This post was written by Sander Rodenhuis and Posted on 31 januari 2018

Yesterday I attended the Google Cloud Onboard training in Amsterdam. Except for the silly jokes on using real clouds for cloud computing and developing a program to use Dutch windmills to prevent it from raining in the Netherlands and the terrible Wi-Fi, it was quite an interesting day.

I have been working with AWS and Azure for a while now, but never used Google Cloud Platform (GCP). But yesterday I was really impressed by the GCP features and services. So why is the use of GCP not that popular in the Netherlands? Maybe its because Microsoft pushed organizations to Azure offering them big discounts while renegotiating their Enterprise Agreement licenses? And of course, AWS has been around for more then a decade now.  However, if you are looking for a (hyperscale) public cloud provider, Google is a serious option.

So, what’s so impressive about GCP? I compared a few GCP features/services to AWS and Azure:

Network

In GCP Virtual Private Networks are global (only subnets are regional)! So, no need for VPC peering between multiple regions like in AWS. Very cool.

Storage

The object storage solution (Cloud Storage) is basically the same as S3 and Azure Blob storage. GCP also offers data encryption for object and table storage. But the SQL abilities will really blow your mind. Cloud Spanner (managed RDBMS that can scale horizontally) supports consistent R/W in multiple regions! Say what? Yes, it does. So, you can deploy business critical applications in GCP, that can withstand the failure of a complete region without influencing availability. This is something you will not be able to do in AWS or Azure. You can also do schema updates without downtime.

Containers

Like AWS and Azure, GCP also offers a container solution. Like Azure GCP offers a managed Kubernetes service. Nope, AWS does not. AWS offers ECS and Fargate (us-east-1 only) as managed container service.

Billing

GCP offers per second billing as opposed to hourly billing in AWS and Azure. I personally find it hard to get insights into the real Azure costs (because you often not pay what you see in the portal) and the AWS option to reserve instances is not cloud worthy. In GCP none of that bullshit, the more you use, the more discount you’ll get. No backroom deals. And there is more: if you are able to use cloud as it should and your application can withstand possible instance preemptions, you can use preemptible instances. This can save you up to 80%!

Some other cool features

And yes, they even have a Mobile App for direct console access, so you can start and stop services while lying on the couch watching your favorite series on Netflix (or whatever you normally do on the couch).

What’s also nice is that when you create resources using the portal, you are offered the equivalent REST (JSON) or command line. While in Azure you can only download the (JSON) template (for all resources within the same resource group) and the CLI or PowerShell command to deploy the resources based on the template. In AWS none of this is possible.

Another cool feature of GCP (the portal) is that you can directly log into your instance, without first having to start a bash and SSH into the instance and specifying a PEM file. GCP does this all for you.

Okay, enough for now. I’m definitely going to ‘play’ more with GCP. And if you may be wondering, no this post is not sponsored by Google 😉