Google Cloud Platform vs Windows Azure

Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud Platform is a set of modular cloud-based services that allow you to create anything from simple websites to complex applications. Cloud Platform provides the building blocks so you can quickly develop everything from simple websites to complex applications. Explore how you can make Cloud Platform work for you.
Windows Azure
Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

Latest news about Google Cloud Platform and Windows Azure:

13.04.17. Microsoft launches new tools to help enterprises move to its Azure cloud. Microsoft says that 80 percent of the companies it talks to want to use a hybrid cloud approach and to help them move to its cloud platform Azure, the company is launching a number of new tools. The most important of these is the new Cloud Migration Assessment service. With this, companies can scan their existing IT infrastructure and get an estimate for what it would cost to move these services to Azure (and how much they could save in the process). Azure users can now also get a discount for moving their Windows Server licenses (with Software Assurance) to Azure. This new Azure Hybrid Use Benefit can save them up to 40 percent and is obviously meant to make it more attractive for existing Windows Server users to move their workloads to the cloud. For those who want to make that move, the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) tool is also getting a minor update. This service is mostly meant to help enterprises orchestrate their disaster recovery plans, however, it can also be used to migrate existing virtual machines to Azure.

13.03.17. Google Cloud Platform improved its free tier. Google launched an improved always-free tier and trial program for its Cloud Platform. The free tier, which now offers enough power to run a small app in Google’s cloud, now allows for free usage of a small (f1-micro) instance in Compute Engine, Cloud Pub/Sub, Google Cloud Storage and Cloud Functions. In total, the free tier now includes 15 services. The addition of the Compute Engine instance and 5GB of free Cloud Storage usage is probably the most important update here because those are, after all, the services that are at the core of most cloud applications. You can find the exact limits here. With this move, Google is clearly stepping up its attacks against AWS, which offers a similar but more limited free tier program for its users.

02.02.17. Google Cloud Platform takes on Windows Azure with new Windows VMs. Google announced several new products today aimed at luring IT pros who are using Windows in their data centers to the Google Cloud Platform. The company introduced support for Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise and Windows Server Core on the Cloud Platform. In addition, the company announced support for SQL Server Always-On Availability Group for customers who are concerned about high availability and disaster recovery when running critical operations in a cloud setting. What this means in practical terms is that IT pros can now launch pre-configured virtual machines running any of these products on Google Cloud Platform, and pay for them by the minute — or they can bring an existing SQL Server license they have already paid for.

12.01.17. Google Cloud Platform gets a new key management service. Google Cloud Platform is launching a new key management service, that will help enterprises, especially in regulated industries like healthcare and banking, to create, use, rotate and destroy their encryption keys in the cloud. Enterprises have traditionally managed their keys on-premise, but as they have slowly moved more of their workloads to the cloud, they have also started thinking about how they can manage their keys in the cloud, too. With the AWS Key Management Service and Azure Key Vault, Amazon and Microsoft have long offered a similar tool, for example, and even Google itself already offered a more basic version of Cloud KMS for users who wanted to supply their own encryption keys.

24.10.16. Google Cloud Platform gets new a cold storage service. Google launched Coldline - a new cold storage service for data archiving and disaster recovery (an alternative to Amazon Glacier). Google Cloud Storage already offered the similar service Nearline. But when Nearline came out of beta earlier this year, it also became much faster. Instead of three to five seconds of latency, access to data was now real-time. So, Coldline basically fills the gap that the improved Nearline service left after it came out of beta. Coldline storage will only cost $0.007 per gigabyte per month (and $0.05 per gigabyte retrieved). Nearline costs $0.01 per month. That may not look like a huge difference, but those numbers quickly add up if you are storing massive amounts of data.

20.11.15. Google launched custom machine types for its Cloud Platform. Google Cloud Platform launched a new way of buying virtual machines in its cloud - Custom Machine Types. With new Custom Machine Types, Google lets you specify exactly how many vCPUs (up to 32) and how much memory you need (up to 6.5 GiB per vCPU — Google likes to be precise, so it doesn’t use ‘gigabyte’ and instead specifies the number of gibibytes). If your needs change — as they inevitably will — you can adjust the number of cores and memory as needed. Maybe you’ve outgrown the virtual machine with two vCPUs. Typically, you would have to step up to a machine type with four vCPUs, even if you only needed three. Because you don’t have a choice, you end up paying for more power than you need.

