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New Google Cloud Platform features, price cuts put AWS on notice

Google Cloud Platform is looking better and better to AWS users with new instance types and price cuts. Cisco's cloud, however, has to earn its chops.

SAN FRANCISCO – Google turned AWS users' heads this week with new Cloud Platform features and steep price cuts, followed by Amazon cloud price cuts.

Cisco Systems Inc., meanwhile, pledged this week to spend $1 billion to build cloud services of its own, adding competition in the growing cloud space and giving enterprise IT shops more choices as they consider using multiple clouds.

The bottom line for Google Inc.: Standard instance types hosted in the U.S. will start at a price of 7 cents per hour; Google Cloud Storage will be priced at 2.6 cents per gigabyte, which Google said is a 68% reduction for most customers. 

Companies don't use one type of software or operating system anymore, said a senior manager for a fitness organization based in California.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), meanwhile, lowered its Simple Storage Service (S3) prices to a starting point of 3 cents per hour, a reduction of 65%, and an m1.small instance will now kick off Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) pricing at 1.1 cents per hour, down from 1.5 cents, a 27% reduction.

AWS has company atop Cloud Mountain

IT pros remained undecided about which cloud services to adopt at the one-day AWS Summit here this week, saying they want more information about both Amazon and Google offerings in light of Google’s new features -- a departure from a past, in which Amazon was the undisputed king of the hill among cloud service providers.

“We’ll look at all of them,” said John Kaddis, staff scientist for City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center located in Duarte, Calif. Kaddis also said his considerations would extend to Cisco.

Kaddis said he does not plan to move into the cloud wholesale, but looks to launch ephemeral instances for compute-intensive workloads, such as genomics research.

“We’re looking for people that work with science and in science, but we’re agnostic about who it is,” he said.

Other AWS Summit attendees echoed Kaddis’s sentiment about being agnostic -- to a point.

Google definitely caught our attention,” said a director for a startup still in stealth mode. “Personally, I wouldn’t use Cisco, or they’d at least need to prove they can do it for four or five years …. I don’t have confidence they could scale like Google App Engine or AWS.”

Some IT pros with already-entrenched deployments in AWS were a bit more reluctant to say they’d consider a switch.

“Maybe if Google were a tenth of the cost,” said an architect for a travel booking company located on the West Coast. “It’s an effort to move [between cloud providers].”

Another attendee here said the increasingly heated competition in the cloud computing space has him looking more deeply into cloud federation.

“Companies don’t use one type of software or operating system anymore,” said a senior manager for a fitness organization based in California. “They won’t use just one cloud provider.”

Further price cut, feature update details

Effective April 1, Google will slash prices for its Compute Engine Infrastructure as a Service platform by 32% across all sizes, regions and classes of instance. Google BigQuery on-demand prices will also be reduced by 85%.

Customers will also be able to save with sustained-use discounts, a counter-punch to Amazon’s reserved instance discounts, for workloads that use a virtual machine (VM) for over 25% of the month. When a VM is used for an entire month, customers save an additional 30% over the new on-demand prices. While Amazon charges an up-front fee for reserved instances, no such charge exists on the Google price list.

AWS said it, too, will cut prices across the board, also beginning April 1, according to a keynote presentation by Andy Jassy, senior vice president of Web Services for Amazon.

EC2 prices will drop 38% for M3 memory-intensive instances; 30%for the C3 line of instances and between 10% and 40% for M1, M2, C1 and C2 lines of instances. The Relational Database Service will see an average reduction of 28%, Jassy said, and Elasticache will see an average reduction of 34%. Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) price cuts will run between 27% and 61%.  

About the author:
Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for Write to her at or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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