How will customers decide whether to use Google Compute Engine, Rackspace Cloud, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, or another IaaS provider?
Google competitive factors:
- When you create a Google Compute Engine account and use their resources, they provide a private network, a LAN of sorts that spans different regions. For example, if you set up an architecture to replicate a database from region A to region B, in the Google cloud, you don’t need to traverse the public Internet to do it. You’re using their private network.
How precisely that network is implemented (as its own private fiber or simply a very efficiently-routed VPN) is not disclosed by Google. But the key thing is that the whole structure is seen as a single network from a programming point of view. This makes it easier if you’re building cross-regional architectures.
- Another key difference was boot times, which are both fast and consistent in Google’s cloud. A basic Ubuntu image boots in about two minutes. That consistency and speed matters in two contexts: Automation in scaling, which is more responsive if it works faster, and the daily rhythms of a dev-and-test environment, where folks are building up and tearing down multi-server environments, which allows faster iteration.
- Third is encryption. Google offers at-rest encryption for all storage, whether it’s local or attached over a network. “Everything’s automatically encrypted,” says Crandell, “and it’s encrypted outside the processing of the VM so there’s no degradation of performance to get that feature.” Amazon offers encryption for S3 objects, but it’s an optional, enabled-per-object feature.
Amazon Web Services offers a broader palette of instance types with higher CPU and RAM caps than GCE does right now, so there’s little danger of GCE eclipsing Amazon in the short run even if GCE’s pricing is highly competitive. Plus, the sheer level of existing adoption of Amazon’s services, and the de facto standard Amazon has brought to IaaS, makes switching away (even with tools like RightScale’s) that much tougher.