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When to use Google instead of Amazon's cloud

Brandon Butler | Jan. 29, 2014
Cloud consultants Cloudyn say for some AWS users, it could be time to move over to Google's cloud.

GCE, on the other hand, has per-minute billing, compared to AWS's on-demand hourly billing. So, if customers want short-lived compute jobs to run, GCE can generally be a better choice. If a customer is looking to run something in the cloud for a long time, then AWS pricing can be more advantageous.

Google's GCE pricing can be found here while Amazon's EC2 pricing is here. As a comparison, AWS's standard m3 instance is $0.113 per hour, while Google's standard instances is $0.104, both come with 3.75GB of memory.  

"For many apps, it's good enough," Tavor says about GCE. GCE still has some issues to work on though: It has scheduled maintenance a couple times a year during which services are unavailable. GCE also currently only supports Linux OS, not Windows. But, it's a high-performing and globally distributed cloud platform, so it's certainly worth considering now, he says.

If a customer is in a position to use GCE, Tavor says it's generally a good idea to spread workloads across multiple cloud providers. Even with service-level agreements (SLA) which guarantee a certain level of uptime, these IaaS cloud services can still go down.

AWS recommends that customers spread their workloads across multiple availability zones within its cloud; for customers looking for extra protection they can spread workloads across multiple regions in AWS's cloud. Still even more protection would be to spread workloads across multiple providers. GCE has advanced to a point where it is a destination for users to consider using as a backup or primary service, Wagner says.

That can be easier said than done though. The ideal applications to move are lightweight ones, meaning they don't have a lot of data (less than a couple of terabytes) attached to them. Moving them from one provider to another could be as easy as just running your application in GCE compared to AWS. But, if services have been designed to run specifically in AWS's cloud, or to take advantage of some features that only AWS has - such as its DNS Server, CDN, Redshift or its custom DynamoDB database, then they may be better off staying in AWS's cloud, Tavor says.

Cloudyn's platform has in the past only supported AWS tracking, but today it rolled out support for GCE instances as well. As part of Cloudyn's SaaS-delivered package, it will analyze a customer's IaaS usage and alert them if there are better configurations of virtual machine or storage instances that can be used. The new features allow customers to do a price comparison of running applications in AWS versus GCE.

Google and AWS aren't the only games in town either. Microsoft and Rackspace have compelling IaaS offerings as well, Tavor says.

Rackspace excels in OpenStack workloads, while Microsoft in Windows applications. IBM, he says, will be interesting to watch as the company has announced plans to significantly ramp up its cloud footprint in 2014.


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