Google Flexes Enterprise Cloud Muscle With Live Migration, Windows Support

Google is going hard after VMware, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services by slashing pricing for its cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service, but it's also touting high-end features to get the attention of enterprises.

At an event Tuesday in downtown San Francisco, Google started off with a demo of live migration, a feature it talked about in December when it opened Compute Engine IaaS for general availability.

Live migration makes it possible to move running virtual machines from one physical server to another without shutting down, which is useful for upgrades and maintenance. VMware introduced live migration in 2003 and Microsoft has had it since 2009, and the vendors often squabble about whose technology is better.

[Related: Cloud Wake-Up Call: Google Takes Aim At Amazon With Price Cuts, Volume Discounts ]

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AWS does not support live migration, and it's possible Google chose to kick off its cloud event by showing off a feature one of its main market rivals doesn't offer.

Google also is expanding the scope of compatibility for Compute Engine, adding support for SUSE Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux and enabling one-click deployment of VMs on these operating systems. And although it's still in preview mode, Compute Engine now supports Windows Server for the first time, Greg DeMichillie, director of product management for Google Cloud Platform, said at the event.

DeMichillie also unveiled a new "cloud DNS-as-a-service that's integrated into the Google console, which lets developers handle network infrastructure management and DNS in one place, uniting tasks that previously were done through separate interfaces.

Another new addition to Google's cloud is managed VMs, which are virtual machines that run on Compute Engine but are managed on the customer's behalf like with App Engine. This means developers can start out with App Engine, and if they want to use an open-source package Google doesn’t support, they can take part of that app and replace it with a VM, DeMichillie said.

Google also is giving a major boost to the data processing speed of BigQuery, its cloud-based tool for analyzing large data sets. BigQuery, which comes from technology Google created years ago to go through the log files of its massive Web servers, now supports real-time data streaming of 100,000 rows per second, said DeMichillie.