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5 Google Cloud management tools you should know

Organizations that use Google Cloud Platform have a few different ways to manage their resources. Review the features and capabilities of these five cloud management tools.

As one of the top cloud providers, Google must continually improve its services and tools to keep up with its competitors. Similar to what's available on AWS and Microsoft Azure, there are a range of Google Cloud management tools IT teams can choose from to help ease some of the stress that comes with the public cloud.

Break down these five Google Cloud services and determine if they could be useful for your workload management.

Google Cloud Deployment Manager

Developers use scripts to automate mundane tasks and make implementations more efficient. Infrastructure as code is the most comprehensive option for scripting, because it creates an abstraction layer between applications and the underlying infrastructure to automate all operational tasks.

Google's infrastructure-as-code tool, Google Cloud Deployment Manager, deploys infrastructure as repeatable, declarative code. It can use up to three file types per Google Cloud Platform deployment -- a configuration file in YAML, a schema file and a template file in Python or Jinja2. The configuration file, which is the source code for Deployment Manager, is the only required file -- the other two types are optional but improve a deployment's portability.

Currently, Deployment Manager doesn't support all Google Cloud tools and services, but it does work with most of Google's compute, storage and database resources. Developers can run the gcloud deployment-manager types list command in the gcloud command-line interface to see if Deployment Manager supports the resource they need to deploy.

Deployment Manager is free to use, though standard charges apply for any related services it deploys.

Google Cloud Anthos

Google Cloud Anthos is a cloud-agnostic container environment that uses Kubernetes for container orchestration and Istio service mesh for traffic management. It also works as a software stack to run on an organization's existing hardware or other clouds, making it a good fit for hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. At its core, Anthos is a container cluster regulated by Google Kubernetes Engine and GKE On-Prem for hybrid architectures.

Enterprises that migrate to the cloud often struggle to refit their legacy applications to cloud-native services. In the past, this issue was addressed though virtualization, but that meant forgoing cloud benefits around efficiency, scalability and flexibility. Anthos resolves the common problem by converting VM images into containers, prior to deployment.

Google Access Transparency

In recent years, more customers have wanted to know how their cloud provider manages the underlying infrastructure that supports their applications. With Google Access Transparency, administrators can view Google's own services logs.

IT teams can use Access Transparency to monitor Google's internal logs pertaining to their accounts. This Google Cloud management tool works with more than 20 Google services, including Compute Engine, App Engine, Cloud Storage, Persistent Disk, Cloud Key Management Service, and Cloud Identity and Access Management.

On top of helping monitor any underlying maintenance, Access Transparency also helps admins with system audits. They can incorporate Access Transparency logs into existing event management and security tools to make their systems audit-ready.

Customers still want more in terms of transparency from their cloud providers -- including Google -- but it won't happen overnight. However, Google Access Transparency is a step in the right direction for customers and providers to meet somewhere in the middle.

Google Cloud Endpoints

This cloud management tool is more specifically an API management system. IT teams use it to monitor, secure, analyze and set quotes on APIs. Once an API is deployed to Endpoints, users can set up a developer portal, through the Cloud Endpoints Portal, to interact with the API and gain access to documentation.

In terms of how APIs are managed by this tool, users have three options:

  • Cloud Endpoints for OpenAPI
  • Cloud Endpoints for gRPC
  • Cloud Endpoints Frameworks for the App Engine standard environment

Choose the option that best fits your needs, based on the type of communications protocol used and where the API is hosted.

Endpoints features include user authentication, automatic deployments, and API key generation and validation. IT teams can use this Google cloud management tool to build and ship APIs in a more consistent and efficient manner by taking the hassle of authentication, logging and monitoring -- among other tasks -- off of customers' to-do lists.

Google Operations

Operations, formerly Stackdriver, is another monitoring and cloud management tool in Google's toolbelt. The main focus of this service is to monitor, troubleshoot and enhance workload performance in Google Cloud.

Operations is actually a suite of services intended to help users improve their overall cloud performance. It includes Cloud Logging, Cloud Monitoring and Application Performance Management (APM). Operations provides real-time log management and evaluation through Cloud Logging, which is a managed service. With the built-in observability of Cloud Monitoring, users gain access to critical information about their application, including uptime, performance and health.

APM, on the other hand, includes tools to make apps more efficient through reduced costs and lower latency. Operations users also have access to Cloud Debugger, Cloud Profiler and Cloud Trace for additional visibility into their application's performance.

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