Google puts Amazon on notice with new Cloud Platform features

Google Cloud Platform now includes revamped pricing, better testing and deployment tools, and expanded VM support — all to displace Amazon.

Today, at Google Cloud Platform Live event, Google has introduced the next set of improvements to Cloud Platform at lower and simpler pricing, cloud-based Developer tooling, Managed Virtual Machines (VM) for App Engine, real-time Big Data analytics with Google BigQuery, and more. With this announcement Google hammered the notion home and seemed designed to put Amazon and other cloud vendors on notice. amazon-logo

The broad spectrum of changes announced for Google Cloud Platform revolved around a few basic sentiments: simplify the pricing structure of cloud computing; make it easier for developers to use the tools they’re familiar and comfortable with; allow for easier (and cheaper) work with large amounts of data; and give developers the freedom to run their App Engine apps in IaaS-style VMs without sacrificing manageability. To make developers more productive in the cloud Google has introduced features that make development more productive:

  • Build, test, and release in the cloud, with minimal setup or changes to your workflow. Simply commit a change with git and we’ll run a clean build and all unit tests.
  • Aggregated logs across all your instances, with filtering and search tools.
  • Detailed stack traces for bugs, with one-click access to the exact version of the code that caused the issue. You can even make small code changes right in the browser.
  • We’re working on even more features to ensure that our platform is the most productive place for developers.
  • Chief among those changes is integration with both Git and GitHub, so projects can be synchronized with either a local repository or one hosted on GitHub (public or private).

Another major new feature for developers helps them avoid another uncomfortable dilemma: Should a developer pick App Engine for the sake of getting something running now, or go with a full VM for flexibility? Managed VMs purport to offer the best of both worlds: A developer can take an existing App Engine app and deploy it to a managed VM with only a few changes to the app manifest. Cloud Platform also is expanding support for Compute Engine machine instance types to include Windows Server 2008 R2 (in limited preview for now), Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Suse Linux Enterprise Server.

Google also introduced the ability to live-migrate running VMs to different hardware with no noticeable interruption of service. Unfortunately, there was a stroke of inadvertent irony in the presentation: Just as Google’s team finished demonstrating the live migration of an app streaming 1080p video, the YouTube video stream hosting the presentation went offline for minutes on end. (Speculation ran rampant in the comments section for the stream if YouTube was itself being live-migrated.)

This is an exciting time to be a developer and build apps for a global audience. Today we’ve focused a lot on productivity, making it easier to build and test in the cloud, using the tools you’re already familiar with. Managed VMs give you the freedom to combine flexible VMs with the auto-management of App Engine. BigQuery allows big data analysis to just work, at any scale.

And on top of all of that, we’re making it more affordable than it’s ever been before, reintroducing Moore’s Law to the cloud: the cost of virtualized hardware should fall in line with the cost of the underlying real hardware. And you automatically get discounts for sustained use with no long-term contracts, no lock-in, and no upfront costs, so you get the best price and the best performance without needing a PhD in Finance.

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