Wednesday, February 28, 2024

What is Google Cloud Platform (GCP)?

Conceptual illustration of cloud computing and cloud services.

Cloud computing services have completely revolutionised the way businesses operate.

By having access to entirely flexible and scalable computing resources which are powerful, whilst not requiring onsite hardware the cloud console has done wonders for businesses. One of the top cloud managed service providers in this industry is Google cloud platform (GCP) and this article will cover its key features, benefits, uses and a case study on how businesses use the cloud platform.

What is GCP?

Google cloud platform (gcp) is Google’s most comprehensively developed suit of cloud services. On an elementary level, google cloud platform enables a business to build, execute and scale a wide range of applications or services whilst making use of Google’s vast global infrastructure.

Businesses have also started to heavily invest in cloud-first strategies, in an attempt to completely streamline all operations and acquire instantaneous scalability.

Overview of GCP

The Google cloud platform infrastructure is enormous and offers a lot of cloud services. Each service can play a pivotal role depending on your business, but here is a simple and digestible breakdown of Google cloud platform services.

Google compute engine

Imagine a virtual machine in the cloud which enables businesses to run all of their applications via Google’s infrastructure. Essentially, compute engine is letting businesses run their workload through virtual machine instances on Google’s physical hardware whilst not needing the physical infrastructure on their end.

Businesses can utilise compute engine at whatever capacity suits them best, by choosing between sizing options through Google cloud storage and integrating it with other cloud platform services.

 

Run applications and operations through Google’s infrastructure.

App engine

Another powerful function offered by Google cloud platform which simplified application development and deployment, is App engine.

Because of its ability in supporting many programming languages, App engine is a favourite amongst many software developers and one of the most commonly used cloud services. Another benefit of this cloud platform is its automatic scaling of applications based on demand and autonomously taking care of infrastructure management.

Enables developers to focus on writing code without distraction.

Kubernetes engine

A more complex offering of Google cloud platform is the Kubernetes engine. This managed container orchestration service was made to deploy, manager and scale containerised applications seamlessly.

By running this cloud platform, businesses can load balance for multiple virtual machines and automatically repairs nodes for their health. The main intention of using this cloud computing service is to significantly remove operational overheads.

Total control over all functions related to containerised applications.

Cloud storage

Google cloud data storage is the most commonly used service by all businesses. Cloud storage is an unlimited data storage solution which can hold various types of data including, files, images and videos.

A significant benefit of this Google cloud platform service is using it for backup. Cloud storage is readily available, scalable and can easily be integrated with other cloud platform offerings. Smaller businesses often think that only larger firms need cloud storage, but its efficiency in creating organised storage and safety features make it essential for any sized business.

Store files, images, video and data on a scalable storage system.

BigQuery

BigQuery is a prime example of why cloud computing is a powerful tool. By analysing massive datasets instantaneously from a serverless data warehouse, the cloud platform is able support fast and interactive queries on big data. And the best part of all, it provides these analytics in a simplified manner.

In particular, BigQuery’s cloud machine learning engine is great for adapting to individual business needs.

Realtime data analysis tool for big data.

Networking and security services

Cybersecurity is a concern for businesses of all sizes and the threat for data vulnerability is ever-present. Luckily, the Google cloud platform is many steps ahead and has several robust cybersecurity management tools as part of its repertoire.

Similar to a VPN, Google cloud resources for security include a virtual private cloud, cloud DNS, cloud loan balancing, cloud identity and a lot more.

Importance of cloud computing and GCP

Everything is far more simplified thanks to cloud computing.

The Google cloud platform which has been developed by virtue of cloud computing, has allowed businesses to maintain sustainable growth.

In fact, most businesses now opt for a cloud-first strategy. According to Accenture, 95% of business leaders use cloud services, providing a clear indication on why every business should be making use of it.

Advantages of the Google cloud platform

Let’s delve into the list of why almost every business is using Google cloud services.

Scalability and flexibility

The scalability of Google cloud services are completely unmatched. The normal process of upscaling or downscaling your infrastructure involves a lot of manual work, such as managing hardware, server rooms, controlling security etc.

But with Google cloud platform your ability to quickly adapt to fluctuating demands, without the need for significant upfront investments in hardware or infrastructure is a major advantage.