31.01.15. VMware will make Google Cloud Platform available to its customers. Google is teaming up with VMware to make select Google Cloud Platform services available to VMware customers via vCloud Air, VMware’s hybrid cloud platform. Google BigQuery analytics and Google Cloud Storage, as well as Google’s Datastore and DNS services, will be available via vCloud Air sometime later this year, with other Google services potentially coming later. Depending on execution, both companies can claim a win here. VMware gets four Google services, including the powerful BigQuery analytics, to woo enterprise customers. Google gets to put some of its best and brightest IP in front of the enterprise cloud users it craves. Google needs a better hybrid cloud picture and VMware needs to prove its cloud can play with the big boys (or boy, meaning Amazon Web Services).

24.01.15. Google Cloud Platform now allows to store Docker container images. Google announced the beta launch of the Google Container Registry for its Cloud Platform. This new service allows developers to host, share and manage their private Docker container repositories on the company’s cloud computing platform. By default, Docker offers its own public images registry so developers can quickly install anything from a basic unadorned Ubuntu machine to servers that have already been set up to run WordPress, mongoDB, Hadoop or virtually any other server package you can think of. Many businesses have no interest in publishing their containers to a public repository, of course. They can run their own private repositories or use services like that offer this feature as a cloud-based service. At its core, that’s what Google’s Container Registry does, too, but with a focus on Google’s own cloud computing platform.

12.12.14. Google Cloud Platform now supports server-side software for Windows. Google introduced Microsoft License Mobility for Google Cloud Platform that means Google’s customers can move their existing Microsoft server application software licenses (SQL Server, SharePoint, Exchange Server, and so on) from on-premises to Google Cloud Platform without any additional Microsoft software licensing fees. This makes the transition to Google’s cloud easier, and it also lets customers who prefer to purchase perpetual licenses to continue to do so. Besides Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition is now available to all Google Cloud Platform customers in beta on Google Compute Engine. This option can be interesting for enterprises that want to mitigate risk in the cloud, and move some of their workloads from Azure to an alternate platform – in this case, Google cloud.

05.11.14. Google Cloud Platform slashes prices, adds containers, VPN support. During its Cloud Platform conference Google announced new products for its Google Cloud Platform. The first - service called Google Container Engine that lets businesses move from managing application components running on individual virtual machines to portable Docker containers that are scheduled into a managed compute cluster for you. Another addition is App Engine with auto-scaling support, Cloud SDK integration and support for runtimes built on Docker containers. Other rollouts include carrier interconnect with partners like Verizon and VPN support, starting in early 2015. This will let users keep apps and data in-house and using the public cloud for other tasks.  Google also slashed the prices for its Cloud Platform that should make both large and small-scale business partners happy. In addition to a 10% drop in pricing last month, here's a look at the latest cuts: BigQuery Storage falls almost 25%; PD Snapshots is down about 80%. Meanwhile, Disk SSD storage is cut nearly in half; and the price of large Cloud SQL instances dropped 25%.

25.10.14. Following SAP and Oracle, IBM jumps to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft already partnered with SAP and Oracle on its cloud-computing platform. And now IBM becomes the latest partner in Microsoft's enterprise software layer. According to the deal, companies will make IBM middleware such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ, and DB2 available on Microsoft Azure. Windows Server and SQL Server will be offered on IBM Cloud. Microsoft .NET runtime will become available for IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform. So, now Microsoft can boast about having the Big Four on its cloud platform for enterprises.

21.10.14. Microsoft Azure appliance makes comeback. Microsoft is launching a new Azure appliance that companies or service providers can deploy in their own data centers. Called the Cloud Platform System, the new appliance will run the same Azure APIs, services, hypervisor, and everything as the Azure public cloud and will be able to connect easily to the Azure public cloud. The appliance is especially interesting considering Microsoft’s previous dabbling into the idea of Azure appliances. It has previously floated the idea of selling appliances to a few large service provider partners such as HP, and even launched a program to help web hosts to launch their own versions of Azure. Both of them appear to have fallen along the wayside for various business and technological reasons, but now the appliance is back.

15.10.14. Microsoft and Docker team up to make containers play nice on Windows Server and Azure. Microsoft and Docker are partnering up to ensure that Docker’s container technology will be fully compatible with the next release of Windows Server. Through this partnership, developers will have a native version of the Docker engine running inside Windows. While Microsoft has previously enabled the use of Docker on its Azure cloud, developers had to do a series of tasks to get containers up and running. Now, it will be much easier for developers to spin up Docker containers on Azure without having to do any modifications as they’ll will be able to access the Docker Hub within the Azure management portal.

