Google aims cloud compute as Amazon rival

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Google aims cloud compute as Amazon rival

Analysis: Do the prices add up?

Google has unveiled its latest rivalry to Amazon's establish product suite, launching an infrastructure-as-a-service solution based on excess compute power from its data centres for the first time.

The search giant's Compute Engine is a rough equivalent of Amazon Web Services' EC2 and virtual servers offered from IaaS providers. It uses the company’s existing worldwide data centers and infrastructure.

But unlike most providers, Google's Compute Engine ditches support for Microsoft operating systems; customers will only be able to run computing workloads on servers running either Ubuntu 12.04 or CentOS 6.2 Linux platforms.

The service is expected to be particularly beneficial to businesses involved in video transcoding and rendering, large-scale data analysis and high-end grid computing. 

Google claims its Compute Engine will add up to 50 percent more value than other cloud providers.

"We worked hard for a decade to lower the cost of computing ... we're passing these savings on to you," said Urs Holzle, Google's senior vice president for technical infrastructure.

Last year, the company came under fire for significant price hikes to its platform as a service offering; Google App Engine.

At the present stage, the service is only available as a limited preview — only to those businesses requiring more than 100 virtual machines — and some pricing is listed as "promotional", making the service difficult to compare to other IaaS solutions.

A comparison of pricing shows Google's pricing tiers start at roughly the "medium" instance on Amazon EC2. Google's bottom tier starts at 14.5c per hour for a single-core virtual machine with 3.75 GB memory and 420 GB — for an additional 1.5c per hour, the same memory and storage can be acquired on Amazon, but with an additional compute unit.

The competing products remain in approximate lock-step up the tiers — Google's 29c, 2-core tier for 29c per hour offers the same memory and storage as Amazon's two-core, two compute unit tier which comes at an additional 3c per hour.

Google appears to trump Amazon, however, by offering an extra-large compute instance — eight cores, with 30 GB of memory and 3540 GB of storage for $1.16 per hour. Amazon's closest rival comes with half the storage and half the compute units, at an additional 14c per hour.

Otherwise, users can opt for the highest EC2 tier — with the same storage but double the memory, with eight compute units — for more than double the price.

Windows instances on Amazon's EC2 come at an additional premium.

The full Google Compute Engine pricing is below. All pricing is in US dollars.

VIrtual Machine Pricing

Configuration Virtual Cores Memory Storage Price/Hour
n1-standard-1-d 1 3.75 GB  420 GB $0.145
n1-standard-2-d 2 7.5 GB 870 GB $0.29
n1-standard-4-d 4 15 GB 1770 GB $0.58
n1-standard-8-d 8 30 GB 2x 1770 GB $1.16

Network Pricing

Configuration $/hour
Ingress Free
Egress to the same Zone Free
Egress to a different Cloud service within the same Region. Free
Egress to a different Zone in the same Region (per GB) $0.01
Egress to a different Region within the US $0.01 (promotional pricing)
Inter-continental Egress At internet egress rate

Persistent Disk Pricing

Provisioned space $0.10 GB/month
Snapshot storage $0.125 GB/month
IO Operations $0.10 per million

IP Address Pricing

Static IP address (assigned but unused) $0.01 per hour
Ephemeral IP address (attached to instance) Free 

Amazon Web Services, meanwhile, offers a Free Usage Tier which allows new AWS customers to get started with Amazon EC2 for free.

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