Every system, every web page, and every application needs to be set up on a server – a piece of computer hardware that makes it possible to run services anywhere. Depending on the needs, companies go for different solutions: hosting, a virtual private server, an own physical server, or computing cloud services. In the case of the latter, we have a couple of options offered by tech giants to select from: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform – which we strongly recommend.
What is GCP – Google Cloud Platform?
Google Cloud Platform is Google’s computing cloud developed since 2008. GCP is not only storage space. It’s also a suite of nearly 200 services that can be utilized to create an infrastructure tailored to individual business needs.
The solution is flexible in terms of both scalability and instant adaptation to system requirements. It also guarantees effective cost control, based on actual usage. All this based on Google’s secure and reliable technology.
Reasons to go for Google Cloud Platform infrastructure
1. An infrastructure tailored to individual business needs
Google Cloud Platform lets the user set up their cloud infrastructure. There are almost 200 services available, including:
- virtual machines enabling the quick implementation of applications,
- building databases, data storage, and data processing,
- creating and managing networks,
- launching and extending container applications,
- managing Kubernetes clusters,
- BigData analytics,
- machine learning (ML),
- artificial intelligence (AI),
- Internet of things (IoT),
- creating and managing API layers,
- combining infrastructural environments, easy management of hybrid, and multi-cloud solutions,
- cross-solution migrations,
- security, access control, process monitoring.
The environment can be freely ‘arranged’ by selecting or removing services. This way every business can create an infrastructure contributing to quick and stable product development, thus getting a lot of work off the shoulders of software engineers or DevOps teams.
See what Tomasz Cholewa – Head of Cloud Infrastructure at DevSkiller – says about Google Cloud Platform:
At DevSkiller, we use Google Cloud Platform for most of our components. We are a Cloud Native company running everything in the cloud and almost all of our applications run inside containers on Google Kubernetes Engine (our most used service). We store lots of data on Google Storage buckets while some workloads are still running on traditional virtual machines that we manage entirely from code. We use Terraform and everything is configured that way.
2. Industry-dedicated solutions
Google Cloud develops services designed for particular industries so that companies can make use of ready-made, advanced solutions supporting their products and perform new implementations quicker. At present (July 2020), Google offers solutions designed in mind with organizations operating in the following industries:
- retail (e.g. demand forecasting, product quantity optimization, omnichannel operations support),
- finance (e.g. online banking solutions, financial risk analysis, anti-money laundering solutions),
- healthcare and life sciences (e.g. virtual health care support, advanced biomedical data analytics),
- media and entertainment (e.g. rendering and post-production tools, infrastructural solutions combining high quality of video with high speed of content sharing),
- gaming (e.g. building quick and efficient infrastructures, data warehouses, option to make use of AI in games),
- telecommunications (e.g. 5G support, Internet of things – IoT),
- manufacturing (e.g. SAP support, logistics optimization),
- renewable energy (e.g. high computing power, option to make use of Google’s geospatial data),
- governmental sector (e.g. smooth analysis of critical data and visualization of results, solutions supporting artificial intelligence and machine learning, solutions of the highest security level),
- education (e.g. G Suite for Education, data warehouses, creating backup copies and retrieving lost data).
3. GCP security
A great advantage of GCP is its security. Google has been developing its security technologies for over 15 years (the company currently employs over 500 security specialists) and utilizes them to secure, for instance, G Suite. Google Cloud Platform is regularly audited for security, with such audits aiming to check its compliance with SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402 type 2 standards.
4. Access control
Google Cloud Platform offers a broad range of access control solutions. An administrator may assign particular roles for particular projects and services to individual users – one person can be e.g. a Compute Engine user in project 01, a Cloud SQL editor in project 05, and perform other roles in connection with other services and projects. The list of roles is extensive and should meet any requirements. Access can be also managed through GCP’s interface, in the IAM & Admin: IAM section.
