Spotify Wants Google To Improve Cloud Platform After Going All-In On GCP


Spotify decided to go all-in with Google Cloud Platform but it still wants billing improvements and thinks AWS has some advantages for larger businesses

Music streaming service Spotify has gone all-in with Google’s Cloud Platform (GCP) and will shift all of its testing and development away from rival Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the coming years.

But it is still seeking improvements from Google.

In an interview with TechWeekEurope, Spotify’s vice president of engineering and infrastructure, Nicholas Harteau, explained that “there were only two choices” when it came to cloud platforms that could handle the scale and capabilities that Spotify needed – ruling out Microsoft’s Azure.

Read More: Spotify moves to Google Cloud

Spotify Google Cloud

Spotify 1The firm had first-hand experience of using AWS, as it ran – and continues to run – some of its test and development environments in AWS.

“We had a good feel for AWS from the start and understood its capabilities, so when we were exploring the option of cloud we looked at AWS but not as deeply as we did with Google,” he said.

Harteau suggested that selecting Google over Amazon wasn’t merely because Google could do things that Amazon could not – he said that both platforms had their strengths and weaknesses.

“Amazon has a very broad product, a much longer history and has some things figured out for enabling large businesses which Google hadn’t solved when we had initially adopted it,” he said.

However, Harteau emphasised that Spotify decided to pick Google because its platform better aligned with the company’s own strategy.

“It just so happens that the strengths that Google has are [more] important for Spotify… Google’s data platform is actually a few steps ahead of Amazon’s, and part of our bet [to go with GCP] is that I expect it to stay a few steps ahead,” he said.

What type of cloud strategy does your organisation have?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Competitive platform

Other areas where he believes Google has advantages over the competition include raw instance performance and simplicity – but he said those weren’t as critical to Spotify as the strength of the data platform.

Another comparison Harteau made was on the simplicity of billing on GCP compared to AWS – something Google was keen to emphasise during its GCP Next conference in London.

“With GCP it is very easy to work out how much something will cost… you don’t have to do complex maths work to work something out,” he explained

However, he called for Google to make changes to its backend side of its billing system: “It feels pretty immature to me – I think that part of it needs some work.”

AWS also has the lead when it came to catering for larger organisations, said Harteau.

“There are some things in the Google platform that are not built with large organisations in mind. We have small teams that are working on different pieces of the product, so there isn’t just one Spotify development team working on GCP, there are 40,” he added.

“And managing things like access rights and accounts and connectivity between those teams, that’s something we still struggle a bit with,” he added.

When TechWeekEurope asked Google’s VP of cloud platforms, Brian Stevens, about these issues, he said that he believed Google had solved these issues already.

“It wasn’t until recently, we could privately interconnect projects – they were all independent. So if you data or app was in one project and you had to talk to another app, you had to go through a public IP address, and now we have private interconnect between the projects,” he said.

Quiz: What do you know about the Cloud in 2016?