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Google Cloud Platform rolls out different tiers of network services

The different offerings give cloud customers the choice between top-tier quality, global networking or lower-cost services.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

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Google on Wednesday announced it's offering two different tiers of network services to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) customers, making it the first of the major public cloud vendors to offer flexibility for customers either looking for top-tier, global networking services or for lower-cost services.

Google's Network Service Tiers are now available in alpha and offer two different levels of service: The Premium Tier option uses Google's global network, which powers Google Cloud. The Standard Tier is more modestly priced and, Google says, offers performance comparable to that of other public clouds.

"Over the last 18 years, we built the world's largest network, which by some accounts delivers 25 to 30 percent of all internet traffic," Urs Hölzle, Google's SVP of technical infrastructure, said in a statement. "You enjoy the same infrastructure with Premium Tier. But for some use cases, you may prefer a cheaper, lower-performance alternative. With Network Service Tiers, you can choose the network that's right for you, for each application."

The Premium Tier network is comprised of Google's extensive private fiber network, with over 100 points of presence (POPs) around the globe. Inbound traffic in Google Cloud enters Google's network at the POP closest to the end user and is delivered to a company's application over the private network. Similarly, outbound traffic travels across the private network to the nearest POP.


To improve performance further, traffic on the Premium Tier is protected from disruptions by redundancy: There are at least three independent paths between any two locations on the Google network. The Premium Tier also features Global Load Balancing.

The Standard Tier is cheaper because it relies on the Internet over transit (ISP) networks in addition to Google's network.

Outbound traffic is delivered from the GCP to (ISP) networks, while inbound traffic comes from the end user to the GCP on Google's network only within the region where a firm's GCP destination resides. If the traffic is coming from a different region, it will first travel over transit ISP networks.

The levels of congestion and outages on the Standard Tier are comparable to other public clouds, Google says. Meanwhile, network services such as Load Balancing Virtual IP (VIP) are only available on a regional basis in the Standard Tier.

To demonstrate the difference between the Standard and Premium Tiers, Google points to the live dashboards showing measurements provided by Cedexis, an internet performance monitoring and optimization tools company. The graph below, for instance, shows throughput for Premium and Standard Tier for HTTP Load Balancing traffic at 50th percentile.


Once Network Service Tiers become Generally Available, outbound traffic on the Standard Tier will be priced 24 percent to 33 percent lower than in the Premium Tier for North America and Europe. Destination-based pricing for Premium Tier will be based on both the source and destination of traffic, while Standard Tier traffic will be source-based since it does not travel much over Google's network. While in alpha and beta, existing Internet egress pricing applies. Customers also have the option of choosing different network tiers for different workloads.


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