Google Cloud Platform: A cheat sheet

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This complete information covers the historical past of Google Cloud Platform, the services and products GCP provides, and the place it matches within the total cloud market.

Google Cloud Platform in lower than two minutes
Wish to know what the Google Cloud Platform excels at? Here is a glance in below two minutes.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a portfolio of cloud computing providers that grew across the preliminary Google App Engine framework for internet hosting internet functions from Google’s information facilities. Because the launch of Google App Engine in 2008, GCP has grown into one of many premier cloud computing platforms available on the market, although it nonetheless trails Amazon Internet Companies (AWS) and Microsoft Azure when it comes to market share. That mentioned, Google continues to carry its personal within the cloud wars and continues to make investments in GCP to make it aggressive with different public cloud suppliers, and extra engaging to large prospects.

To assist CXOs, IT leaders, operations directors, and builders higher perceive Google’s position as a cloud supplier, we have put collectively crucial particulars and assets on this cheat sheet. It is a “residing” article that will likely be up to date and refreshed as new, related data turns into public. (Editor’s word: This text was first printed in April 2016, and it was most just lately up to date by James Sanders in April 2019.)

SEE: Google Cloud Platform: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Executive summary (TL;DR)

  • What is Google Cloud Platform? Google Cloud Platform, as the name implies, is a cloud computing platform that provides infrastructure tools and services for users to build applications and services on top of.
  • Why does Google Cloud Platform matter? Google Cloud Platform is regarded as the third biggest cloud provider in terms of revenue behind AWS in first place and Microsoft Azure in second.
  • Who does Google Cloud Platform affect? Any organization in need of cloud computing should consider Google Cloud Platform for their needs—especially SMBs, which the platform was initially geared toward.
  • When was Google Cloud Platform announced? Google announced its first cloud tool, Google App Engine, back in 2008, and it continued to add more tools and services until they collectively became known as the Google Cloud Platform later on.
  • How can I use Google Cloud Platform? Google has provided documentation for getting started and a frequently asked questions page for developers and IT leaders to investigate the platform.

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides

What is Google Cloud Platform?

To capture the growing interest in web applications, Google App Engine was launched in April 2008 as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) resource allowing developers to build and host apps on Google’s infrastructure. App Engine came out of preview in September 2011, and the Google Cloud Platform name was formally adopted in 2013.

Since the introduction of Google App Engine, the company subsequently released a variety of complementary tools, such as its data storage layer, and its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) component known as the Google Compute Engine, which supports the use of virtual machines. After growing as an IaaS provider, Google added additional products including a load balancer, DNS, monitoring tools, and data analysis services, bringing GCP closer to feature parity with AWS and Azure, making it better able to compete in the cloud market.

SEE: Interview questions: Cloud engineer (Tech Pro Research)

Google Cloud Platform products span the following categories:

  1. Artificial intelligence & machine learning: AI Hub (alpha), Cloud AutoML (beta), Cloud TPU, Cloud Machine Learning Engine, Diagflow Enterprise Edition, Cloud Natural Language, Cloud Speech-to-Text, Cloud Text-to-Speech, Cloud Translation, Cloud Vision, Cloud Video Intelligence, Cloud Inference API (alpha), and more
  2. API management: API Analytics, API Monetization, Cloud Endpoints, Developer Portal, Cloud Healthcare API
  3. Cloud Services Platform: Google Kubernetes Engine, GKE On-Prem (beta), Istio on GKE (beta), CSP Config Management (beta), Serverless, Stackdriver, and more
  4. Compute: Compute Engine, Shielded VMs (beta), Container security, App Engine, Cloud Functions, GPU, and more
  5. Data analytics: BigQuery, Cloud Dataflow, Cloud Dataproc, Cloud Datalab, Cloud Dataprep, Cloud Composer, and more
  6. Databases: Cloud SQL, Cloud Bigtable, Cloud Spanner, Cloud Datastore, Cloud Memorystore
  7. Developer tools: Cloud SDK, Container Registry, Cloud Build, Cloud Source Repositories, Cloud Tasks, and more, as well as Cloud Tools for IntelliJ, PowerShell, Visual Studio, and Eclipse
  8. Internet of Things (IoT): Cloud IoT Core, Cloud IoT Edge (alpha), Edge TPU (early access)
  9. Management Tools: Stackdriver, Monitoring, Trace, Logging, Debugger, Cloud Console, and more
  10. Media: Anvato, Zync Render
  11. Migration: Cloud Data Transfer, Transfer Appliance, BigQuery Data Transfer Service, Velostrata, VM Migration, and more
  12. Networking: Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Cloud Load Balancing, Cloud Armor, Cloud CDN, Cloud NAT, Cloud Interconnect, Cloud VPN, Cloud DNS, Network Service Tiers, Network Telemetry
  13. Security: Access Transparency, Cloud Identity, Cloud Data Loss Prevention, Cloud Key Management Service, Cloud Security Scanner, and more
  14. Storage: Cloud Storage, Persistent Disk, Cloud Filestore, and more

Google provides other cloud services, which are not strictly part of Cloud Platform. G Suite, a collection of productivity and collaboration apps, competed with Microsoft Office 365. Firebase is a mobile and web application development platform. Google Maps Platform is a collection of mapping services for integration into other products such as ridesharing apps and Pokémon Go. Google Cloud Identity is an identity management service, similar to Okta. Apigee provides API management across cloud providers, and Orbitera manages multi-cloud billing and cost management.

