Google Cloud Platform Announces Expanded Windows Support

Google Cloud Platform has made great strides this year with Cloud Platform Live events in March and November that showcased its vision for more services and offerings. In an industry where Amazon Web Services is the clear leader in terms of market share and Microsoft Azure is increasing its adoption among large Windows-based enterprises, it was imperative that Google target the large segment of Microsoft Windows customers that are still evaluating the cloud.

There was one problem, though — that of support for the Windows Server line among the list of distributions available under Google Compute Engine (GCE), the infrastructure-as-a-service offering under the Google Cloud Platform umbrella. Google did announce support for Windows Server 2008 at the Cloud Platform Live event in March, but not much was heard since then on its Windows strategy.

The path is now clear with an announcement regarding Windows support on Google Cloud Platform. The announcement puts down three key enhancements that should make customers evaluate Google Cloud Platform as a viable contender to host their Windows workloads:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Edition is now available in beta to all Google Cloud Platform customers. Work is on for supporting Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, though no time frame has been given.
  • Microsoft License Mobility for Google Cloud Platform is now available to customers. This should make the transition easier as it will allow existing customers to utilize their on-premises Microsoft software licenses without any additional fees. More details are available here.
  • To enable customers to use remote desktop sessions in their Windows instances in Google Cloud Platform, the Chrome RDP app from Fusion Labs has been optimized and made available for free. To make it seamless, it is integrated right inside the Google Cloud Developers console, and users can access RDP from their Windows session with a single click.

There is a huge opportunity to tap into enterprises that are running on-premises Microsoft software and want to make the shift to the cloud. Toward this end, this is a good move by Google. Greg DeMichillie, Google's director of product management, cloud platform, provided an interesting angle as to why customers would look at evaluating Google Cloud Platform for their Windows workloads. He said that customers would want to avoid lock-ins to just one cloud platform and would look at evaluating and possibly even using more than a single cloud provider based on their requirements. The integration of offerings such as BigQuery, local SSD storage and best-in-class networking infrastructure in Google Cloud Platform could be another factor that tilts the decision toward Google.

For more details, check out this blog post.

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