5. Per-second billing
In the case of computing cloud solutions, there’s no fixed fee – the fee is based on usage, which is billed per minute or per second. Cloud solutions like AWS or Azure charge users for most of the offered services per minute. In the case of many services, GCP charges users per second. It’s a more advantageous model of billing for users as they pay for the actual usage.
6. Budget control
GCP collects all information concerning usage and presents it in a transparent way in the form of panels, charts, or tables. Apart from having a good view of the remaining budget, the user can also view a chart of usage over time or a panel with a real-time indication of usage generated by particular services in particular projects.
To make budget control even more convenient (or actually make the budget “control” itself), GCP lets the user set usage alerts. Budget can be planned to the penny and split accordingly between particular projects and services. The user gets alerts of reaching a pre-set threshold or usage forecasts by email.
7. An own GCP network
Google has been working on a fiber-optic network connecting all GCP data centers.
It owns, among others, the longest transatlantic fiber-optic data cable (9 thousand kilometers) running from Oregon, US to Japan. There is also a plan to have the “Dunant” cable go live in 2020. The cable runs along the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Virginia Beach, US to Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez in France.
Google’s growing network consisting of thousands of kilometers of fiber-optic cables stretching between thousands of servers forms a huge, perfectly organized, quick, and efficient cloud infrastructure. Thanks to its own fiber-optic communication network, Google is able to transmit and process data much faster (even up to 10 Tb/s), which translates into an improved service performance. For business using GCP services, the said data transfer speed means more effective services and lower costs.
8. GCP scalability
A cloud can be easily scaled thanks to unlimited access to a range of resources (unlike in the case of hosting or private servers). If there are 100 users visiting a website one day, and 1 million of them visiting this website the next day, the cloud will handle such traffic without compromising on speed or stability (using Google App Engine). The number of virtual machines or their parameters can be changed anytime or set in advance to make them automatically adapt to current traffic (this applies to groups of virtual machines – managed instance groups, MIGs).
In the case of hosting or a VPS it may occur that a service is unavailable due to, say, some failure or ongoing maintenance. Most hosts offer service availability at the level of 90-99%. GCP guarantees the highest service availability level among all of the most popular service providers – 99.95%, regardless of the traffic or user location. This means that your system, web page, or app will be available all the time, enjoying a 24/7 uptime.
10. Real-time migration
One of the components or Google Cloud Platform’s high availability is real-time data migration. In the case of GCP virtual machine services, software or hardware updates (required to maintain a high level of security and stability) take place with no negative impact on the performance of services. GCP ensures migration of instances between hosts – if machine 1 needs maintenance and restarting, a given functioning service is migrated to machine 2. This way, Google is able to fulfill its obligations under its SLA (service-level agreement) for Google Compute Engine to ensure a 99.95% availability for a single instance and a 99.99% availability for several instances in different regions.
11. Serverless technology
Taking advantage of a GCP cloud relieves the user of the duties involved in maintaining a physical infrastructure. The maintenance and updates of machines are on Google’s part. An administrator at a company using GCP can focus on managing the cloud, supporting developers, or automating implementation processes instead of wasting their time in the computer room. This translates into faster and more frequent implementations of new features.
Thanks to Google Cloud Platform, it is possible to create apps using e.g. virtual machines (upon setting and preparing the environment in advance), storage services, databases (SQL and NoSQL), or machine learning (ML).
12. Automated implementation
Products can be developed faster and with less effort on the part of developers thanks to automated implementation. Many cloud-native apps are based on containers. Containerization is ingrained in Google’s DNA, which is proven, for instance, by the fact that Google has created the popular open-source container-orchestration system called Kubernetes.
Google keeps on developing services making implementation processes faster and easier since the company itself has managed to stay competitive by acting guided by these two values. The solutions designed to manage native technologies are made available via the GCP platform, which grants its users access to e.g. GKE (Google Kubernetes Engine – Kubernetes as a Service) or CI/CD (Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery).
