Is New Google Compute Engine Good Enough to Compete with AWS?

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The king of search engines has rolled out a new service in cloud arena to compete with Amazon Web Services, but it looks like Google has got still a long way to go, before it even manages to come close to its rival. The new service from Google is called the Compute Engine Infrastructure, which will offer cloud services just the way Amazon does. The new cloud service definitely lacks features, options and depth when compared with offerings of Amazon; needless to say Google would soon zero in on the loopholes and tweak its new service in the coming times.

And, we're just talking about the limited functionality preview, so things could definitely change radically in the fully functional release.

With this new service, Google is allowing its customers to play with all kinds of virtual machines. It is building its cloud stack by coupling Drive, Google Apps and Google’s App Engine. The company also promises that the clients will get complete access to all the computing capabilities.

Cloud stacking can not actually be considered as one of Google's original ideas. It was Amazon who kick-started cloud services at the beginning and gained widespread popularity with Amazon S3, and Elastic cloud compute programs; now big guns like VMware, HP, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle; everyone has its own cloud stack. Of course, Google has been a great innovator bringing out services like AdSense and AdWords at a time when people laughed at such ideas, but Google turned those unique ideas into a billion dollar business, and nobody could ever replicate their efforts.

But, at the moment, Google is trying to get a pie of market-share in just about every cloud service. Following the foot-steps of Amazon Ec2, DropBox, and MS SkyDrive, it came out with Google Drive, and now we see a notification on Google Docs that the service will be upgraded to the new Drive soon. This is a clear indication of the shift in paradigm that Google is trying to bring about.

As of now, there is not much that Google has revealed about its new service apart from stating that it would like to win against other cloud services in the market.

The cloud efforts of the company would sync with Google Docs and it will work even offline with Chrome and later it would go live even with the Chromebooks. Both App Engine and Computer Engine are likely to turn out to be crucial components in company's line-up of cloud services.

What We Know About the Compute Engine at this Point

The concept was by and large conceived by Google’s technical infrastructure vice president, Urs Holzle who claims that Compute Engine is capable of offering “50 percent more compute per dollar” compared to other vendors out there in the market.

The present compute services from Google include:

- Computing with on-demand virtual machines from Linux in 1, 2 , 4 and 8 virtual cores; every virtual core comes with 3.75 GB RAM

- Storage facility in persistent block, local disk or Cloud Storage

- Configurable firewalls that help in configuring virtual machines into smaller clusters, and

- Web UI or command line tool that allows the customers to control and configure.

What Sets AWS Apart?

These tools are definitely quite impressive, but obviously they're not as mature and competent as those offered by Amazon. The rival, Amazon offers compute, content delivery networks, templates, storage, databases and identity management, thus creating a strong cloud stack, not to mention a free price tier for basic users of AWS, which is again missing in Google CEI at this point. To top it all, as Amazon was the early entrant in the game, it has a lot of advantages including plenty of clients with healthy long term contracts, a long list of satisfied enterprises, connections with SAP and Oracle applications, and the company even offers Windows instances.

Final Thoughts

So, it is actually going to take a while before we even start asking the question if Google cloud services will go on to become Amazon cloud killers. Company's strong networking and clusters definitely have it in them to take the cloud services to newer heights but as I said, it will take its own sweet time; having said that Amazon definitely has to take good notice of the baby steps that Google is taking at the moment; otherwise, things could turn around in a matter of few months, and just the way G+ started becoming a real pain for Facebook, things could be pretty similar with Amazon, when Google Compute Engine evolves into the next big thing in the cloud arena!

And, I also have another funny feeling that Google has got several surprises up its sleeve, and the company is playing the mind game, by trying to analyse the initial response, without really showing what they’re actually planning to come out with. Probably they'll plan for a beta release to seek feedback, and then roll out the full-fledged version in grand style, to take Amazon by a surprise!

So, let's wait and watch the fun – one thing is for sure; next 6 months are definitely going to be quite crucial for Amazon as well as Google!
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