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Guide to Google Cloud Platform services in the enterprise

Last updated:April 2019

Editor's note

As Google gains a foothold in the enterprise market, many IT admins and developers need to keep up with, and successfully implement, a diverse array of Google Cloud Platform services and tools.

Google's cloud services include features for compute, storage, networking, and automation and orchestration. But the cloud provider has also emphasized emerging enterprise technologies within these domains, including managed Kubernetes and container services, machine learning and serverless computing. Enterprise cloud customers, such as retailer Kroger, rely on a range of these services. They demand agility from containers and infrastructure as code, but they also need dependability to keep core business services operational as they migrate to the cloud.

In addition, Google must accommodate the hybrid cloud requirements of its enterprise customers, as evidenced with the debut of its Anthos platform, which became generally available at the vendor's Cloud Next '19 conference.

Use this in-depth Google Cloud Platform guide to keep up with the latest developments in the provider's services lineup, receive expert advice to more effectively deploy and manage GCP resources, and evaluate how the provider stacks up to its competitors, including AWS and Microsoft Azure.

1Google Cloud Next '19 news

Cloud computing services evolve rapidly -- and Google Cloud Platform is no exception. The public cloud provider grabbed headlines for a number of reasons at its Google Cloud Next conference, including the release of its multi- and hybrid cloud platform Anthos. Formerly known as Cloud Services Platform, Anthos aims to provide a way to centrally deploy and manage containerized applications that span on-premises and cloud environments. In addition, Google also made news around open source software, Microsoft database support and elsewhere.

2Google Cloud resource deployment and operations

Price shouldn't be the only factor when choosing a cloud provider. Before selecting a vendor, determine the features and tools you'll need to run and manage cloud workloads as efficiently as possible. Google Cloud services, including Deployment Manager, Cloud Composer and Cloud Scheduler, deliver automation, orchestration, job execution and other capabilities to reduce admins' manual efforts and save time. In addition, Google Compute Engine templates ensure consistent configurations across different VM instances. Other Google cloud management tools, such as Access Transparency, provide IT teams with deeper insight into the actions performed on their infrastructure resources -- even those by Google's own internal admin team.

3Managing Google Cloud Platform containers and functions

The major public cloud providers have bet heavily on containers and serverless platforms, and Google is no exception. The company behind Kubernetes, the de facto standard for container orchestration, has made the open source technology a centerpiece of its cloud services through Google Kubernetes Engine. It has also expanded the capabilities of Google Cloud Functions for developers who want to build event-driven architectures. And while serverless and containers are often seen as competing development technologies, Google is spearheading an effort to bridge the two with its Knative open source project.

4Google machine learning and AI services

The public cloud is a good fit for AI and machine learning. Data scientists can quickly access massive amounts of compute power and storage capacity to test a project and train models; enterprises with limited AI experience can turn to API-based services to incorporate speech analysis and image recognition. Google has a long history with AI internally, and it has extended that experience to its Google Cloud services with Tensor Processing Units and a growing list of prepackaged machine learning services.

5Google vs. AWS vs. Azure

Google, AWS and Microsoft are the market leaders in public cloud computing and continually fight for enterprise workloads. AWS is the first choice for many IT pros, because of its maturity in the market and its large selection of offerings, but Azure is gaining momentum due to Microsoft's already-established presence in enterprises. Google takes third place, according to many industry analysts and experts, but the vendor's competitive pricing and new features -- particularly around containers -- could help it rise in popularity.

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