Google Slashes Cloud Prices, Refuels Price War with Amazon
With a nod to Moore's Law that says IT performance improves exponentially, Google today unveiled double-digit price cuts to its cloud services. The move is Google's latest salvo in its ongoing price war with other cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Announced during the Google Cloud Platform Live developer conference taking place today in San Francisco, the price cuts accompany several other new developments in the company's cloud offerings. They include the rollout of Google Container Engine, designed to make virtualized app development easier with Docker containers and the debut of Managed VMs (virtual machines) as part of Google's App Engine.
The Cloud Platform updates are aimed at reducing development and deployment headaches through more flexible, cloud-based support for virtualization, according to Brian Stevens, vice president of product management at Google.
"Development in the cloud today is by and large a fragmented experience," Stevens, who recently came to Google from his previous position as CTO of Red Hat, said in a post on Google's Cloud Platform Blog. Google's vision is to enable cloud computing as a "continuum which allows you to pick and choose the level of abstraction that is right for your application, or even for a component of your application," he added.
Race to Zero?
Noting that Google was "passing along the savings we receive from Moore's Law," Stevens announced a 79 percent cut in prices for Persistent Disk Snapshots, along with additional cuts for Persistent Disk SSD (48 percent), network egress (47 percent), Cloud SQL (25 percent) and BigQuery storage (23 percent). These reductions come on the heels of last month's 10 percent cuts to prices for Google's Compute Engine.
Google has taken a number of aggressive steps this year in its competition against Amazon Web Services and other cloud service providers. It made one round of double-digit price cuts for the cloud in March and in September kicked off its Cloud Platform for Startups, a program that offers early-stage companies $100,000 in credit toward its cloud services.
Costs for cloud-based data storage, in particular, have been rapidly racing toward zero this year. In March, Google cut its price for 1 terabyte of online data storage from $49.99 to $9.99, and Microsoft followed suit in June. Dropbox, too, has cut the price for 1 terabyte of storage to $9.99 and, late last month, Microsoft said it would provide its Office 365 subscribers, who pay fees starting at $70 per year, with unlimited data storage in the cloud.
New Connectivity Options
Google's new Container Engine is designed to provide developers with "an optimized and efficient way to build your container-based applications," Stevens noted in his blog post. Based on Google's open-source Kubernetes tool for container management and orchestration, Container Engine makes it "easy to move applications between development machines, on-premises systems and public cloud providers," Stevens added.
Now in beta, Google's Managed VMs provide a hosting environment that gives developers more flexibility, as well as more CPU and memory options, for running apps on virtual machines.
Stevens noted that Google is also adding three new connectivity options for Google Cloud Interconnect. They include direct peering to Google, Carrier Interconnect through Google partners such as Equinix and Level 3, and -- starting next month -- VPN-based connectivity.
Google is also offering some new hints of how its recent Firebase acquisition fits into its cloud ambitions. Firebase's API helps mobile developers to more easily sync data for apps -- combined with Google's cloud services, it will provide a platform for data communication across multiple devices in real time, Stevens noted. Google will be providing more details on its new networking and Firebase capabilities over the next two days, he added.