Google Touts Pricing, Security, App Services In Pitch To Cloud Developers

Google is trailing Amazon Web Services and Microsoft in the public cloud market, but its vast experience in developing global-scale services is an advantage none of its competitors can match.

That's the main theme from a Google event held in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday, where its executives highlighted the low pricing and sophisticated development tools available on its public cloud, called the Google Cloud Platform.

Google has deep experience in creating technologies to run services at global scale, including search, YouTube and Google Apps. Now they're available to developers in the Google Cloud Platform, said Carl Schachter, vice president of cloud platform and Google For Work, in a keynote at the event.

[Related: Google Hires Former Red Hat CTO Stevens As VP Of Cloud Platforms]

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"We set out to build a better cloud for us, and we're now giving it to you," said Schachter.

Google was using Linux containers long before they became a popular way to deploy apps and move them easily between clouds. Google is now deploying containers at a rate of 2 billion every week, Brian Stevens, Google's vice president of cloud platforms, said in the keynote.

Containers are important to Google because they make it possible to separate workloads from the underlying infrastructure, so they can be deployed on clusters anywhere in the world, said Stevens.

Stevens said part of the reason he joined Google was because he's "always been a big believer" in public cloud, especially because it lets smaller companies focus less on IT and more on developing their businesses.

"Startups don't need to buy servers," Stevens said in the keynote. "Deploying servers is going to be a thing of nostalgia down the road."

Security is another big area of focus for Google's cloud business. Stevens said Google is working on getting approval from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), which certifies security of cloud services for use in U.S. government agencies.

Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, VMware, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and have also received FedRAMP authorization.

"It used to be that people didn't move to the cloud because of cost and security concerns," Stevens said. "But you'll soon see security become the number one reason why people move to the cloud."

Simon Margolis, cloud platform lead at SADA Systems, a Los Angeles-based Google partner, told CRN he thinks the search giant actually has the inside track on AWS and Microsoft because of its vast experience in building scalable services.

"Since Google has been using containerization, big data analytics and scalable computing internally for over a decade, it makes sense for them to be on the bleeding edge of exposing these capabilities to the public as a public cloud platform," Margolissaid.

"Google has always been developer-first, offering cloud for their internal resources for decades, and are now simply exposing these to the public and allowing them to be better leveraged by the public at large," added Margolis.

Meanwhile, Google has joined AWS and Microsoft in a cloud price war in which all three vendors have heartily participated. Schachter said one reason Google can keep cutting prices is because it designs its own servers, which makes its data centers run more efficiently.

Google has introduced sustained use discounts, where pricing goes down the longer a customer uses a service, as well as per-minute billing, which ensures that customers are paying only for what they use. These models -- which Google's rivals don't offer -- also represent a competitive advantage, said Schachter.

"The economics of the cloud are just as important as the flexibility it provides," Schachter said.