’s main two competitors include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and RackSpace hosting. They are heavily influenced by Linux – particularly the Google variant of Linux. Yes – Google has its own Linux variant.
The Google Cloud platform has excellent performance. To test this, we had to compare a minimum of two different services. We used RackSpace in our test since RackSpace tends to outdo its competitors in terms of performance. In this case, Google Cloud outperformed RackSpace. When we tested Google Cloud against RackSpace, we were able to achieve the benchmarked numbers with one vCPU from the Google Cloud platform, while it took RackSpace two vCPUs to achieve the same numbers.
Bills in Minute-Level Increments
Google has a very sophisticated pricing calculator, and they even make their calculating algorithms public – right down to the bare JSON code. With all these algorithm going on, Google will bill you in minute level increments. They define a month as 720 minutes, and for benchmarking purposes, if you spent the entire month benchmarking, you would be billed for 720 minutes.
When you purchase their IAAS package, prices start at $6092 per year and begin with their eight-server Web app package.
Excellent Internal Data Center Networking
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Google’s networking standard is top-notch. When you set up your VMs, you can easily and quickly create virtual private networks. This includes public and private subnets to arrange your VMs. You’ll also get access to firewalls, gateways and routers. You’ll find that these are easy to set up – if you know the Linux command line. Navigating your way around the Google Cloud platform doesn’t require a background in IT. However, if you want to get the most from the service, it is most likely your best bet to have one.
Easy-to-use Big Data analysis with BigQuery
The target audience for the Google Cloud platform is not just power users. They use the command line interface to keep up with other competitors in the IAAS industry. This includes Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, RackSpace Managed Cloud and IBM/SoftLayer, who are all targeting people with IT administration experience – not just power users.
If you fall into this category, Google Cloud platform makes it easy to do everyday tasks such as assigning temporary IP addresses to reserve IP addresses.
Downsides of Google Cloud Hosting
There are some things that we found Google Cloud can do better. Here’s what we found.
Only Three Data Centers
Google Cloud only has three data centers – globally. They have one in Iowa in the United States, one in Belgium, Germany and one in Taiwan. No matter how well Google Cloud may do on their benchmarking tests, your website and your data will only go as fast as the weakest link. That’s basic physics. If I have a Blu-ray player hooked up to an HDTV through an RCA cable, I am not going to get high-definition delivered. Forcing the video through the RCA cable, a cable that cannot handle high-definition will make it so that my video will not play at high-definition. The weak link would be the RCA cable. To get HDTV from a Blu-ray player, I have to have a Blu-ray player, an HDMI cable and an HDTV. Every link has to be able to handle the bandwidth.
The same principle applies to the Internet. When Google Cloud only has three data centers, the very network the Internet is based on may slow down your website. Whoever your slowest link is between you and your resources determines the user experience.
I will say this for the Google Cloud platform. They have recently opened up a data center in South Carolina in the United States.
Fewer Software Options Than AWS
If you were to do a side-by-side comparison with Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud platform, you would find that the Google Cloud platform is severely lacking. Amazon Web Services offers far more options and service packages then the Google Cloud platform.
Not for the Novice
The Google Cloud platform is not for the novice. I’m mentioning this here because it is a potential negative and will turn people away – even though Google has done this intentionally. To compete with the biggest players in the IAAS playing field, you would get your best usage from the service if you have a background in IT administration.
When you compare the Google Cloud platform to all of its competitors, it ranks right about the same as Microsoft Azure. If the virtual machine of my choice were based on the Linux kernel, I would certainly choose the Google Cloud platform for its compatibility. Likewise, I would choose the Microsoft Azure platform if Windows was my VM of choice. Both are excellent services and rated side-by-side, the Google Cloud platform outranks Microsoft Azure.