December 4, 2013
For years Google has been evasive about plans for its public cloud for computing and data storage. However, the company is soon to announce pricing, features, and performance guarantees for both startup and multinational companies. Google’s efforts are part of an escalating battle amongst technology companies to control government and corporate computing through public clouds. This battle includes such companies as Microsoft, IBM and Amazon.
“As businesses move from owning their own computers to renting data-crunching power and software over the Internet, this resource-rich foursome is making big promises about computing clouds,” reports The New York Times. “Supercomputing-based research, for example, won’t be limited to organizations that can afford supercomputers. And tech companies with a hot idea will be able to get big fast because they won’t have to build their own computer networks.”
For example, Snapchat, the service that turned down a multibillion dollar takeover from Facebook, processes 4,000 pictures a second on Google’s servers, but is only 2 years old and has fewer than 30 employees.
“The company started out working with a Google service that helps young companies create applications and was chosen by Google to be an early customer of its cloud,” notes the article. Snapchat’s partnership with Google has enabled it to save money while supporting its users. “I’ve never owned a computer server,” said Bobby Murphy, a co-founder and chief technical officer of Snapchat.
Things are rapidly changing from the days when companies were expected to build complex data centers.
“These things are incredibly fast — setting up new servers in a minute, when it used to take several weeks to order, install and test,” said Chris Gaun, an analyst with Gartner. “Finance, product research, crunching supercomputing data like genomic information can all happen faster.”
“Amazon’s cloud, called Amazon Web Services, was arguably the pioneer of the public cloud and for now is the largest player,” explains NYT. “Amazon says its cloud has ‘hundreds of thousands’ of customers. Though most of these are individuals and small businesses, it also counts big names like Netflix, which stopped building its own data centers in 2008 and was completely on Amazon’s cloud by 2012.”
Facing new competition, Google is cutting prices for services such as online data storage and computer processing while offering access to more complex computing systems. The company is “also guaranteeing that critical projects will remain working 99.95 percent of the time, far better performance than in most corporate data centers,” notes the article.