AlexOakenman - Fotolia

Google’s cloud explained in five quick links

With its Compute Engine and other services, Google has joined the cloud elite. Here are five links to explain Google's cloud to enterprises.

With heavyweights such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google constantly vying for the top spot, the cloud market is nothing if not entertaining. And while AWS is the undisputed cloud leader, Google has certainly made its presence known. Whether it's slashing prices or announcing new features, Google has come a long way in stamping its place among the cloud vendor elite.

The Google Cloud Platform features Google Compute Engine, an infrastructure as a service offering, and Google App Engine, a platform as a service offering. With its Big Query service, Google has also separated itself from the pack in big data management and analytics.

But before taking your data to Google's cloud, it's important to familiarize yourself with the platform, including pricing and features. Here are five links to get acquainted with Google cloud.

Getting a handle on Google Cloud Platform options

The Google Cloud Platform provides a variety of services, including IaaS, PaaS, containers, big data, management and storage. Although Google manages everything, organizations considering Google's cloud need to understand its specific features, costs and how it differs from other cloud platforms on the market.

Depending on their application's needs, enterprises can choose between Google Compute Engine and App Engine. With Compute Engine, enterprises run applications on Google's existing hardware and manage the platform through a RESTful API. App Engine, however, allows enterprises to reap the rewards of Google's compute and storage without platform management concerns. In this tip, cloud expert Valerie Silverthorne breaks down other Google Cloud Platform services, including Big Query, Cloud Datastore, Cloud Storage and Google Deployment Manager, along with Google cloud pricing.

What to expect from Google Compute Engine in 2015

With the major cloud providers enthralled in an IaaS race, predicting the direction of Google Compute Engine is no easy feat. But according to this tip from cloud expert Jim O'Reilly, containers will be a focal point for Google. Similar to other top cloud vendors like AWS, Google is making a concerted container technology push. In 2014, Google announced its open source Docker container manager service, Kubernetes, which garnered significant support from others in the market, including Microsoft, IBM and Red Hat. Google also furthered its container movement last year with the launch of Container Engine, a managed service for building and deploying Docker containers and container-based applications.

In addition to containers, hybrid cloud could have a significant effect on the future of Google's IaaS. While Google lacks the necessary private cloud piece of the hybrid equation, its VMware partnership could be a sign of a hybrid cloud shift.

Taking the mystery out of Google Compute Engine pricing

Cloud computing pricing is constantly in flux, as providers continue to adjust or lower prices. And because cloud provider pricing models vary, it's important to understand Google Compute Engine costs and know what to look for. Like many providers in the market, Google Compute Engine uses a pay-per-usage pricing model. But to fully understand Google's pricing structure, capacity, performance expectations and more, enterprises need to take an in-depth look at service-level agreements, according to cloud expert Dan Sullivan.

To avoid billing surprises, enterprises can estimate Google Cloud Platform costs, including those for Compute Engine, App Engine, Big Query and other Google services with its pricing calculator. In this tip, Sullivan analyzes the pricing differences between Google and AWS, as well as potential discounts and how to become eligible for credits.

Choosing between AWS vs. Google vs. Azure cloud storage

Although capacity pricing is an important consideration when choosing a cloud storage provider, it shouldn't be the only consideration. Enterprises must also consider operational costs, performance levels and scalability, among other factors. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google each have cloud storage offerings, but none stands clearly above the rest.

While AWS and Microsoft have been competing in the cloud storage space, Google is still relatively new to the market. So how is Google trying to catch up? News writer Trevor Jones details how Google compares to the other top cloud storage providers and what to consider when choosing a provider.

Replicating Google's cloud model in the enterprise

Like kids that grew up wanting to be "like Mike," many enterprises strive to be like Google. With significant financial and technological resources, as well as massive scalability, Google's cloud is a model for enterprise cloud building success, according to cloud expert Jim O'Reilly.

But Google's cloud model isn't without flaws, as problems can quickly arise. Google addresses potential issues by flushing latent design problems early in the lifecycle.

To translate Google's model to any enterprise -- big or small -- organizations can buy pre-integrated hardware at the rack level. Still, building any cloud requires an understanding of its infrastructure, which includes all of its components -- servers, storage, networking, automation and orchestration tools.

Nicholas Rando is assistant site editor for SearchCloudComputing. You can reach him at [email protected].

Next Steps

Comparing the top cloud computing providers

Google Kubernetes gains traction in container orchestration

A head-to-head comparison of AWS and Google cloud

Dig Deeper on Google and other public cloud providers