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Google I/O – AWS rival Compute Engine unveiled, App Engine on Eurotrip

Chris Mayer

A swathe of announcements coming out of Google’s San Francisco developer conference, mostly concerning the future of their cloudy products

Away from Android and Project Glass stealing the limelight
at Google I/O, a pretty big move has been made by the company to
challenge Amazon in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Google may have held off but with their hand forced by
Microsoft’s imminent Azure announcement and the might of Amazon Web
Services, they’ve announced
Compute Engine
, allowing users to run large-scale
workloads on Linux machines hosted by Google’s

The cloud infrastructure move seems a logical one, with it
nestling nicely alongside Google’s Platform-as-a-Service, App
Engine and large data-cruncher, BigQuery.

Sound familiar? Well you’d be right – it’s bares similarities
to Amazon’s EC2, Rackspace et al providing almost identical highly
scalable, pay-as-you-go computation power
. Key areas
in which Google Compute Engine is focusing on include batch
processing, large-scale data processing (hello Hadoop) and general
high-performance computing.

Delving deeper, you’ll find all the associated
Client API Libraries
to get going with Compute
Engine as well as a guide for using the RESTful API. The Google
Compute Engine API is built on HTTP and JSON making it send
requests and parse. All of it is open sourced, and Google are
working with numerous partners to better their

Google’s primary infrastructure architect Urs Holzle revealed
the reasons behind launching Google Compute Engine in Thursday’s
keynote; the main one being the success with App Engine had given
them the experience they needed to be successful in IaaS. He also
mentioned the small fact of their “decade of experience in building
and running Google search engine data centers”. Their

vast network does give them a slight advantage
over Amazon and the ability to hook up to App Engine and BigQuery
at will. You can also expect them to make a big deal about their
lack of downtime with App Engine, something which AWS can’t exactly

Google are being tight-lipped on full availability, releasing
Compute Engine in limited preview to only a select few, notably
only the US during the preview period.

This would leave Europeans short-changed, but Google also
revealed during I/O that an App Engine cluster is coming to the
continent, greatly reducing latency and improving performance for
customers using the formerly US-only hosted cloud platform. App
Engine allows users to host Java and Python-coded Web applications
right in the cloud, and is the ideal solution should you not have
infrastructure needs.

We were awaiting Google’s own vanilla IaaS offering for some
time, and this might be its undoing in the long run, as Amazon has
such a tight grip on the market. It will need to diversify itself
from its competitor, and no doubt sully the rival’s name, somewhat
to gain traction. The whole package from Google’s cloud department
is enticing and being allowed to cherry-pick the best parts could
lead to Compute Engine mounting a respectable challenge.

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