Cloud computing has revolutionized IT in the last decade, with over 94% of enterprises currently leveraging the benefits of cloud computing for some part of their business. Migrating to a cloud environment can improve a business’s reliability, scalability, and cost savings.
To help you understand the current cloud provider landscape and the advantages and disadvantages of each provider, we’ve developed a series of blogs breaking down the top three cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure. This particular blog is focused on the pros and cons of GCP.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a suite of public cloud computing services offered and run on the same infrastructure as Google. GCP has proven to be a formidable competitor in the industry primarily due to its focus on hybrid and multi-cloud, data analytics, machine learning, and open-source technologies. It pitches scale, reliability, and brand familiarity as its value proposition in the competitive marketplace while making an effort to adapt its services to a less tech-savvy audience.
Some may argue that GCP is best suited for smaller startups or SMBs, but many large enterprises like PayPal, Twitter, and Etsy trust GCP with their cloud computing needs. GCP’s market share has fluctuated since its launch in 2008, but its revenue continues to grow. In Q3 of 2021, GCP’s revenue grew 54% – more than both AWS and Azure. The future is hopeful for GCP as innovations like AI and machine learning, which GCP heavily invests in, become more prominent in the marketplace.
This blog explores the key advantages and disadvantages of GCP to help you make the best decision while considering it as your cloud provider. Let’s dive into it.
Key Advantages of GCP
GCP touts an innovative business plan, focusing on big data. Its big data analytics solutions that enable businesses to obtain powerful data insights with the click of a button are key differentiators in the market. GCP also outshines its competitors regarding open-source integration and its development of the widely accepted Kubernetes standard used even by AWS and Azure.
GCP is the industry leader in AI and machine learning development, specifically credited to the TensorFlow service. TensorFlow provides an end-to-end, open-source library for developers to build and deploy machine learning applications. GCP enables freethinking, open-source enthusiasts and developers to fully customize their space and workloads, an essential differentiating factor compared to AWS and Azure.
GCP is committed to an open cloud approach, investing early in offerings like Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Anthos, Looker, and BigQuery Omni. These services support hybrid and multicloud environments and integrate with other public clouds, like AWS and Azure. For example, developers can create one multicloud management layer with Anthos, analyze data across clouds with BigQuery Onmi, and use Looker to create a dashboard to visualize behavior and trends. Optimizing and managing multiple clouds is made simple with GCP.
Like the other cloud providers, GCP’s pricing is flexible – but GCP outshines its competition regarding its free tier and long-term cost savings options. If you are willing to make an extended up-front commitment to the cloud platform, you can achieve even more significant savings than with the pay-as-you-go model. Referred to as committed use discounts, GCP users can receive up to a 70% discount on VM usage when committing to using and paying for those resources for 1 or 3 years. Though it is difficult to directly compare prices because each company charges differently for block storage, instances, and objects, some IT professionals see GCP as less expensive and more customer-friendly than AWS or Azure. However, the cost ultimately depends on your company’s setup and the services you require.
Google Cloud has spared no expense in investing in new technologies and expanding its geographic reach. As of 2022, the company has released plans to continue expanding into the following regions: Doha (Qatar), Paris (France), Milan (Italy), Madrid (Spain), Turin (Italy), Columbus (US), Berlin (Germany), Dammam (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Dallas (Texas), and Tel Aviv (Israel). A top priority for Google Cloud is supporting its customers’ reinventions and focusing on digital transformation.
In summary, the main benefits of GCP are:
- Integration with Google technologies
- Open-source and DevOps-centric
- Advanced AI, machine learning, and data analytics solutions
- Long-term cost savings
- Focus on multicloud and hybrid cloud
Key Disadvantages of GCP
Like the other two cloud providers, GCP has its drawbacks. Having less experience and time in the cloud market, GCP struggles to keep up with the other cloud providers’ more extensive service offerings and infrastructure. GCP’s available services are enough to run almost any business, but AWS and Azure have double the amount available to customers. Specialized services and features may not be developed yet or available to GCP customers, requiring them to integrate with other products to satisfy needs. The lack of services is often a deciding factor for many larger companies that assume they will need to use more than the 90 available services from GCP.
GCP also struggles to keep up with AWS’s number of data centers, trailing behind AWS’s 38 with only 29. In terms of availability zones and regions, GCP has less than half the number of regions as Azure. Consequently, GCP’s availability, resiliency, and speed cannot compare to that of AWS and Azure. This can be a limitation for large-scale global enterprises that plan to host their data and perform operations worldwide and is essential to consider if you fall into that category.
The last noted drawback is GCP’s documentation and training. Multiple peer reviews on Gartner point out that Google Cloud’s documentation is outdated and uses technical jargon that is difficult to understand, even for IT professionals. Like Azure, many users find it challenging to solve technical issues or find answers to even simple questions using the provided help material.
In summary, the major drawbacks of GCP are:
- Limited features and services
- Fewer global data centers
- Regional restrictions for data storage
- Outdated documentation
- Limitations for large-scale enterprises
As we look toward the future, the question is no longer whether you should move to the cloud; rather, who should you select as your cloud provider when you do, and what is the best way to optimize your current strategy?
GCP is best suited for organizations that leverage open-source technologies, integrate with third-party software, and require AI and ML capabilities. It is also a great solution if you’re operating on a low budget or are planning to implement a multicloud strategy. However, if you anticipate needing to leverage many features or support a broad geographic area, you may want to consider AWS or Azure instead.
How Wizeline Can Help
Wizeline takes a vendor-agnostic approach to cloud solutions and provides custom cloud strategies tailored to each client’s business and technology needs. We have experience working with all three leading cloud providers and the resources and expertise necessary to make every partnership successful. Check out our latest guide to cloud providers to see a complete overview of each cloud provider and get some tips on optimizing your cloud strategy.