Small businesses have been the quickest to leverage from its flexible capabilities and it has been a saving grace for those which need cloud platform services on a temporary basis.

Cost-effectiveness

The Google cloud platform is also efficient in saving businesses capital.

For example, the average business is reducing energy consumption cost by 30-60% by incorporating Google cloud platform resources. Of course, this also helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions and can be seen as a way of contributing to your ESG strategy.

It’s also important to note that no reports indicate a loss in overall capital when making the complete switch to Google cloud platform resources. Every time a business decides to introduce a new piece of technology, they don’t require new equipment and this alone saves around 20% in capital.

And it doesn’t stop there. A business generates incoming by working efficiently no matter the location of their employees. Whether a team is working remotely or conducting business on the move, the Google cloud platform technology can be accessed anywhere.

Integration with other cloud services

Cloud service providers are always working to develop seamless integration between all cloud technology. The benefit of easy integration amongst each cloud platform is similar to having a team of people.

Each cloud technology has its own strength and capabilities, hence by leveraging these simultaneously your efficiency is multiplied. Google cloud platform also let’s users integrate their services with other cloud service providers and the whole ecosystem is simple to navigate.

Security and compliance

Every cloud service provider heavily invests in developing robust security measures to protect their data and applications. Google cloud and other top cloud providers, are fully aware that they must safeguard their consumers data, which is why they employ advanced encryption techniques.

Cloud providers conduct regular security audits and help businesses meet regulatory compliance requirements by offering several certifications.

Innovation and agility

Machine learning has helped cloud providers make leaps and bounds.

Not only is Google cloud constantly self-improving through big data, but it addresses gaps in the market. The machine learning enables developers to create applications which assist with other functions of business that still need more technological advancements.

Global infrastructure and reliability

Google cloud is the most renown provider in its industry and has consistently been reliable by virtue of its global infrastructure. It has strategically located data centers around the world for 24/7 availability and mechanisms in place to counteract any infrastructure failures or regional outages.

Disaster recovery and business continuity

Every business owner knows how devastating a traditional disaster can be for operations. The complex labour involved in getting your systems back online, checking for damaged hardware and ensuring your data isn’t lost is an arduous process.

 
Google cloud storage is spread across many global data centers

Cloud computing eliminates this through the automated backups and disaster recovery solutions it provides. Even if a Google data center was to experience a natural disaster, the data of other businesses remains safe as they replicate it across their global infrastructure.

Examples of GCP usage by industry

Sometimes we only associate the usage of cloud products by corporate businesses, but there are many other industries which make use of GCP.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry holds large volumes of sensitive patient data and they heavily rely on scalable cloud storage. GCP offers industry specific services such as Cloud Healthcare API and Cloud Healthcare Data Loss prevention, because of how confidential patient data is.

E-commerce

Businesses in the e-commerce industry often experience unpredictable spikes in website traffic and need instantaneous scalable solutions to handle this. Additionally, GCP’s data analytics tools such as BigQuery are ideal for retailers that need to analyse customer data and use machine learning to pick up on trends.

Gaming

Real-time multiplayer experiences require high-end cloud services to facilities and scale game servers dynamically. Enabling real-time communication between players is resource intensive and would be a large upfront cost if done through your own hardware.

Case study example

Spotify is a prime example of a business that needs cloud based services.

With more than 50 million tracks and 271 million listeners, the music stream application has made full use of the Google cloud and its enormous memory storage. Given that Spotify aims to provide song suggestions for their users, Google cloud is able to do this through their machine learning system.

Spotify said their ability to analyse data in real-time without needing their own infrastructure has streamlined the entire process. 

Google cloud removes a lot of the operational complexity from our ecosystem.

The music streaming applications has collaborated closely with Google to develop a customised and scalable solution depending on their immediate needs – especially technology which preserves customer privacy.

Should my business use GCP?

The Google cloud platform is one of the most sustainable solutions for businesses looking to gain access to high end technology without large upfront investments.

Its scalability and flexibility to adjust based off individual needs makes the cloud provider worth it. Businesses can also integrate multiple cloud tools and highly optimise their efficiency. Overall, Google cloud platform and other cloud providers are one of the most reliable methods for businesses to acquire technology.

But as with anything, it’s important to know the disadvantages of cloud computing before committing your business to the Google cloud platform.

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Amy Menzies

Amy Menzies

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