Getting a handle on Google Cloud Platform options

With a range of options for big data, storage and more, Google Cloud Platform has become the public cloud of choice for many enterprise users.

While Amazon Web Services dominates the public cloud market, Google remains a popular alternative for many organizations, especially those with large-scale workloads and a focus on big data.

With the Google Cloud Platform, customers can choose from a mix of custom products and services, and Google will manage everything. Google App Engine is designed for customers looking to put applications in a managed cloud or a platform as a service environment. In addition to supporting all popular programming languages and development tools, the platform is scalable up to seven billion requests per day.

Another popular Google cloud service is Google Compute Engine, the vendor's infrastructure as service offering. Customers can deploy VMs using the RESTful API, a command-line interface and a Web-based console. Data is automatically encrypted and stored in that format, and incoming requests are automatically distributed through global load-balancing technology.

Here's a closer look at some of the key components within the Google Cloud Platform.


With Google Deployment Manager, customers can use declarative templates to build and link a variety of cloud resources, as well as streamline repeatable actions. Organizations can manage deployments using Google's scriptable command-line interface, or use a RESTful API to integrate with their own tool chain and workflows.


There are a variety of storage options on the Google Cloud Platform, including:

  • MySQL databases -- hosted versions start around $1 a month;
  • Cloud Datastore -- a NoSQL managed and schema-less database that is automatically scalable. This service is free up to 1 GB total per day, and is priced at $0.18 per GB per month after that; and
  • Cloud Storage -- Google's object storage service is available in two pricing options: standard pricing, which is $0.026 GB per month, and Durable Reduced Availability, which is $0.02 GB per month but has lower availability.

Big data

BigQuery, Google's big data service, can operate in real-time or be streamed asynchronously in the background. The first 1 TB of data per month is free. After that, each 1 TB is $5 per month with on-demand pricing, or up to 70% less with advance reserved instance pricing.

General Google Cloud Platform pricing

The most basic Google pricing model is for the U.S.-hosted Compute Engine, which ranges from $0.045 to $0.063 per hour of sustained usage, with an average price of $0.049.

Prices increase slightly with the use of premium operating systems, such as Red Hat, SUSE Linux and Windows. However, Google customers only pay for the amount of time actually used in minute increments with a 10-minute minimum.

All application services are free as long as they are within each application's set daily quota. Google also provides sustained use discounts for customers who use a computing instance for a significant portion of the billing month. Depending on volume, the sustained use discount can be up to 30%, and is automatically applied once the customer hits the usage threshold.

Google offers a 60-day free trial and $300 to spend on any Google Cloud Platform services.

Customer support

Google offers four levels of customer support for its cloud platform:

  • The Bronze level -- available to all customers and includes online documentation, billing support and access to community forums.
  • The Silver level -- $150 per month, and offers issue tickets, login access to the support center, architectural support and four-hour response times to priority one issues.
  • The Gold level -- starts at $400 per month, and adds 24/7 phone support, one-hour response times and consultative tickets.
  • The Platinum level -- pricing is not disclosed, but this level offers direct access to Google's technical account management team, as well as a 15-minute response times to priority one issues.

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