SEE: Cloud providers 2019: A buyer’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Google Cloud Platform is primarily a public cloud provider. Google does offer some on-premise solutions, such as GKE On-Prem. Google does have partnerships with hardware manufacturers and private cloud solutions providers to help users build out hybrid cloud deployment. Though the cloud price wars have cooled over the last few years, Google follows its own pricing pattern and routinely boasts that it offers the lowest cost of the top three providers. However, Google really differentiates itself in its services.

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Why does Google Cloud Platform matter?

Whether or not Google Cloud Platform will matter to your organization depends on the type of tools and functionality workloads in your organization, which need to operate efficiently.

Google Cloud Platform offers the same core data storage and virtual machine functionality of AWS and Azure, or any other cloud provider. Google’s strength lies in big data processing tools, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning initiatives, and container support.

Google’s BigQuery and Dataflow bring strong analytics and processing capabilities for companies that work heavily with data, while Google’s Kubernetes container technology allows for container cluster management and eases container deployment. Google’s Cloud Machine Learning Engine and various machine learning APIs make it easier for businesses to leverage AI in the cloud.

Google is a company that thrives on the collection and subsequent leveraging of data. Whether that is user data, machine data, or geographic data is irrelevant—if an enterprise wants to experiment with data, Google Cloud Platform may be a good option as a cloud provider.

Google is also rapidly developing serverless computing infrastructure to stay competitive against competing serverless platforms such as AWS Lambda. Google Cloud Platform boasts serverless solutions across app development, analytics, and more. It also has an integration with Elastic Cloud to support open source search and analytics.

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Who does Google Cloud Platform affect?

As with many of Google’s innovations, the set of tools that Google Cloud Platform comprises were originally internal tools built for internal use. This eventually proved problematic. Google originally targeted cloud services for startups and SMBs, offering up to $100,000 of Cloud Platform and Firebase credits to startups. However, limited uptake prompted Google to make GCP more adaptable for diverse use cases.

At the outset, Google expected users to build apps the same way Google did, though this philosophy is counter to the way enterprise app development tends to occur. In 2016, Google pivoted, admitting this was the wrong approach, with then-Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt stating that “We decided to meet you where you are, as opposed to where we think you should be.”

Google subsequently added more utilities to ease the transition to Cloud Platform, making the platform more accessible to businesses of any size looking to decommission some or all of their data centers.

It seems that large corporations are paying attention. In 2016, Google added big names to its Cloud Platform roster, including Disney, Coca-Cola, Spotify, Apple, Colgate-Palmolive, and Home Depot, among others, proving that it can cater to the needs of major players. In 2018, Twitter announced its adoption of Google Cloud Platform, migrating 300 petabytes of data to the platform.

Many of these companies also use other platforms such as AWS or Azure, which means that GCP could also act as a complementary provider for existing AWS or Azure customers who need additional capabilities or flexibility.

Since it is a platform on which applications are built and hosted, the choice of a cloud provider also affects developers. For developers, Google Cloud Platform supports Go, Node.js, Python, Ruby, PHP, .NET, and Java. Developers should make sure they are involved in any conversations about selecting a cloud provider to ensure it is a platform that they, and their team, are comfortable working in.

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When was Google Cloud Platform announced?

As mentioned, Google’s first foray into cloud services was the Google App Engine back in 2008. Two years later, Google announced that it was adding a storage layer and, in 2012, the company began its partner program for the platform. Then came BigQuery, the Compute Engine, Cloud SQL, and the rest of the tools that make up today’s Google Cloud Platform.

However, like all providers, Google constantly adds new tools and features in preview, alpha, or beta, which will likely make it to the general public.

Some of the latest products added to Google Cloud Platform are Cloud Inference API, allowing developers to run large-scale correlations over datasets, Shielded VMs, Cloud Tasks, Cloud IoT Edge, Cloud AutoML, and the AI Hub, allowing developers to share and deploy AI technologies on Google Cloud.

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How can I use Google Cloud Platform?

Since Google Cloud Platform is a publicly-available product, it’s not very difficult to acquire its services. The bigger issue is two-fold: Deciding whether or not the platform is the best option for your business, and planning your migration.

To effectively compare Google Cloud Platform against the other options out there, you need to do your research. If you are looking at comparing it against AWS and Microsoft Azure, try starting with our other smart person’s guides for AWS and Microsoft Azure, respectively. A list of other good cloud vendors can be found in this list of 15 of the top hybrid cloud vendors.

As your organization begins to plan its deployment, start by making a list of questions you have about the service and check them against the FAQ section on the Google Cloud Platform website. To understand the specifics of a GCP deployment, make sure you familiarize yourself with the proper documentation.

Google does offer a free tier for Cloud Platform, as well as a free 12-month trial with credit for organizations that may need to dip their toes in the water. Google offers free credits to select startups working with affiliated investors, incubators, or accelerators through the Google Cloud for Startups promotion. A tool for live migrations is also offered (simply titled Live Migration), which allows a virtual machine instance to keep running even during a host system event.

Additional tutorials and a quick start guide are available here.

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