Google has ruffled feathers with Cloud Computing vendors by announcing a series of price cuts and features that are bound to have long lasting effects on the industry. At the Cloud Platform Live Event held on March 25, Google not just cut prices drastically across its offerings, but announced key features like Managed VMs and developer experience improvements that have made it a worthy competitor to Amazon Web Services, who is the current heavyweight in the Infrastructure As a Service (IaaS) segment.
One of the benefits of Cloud Computing that is often touted is pay per use, which is expected to eventually bring the overall cost of the solution to much lower levels than if you upfront invest in the infrastructure. Google believes that while Cloud Computing prices are low, they are not low enough. Toward that, in their own words, they want to track Moore's Law to cloud pricing and have effected price cuts in the range of 30-85% across their services. For e.g. Compute Engine prices have been reduced by 30%, Cloud Storage is now just 2.6 cents per GB and BigQuery has seen prices reduced by as much as 85%.
Also introduced is a concept called Sustained-Use Discounts that reduces your bill if you use it consistently for longer periods. For example, if you use the VM for over 25% of the month, then the discounts kick in. You save an additional 30% over the on-demand prices if you use it for a month.
Google always pushes the envelope when it comes to the developer community and they have now announced a series of features that aim to ease developer experiences with deploying and debugging their applications on the Google Cloud platform. Debugging live applications is always a challenge and they have introduced an amazing feature that lets a developer not just access detail stack traces but also look at the source code, make the changes right there in the browser and push that change across to the live environment. Check out the detailed blog post on the new developer experiences for the cloud.
The Google Cloud Platform Live Event was marketed as an event that would explain how Google plans to bridge the gap between IaaS and PaaS. Toward that, they announced Managed VMs, that lets you run a binary inside a VM and provide the auto-management and scaling that a PaaS automatically provides. In Google's case, the PaaS is App Engine and it will automatically manage the VMs for you. This feature is exciting and is likely to result in various Managed VMs that will help bring frameworks/languages that were previously not available on App Engine. In addition to Managed VMs, the Compute Engine platform now supports Windows Server 2008 R2 in preview and availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
Amazon, which had its conference a few days later responded to Google's price cuts, with its own price cuts, thereby leveling the field on price in some scenarios. This is definitely just the start of things where Google with its vast infrastructure and experience in running highly scalable systems is going to compete on features and not just price alone. The rest of the year should see a lot more upheavals in this space.