13. Process monitoring and failure detection
Google Cloud Platform offers not only features such as Cloud Logging or Cloud Monitoring but also a set of tools in the form of its Application Performance Management suite. APM consists of:
- Cloud Trace – a tracing system scanning App Engine projects, virtual machines or containers in search for bottlenecks reducing the performance of apps,
- Cloud Debugger – a service of real-time inspection of your source code in production, without slowing down or stopping your app,
- Cloud Profiler – a profiling tool analyzing the performance and the load handled by the CPU for the app in production.
Application Performance Management tools can be used with the user’s code and apps regardless of the environment – APM can be utilized as part of hybrid or multi-cloud solutions alike.
14. Advanced BigData analytics
Google Cloud Platform has been developed for years to be suitable for storing and processing data sets. GCP offers its BigQuery data warehouse, which is capable of storing and processing terabytes or petabytes of data. The service makes it also possible to visualize data thanks to integration with e.g. Data Studio or Looker. Analytics can incorporate machine learning (ML), which can translate into a possibility of creating advanced forecasting algorithms. Also, GCP supports data analytics based on multi-cloud solutions thanks to its new feature: BigQuery Omni.
15. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)
Google Cloud Platform is an excellent environment to extend applications making use of machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI). The creators of GCP offer its users a way to build an “ecosystem” to develop their products using ML or AI, taking into consideration every stage of development of a given app.
16. Integration with external cloud-based environments
The creators of Google Cloud Platform are aware that many companies and businesses don’t go for one solution only when they set up their infrastructures, and that they often take advantage of multi-cloud technology. Google has designed a platform called Anthos – a tool that lets the user manage their infrastructure based on local data centers and solutions offered by different public cloud providers. Taking advantage of the potential of Anthos, Google has also adapted some services to make them compatible with multi-cloud environments, like e.g. its BigData analytics tool called BigQuery Omni.
17. Eco-friendly technology
Since 2017, all of Google’s global operations – including Google Cloud services – are carried out using renewable energy. Google buys energy from wind farms and solar parks operating in the vicinity of GCP data centers. This way, the company makes investments to the benefit of the natural environment – local wind farms and solar parks can be significantly extended thanks to the tech giant’s funds.
Google encourages other companies and organizations to help eliminate the carbon footprint by using Google’s cloud solutions.
18. A solution chosen by the biggest players
GCP is a class of its own, which is proven by the list of companies using the solution. Google Cloud Platform is used by PayPal, Spotify, and Revolut. They choose GCP because it’s a secure, reliable, and scalable solution that helps them improve the speed and frequency of implementation of new products and features or process petabytes of data.
19. Free trial – $300 or $500 credit
Google Cloud Platform is a powerful, complex, and advanced tool. New customers can become familiar with all the features of GCP by taking advantage of Google’s $300 credit to fully explore and try the platform out. Fly On The Cloud, as an official Google Cloud Premier Partner, offers a $500 voucher and professional support to those interested in learning the ins and outs of GCP.
20. Free services
Apart from the said credit/vouchers, Google offers also free monthly suites of some of the featured services. The “Always Free” tier includes, among others:
- Compute Engine (virtual machines in the IaaS model),
- App Engine (virtual machines in the PaaS model),
- Cloud Storage,
- BigQuery (a data warehouse),
- Cloud Logging (a tool to manage and analyze logs in real time),
- Cloud Monitoring (a tool to monitor the ongoing processes),
- Cloud Shell (an administration machine with access to the command-line interface and a pre-installed tool to manage resources in GCP).
The list of limits for the services offered as part of the “Always Free” tier can be found here.
Try Google Cloud Platform out
Experience the benefits of using GCP firsthand. There’s nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. As an official Google Cloud Premier Partner, we’ll offer you a $500 voucher you’ll be able to spend at Google console, we’ll support you in the process of setting up the environment, help you take full advantage of GCP’s potential, and provide you with ongoing technical support in your local language. Moreover, if you decide to start using GCP on a regular basis, we’ll make it possible for you to pay for Google services in your local currency – with no commission to be paid to Fly On The Cloud.