Google's new cloud strategy: Apply Moore's Law to prices

Google gets more serious about taking on the likes of Amazon Web Services, slashing on-demand rates by as much as 85 percent.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO---Cisco kicked off the week with its big cloud play, and now Google is stepping up its own game in this arena.

Speaking at Google Cloud Platform Live on Tuesday morning, Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure at Google, outlined the Internet giant's updated cloud business strategy and portfolio.

Hölzle offered a pulse check on Google Cloud Platform, citing that there are approximately 4.75 million active applications running on GCP, with 6.3 trillion data storage requests as well as 28 billion front-end requests each day.

Those might look like astronomical figures, and they're certainly nothing to shrug off.

But Hölzle acknowledged that Google might be playing a game of catch up in the enterprise cloud platform business by positing there are a lot of ways in which the promises of the cloud still haven't been fully addressed.

The Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered corporation is making a more concerted effort about taking on the likes of Rackspace, IBM, and Amazon Web Services, among others.

Still, the timing for Google's cloud update cannot go unnoticed given that AWS is hosting one of its routine sales and customer summits just a few blocks away in San Francisco within the next 24 hours.

Furthermore, Google is finally doing what it does when it signs new, high-profile corporations for Google Apps by flaunting some of its familiar clients on Cloud Platform. This was demonstrated on Tuesday by the appearance of Bobby Murphy, co-founder and chief technology officer of Snapchat. 

Yet at the top of the agenda was a sales pitch that AWS trots out often: bargain-basement pricing done again...and again.


Touting that cloud pricing schemes should mimic hardware and "follow Moore's Law," Google is slashing prices for pay-as-you-go services, with Google's big data analytics BigQuery engine seeing its on-demand rates chopped down by as much as 85 percent.

"Pricing is still way too complex," Hölzle lamented, adding that current cloud costs might seem cheap when compared to on-premise alternatives, but there's still a lot of room for reduction.

"While we already have a strong platform, these are the early days," Hölzle remarked. "We see a clear path to making developers phenomenally more productive."

Cloud Storage follows suit with up to 68 percent in price reductions, trailed by the Compute Engine fees lowered by up to 32 percent across all regions, classes, and sizes.

Google is also promising further savings via its new Sustained-Use Discounts for on-demand virtual machines and workloads. With potential savings of up to 53 percent compared to previous rates, this promo rewards customers who use a VM for more than a quarter of each month.

"This isn't a one-time step. This is a philosophy," Hölzle stressed, promising similar price cuts and choices down the road.

Google also introduced new Managed Virtual Machines for App Engine, which can be run and managed automatically with what is touted to be only a few lines of code.

Google summed the new option of Managed VMs to offer the freedom over control supplied by App Engine merged with the robust abilities of Compute Engine.

Enterprise customers can also look forward to expanded Compute Engine support, starting with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server generally available. Per customer demand, according to Google's cloud team, Compute Engine will also support Windows Server 2008 R2 in limited preview.

Additional improvements to the system hover around making app developers more productive by making the Cloud Platform more efficient. Examples consist of aggregated logs across all instances with better filtering and search tools, detailed stack traces for bugs with one-click access to related code, and being able to run interactive SQL queries against data sets within seconds via BigQuery. 

This all lays the groundwork for ensuring better apps tied to Android, Chrome, mobile, desktop -- you name it -- further connecting the dots across Google's vast empire of software, services, and platforms for consumers and business users alike.

"While we already have a strong platform, these are the early days," Hölzle remarked. "We see a clear path to making developers phenomenally more productive."

Screenshots via Google/YouTube

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