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Google Cloud Platform Opens To Public Internet For Cheaper Use

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Cheaper option. Network Service Tiers allows Cloud Platform users to use public Internet instead of Google’s network

Google has come up with a way for customers of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to save money by using the public internet instead of its own private network

With the alpha launch of Network Service Tiers, GCP customers essentially choose between a ‘Premium Tier’ that utilises Google’s global network for those where performance and quality of service are paramount; or a ‘Standard Tier’ for the budget conscious.

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Google claims its Network Service Tiers makes GCP the first major public cloud to offer a tiered cloud network.

“Over the last 18 years, we built the world’s largest network, which by some accounts delivers 25-30 percent of all internet traffic” said Urs Hölzle, head of Technical Infrastructure at Google. “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.”

At the moment all Google Cloud customer already use the Premium Tier. It is not clear at this stage when (or if) customers will be forced to decide between the two tiers.

“Premium Tier delivers traffic over Google’s well-provisioned, low latency, highly reliable global network,” added Google’s Prajakta Joshi, Product Manager of Cloud Networking. “This network consists of an extensive global private fiber network with over 100 points of presence (POPs) across the globe. By this measure, Google’s network is the largest of any public cloud provider.”

Essentially with the Premium Tier, inbound traffic from an end user to an application that resides in Google Cloud enters Google’s private, high performance network at the POP closest to that end user. GCP delivers this traffic to the application over its private network.

Similarly, GCP delivers outbound traffic from the application to end users on Google’s network and exits at the POP closest to those user, wherever they are around the world.

This means that the Premium Tier delivers the least congestion and maximum performance

Standard Tier

The Standard Tier on the other hand “delivers network quality comparable to that of other major public clouds, at a lower price than our Premium Tier.”

It does this as a customer’s outbound traffic is delivered from GCP to the internet over transit (ISP) networks instead of Google’s network.

Meanwhile inbound traffic from the end user to GCP, is delivered on Google’s network only within the region where the customer’s GCP destination resides. So if a user is using the CGP outside of its ‘home region’, it will utilise ISP networks until it reaches the region of the GCP destination.

“Standard Tier provides lower network performance and availability compared to Premium Tier,” admitted Joshi. “Since we deliver your outbound and inbound traffic on Google’s network only on the short hop between GCP and the POP closest to it, the performance, availability and redundancy characteristics of Standard Tier depend on the transit provider(s) carrying your traffic.

“Your traffic may experience congestion or outages more frequently relative to Premium Tier, but at a level comparable to other major public clouds.”

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GCP Developments

Pricing for Premium and Standard Tiers can be found here, and will become relevant when Network Service Tiers become Generally Available (GA). It is currently in Alpha.

Google Cloud Platform is of course locked in a fierce battle with its two bigger rivals, namely Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

This has seen GCP revealing in March that it will be collaborate with Rackspace on a new managed services offering. GCP also announced a strategic partnership with SAP for the development of enterprise applications.

Google has also recently strengthened its container offering by announcing the general availability of Cloud Container Builder and has boosted GCP’s encryption capabilities with a new tool called the ‘Google Cloud Key Management Service.’

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