Typical of many Google product rollouts, the Compute Engine offering is available only in preview mode for select users. But pricing and technical specifications seem to put it in competition with AWS. A single virtual core from GCE comes with 3.25GB of memory with 420GB of local disk space for $0.145 per hour. Amazon's smallest Linux instance comes with 1.7GB of memory and 160GB of local storage for $0.08 per hour. For larger instances, GCE's eight-core offering comes with 30GB of memory and 2x1770GB of local storage for $1.16 per hour. AWS's extra-large instance comes with 15GB, 1690GB of local disk space and is priced at $0.64 per hour. Microsoft Azure's base-level VMs start at $0.013 per hour, but only include 768MB of RAM. Networking fees are extra for each of the services.
AWS already has a broad spectrum of supporting capabilities on its cloud platform, such as Simple Storage Service (S3), database services, such as Dynamo DB and Relational Database Service (RDS), as well as high-performance computing and application hosting. To build out the feature set in the Compute Engine, Google has also inked partnerships with other cloud providers to offer services that will give it standing against AWS. Cloud automation and migration tools such as Puppet Labs, RightScale, Opscode and CliQr were announced as initial Google partners, while MapR, a big data analytics tool, and Numerate, which specializes in cloud computing for the biotechnology industry, were also named as partners.
Perhaps as important as integration with third-party apps is the common Google platform that both the PaaS and IaaS offering share. That consistency of platforms has its advantages, says Forrester analyst James Staten. "It's easier and more cost effective to put more apps [with the same vendor]," Staten says, especially if the applications on the PaaS layer rely heavily on databases or compute power.
Google isn't the only company that's made a push into the infrastructure space. Microsoft made a similar move just weeks before Google's announcement, extending Linux and Windows virtual machines for rent to its Azure PaaS offering. "For Microsoft and Google it's an acknowledgement that PaaS alone isn't working and they need to provide the base IaaS to make their cloud platforms more appealing to enterprise buyers," Staten says.