30.08.14. Microsoft Azure now also supports Google's Kubernetes. Few days ago we reported that VMWares's vCloud added support for Google's open-source container technology Kubernetes, and now Microsoft is also supporting it on the company’s Azure cloud platform. For two companies, Google and Microsoft, not historically known for their open source work, that’s quite surprising. But thus they’re trying to steal market share from Amazon Web Services, by allowing cloud developers move relatively easily among cloud platforms and retain the same general experience of launching and managing applications. Besides Google, Microsoft and VMWare this technology was also recently supported by Red Hat and IBM, so it's likely to become the de facto standard for cloud platforms.

22.08.14. Microsoft unveils Azure DocumentDB, a NoSQL database as a service. Microsoft is expanding its Azure platform again, this time rolling out a NoSQL database service Azure DocumentDB. As far as other cloud-provider-developed services go, DocumentDB sounds a lot more like Google’s similarly understated Cloud Datastore service than it does Amazon Web Services’ DynamoDB, which is actually more like a key-value store than a document database. Additional new products as part of the new Microsoft Data Platform include Azure Search and fully managed HBase as part of Microsoft’s HDInsight Hadoop service. It’s the kind of innovation Microsoft needs to focus on if it’s going to lure new developers and really compete in the cloud.

18.08.14. Microsoft improves Windows Azure security with enhanced encryption. Microsoft is enhancing the encryption of data transfers between users and the Azure cloud guest operating systems.  The encryption improvements, which apply to Microsoft Azure cipher solution for hosted guest virtual machines, gives users better and more secure connections during the transmission of data. The new enhancements apply to the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which makes it harder to decrypt connections and information going across such connections. This follows  recent moves by Google to secure and encrypt emails and encryption upgrades for and OneDrive. Besides, last year, Google also announced that users’ data that is placed in its Cloud Storage system will be encrypted by default.

18.06.14. Microsoft unveiled Artificial Intelligence platform on top of Windows Azure. Remember how in the book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" people were constantly giving super-smart robot Marvin very simple instructions, and because of this he was always in depression. The same problem is with Cloud Computing. The main function of Cloud Computing today is simple data storage. We put data to the Cloud, and then access it. That's all. But soon the situation will change and the Cloud will start thinking. IT giants are becoming serious about intelligent data processing technologies. IBM created Watson. Google acquired DeepMind. And now Microsoft introducing Azure Machine Learning - the cloud platform which developers can use to quickly create applications for predicting the future. For example, these apps can help traders to buy only those products that will be demanded, or help manufacturers fix the equipment before it breaks.

07.04.14. Don't like cloud pricing? Wait a minute. According to the latest news, you need to wait just around 5 days before prices of cloud computing services will substantially drop. On March 26 Google announced price cut for Google Compute Engine (by 32%)  and Google App Engine (by 30%). And the cost of Google's cloud storage was reduced by as much as 68% (up to $0,026 per month per 1 GB). In 24 hours, Amazon responded - reduced the price of EC2 virtual machines by 30-40%, and the cost of S3 data storage - by 60% (down to $0,024 per gigabyte). Microsoft was very busy in recent days, so it reacted only after 5 days. Microsoft cut Windows Azure prices so that they were either identical or slightly lower than Amazon's. These three providers (Amazon, Microsoft and Google) reduce the cloud pricing so often that other players (IBM, Oracle, Rackspace, HP) simply can't take part in this cloud arms race, and the open cloud platform OpenStack also can't get the considerable market share.

04.02.14. Satya Nadella - new Microsoft CEO. So, from now instead of the showman Steve Ballmer, techie-guy Satya Nadella will rule Microsoft. This video - his first interview as CEO. Nandelle is 46 years old, from which 22 years he worked at Microsoft. Before this appointment, Satya Nadella led the Cloud and Enterprise department. His time at MS oversaw a period of huge growth for Microsoft Business Services, too, growing that segment of the business from a $1.5 billion slice of pie to a $5 billion segment in just five years’ time. He was involved in the development of Windows Azure, Office 365 , Bing, SkyDrive, Xbox Live, Skype and Dynamics. In his first email to employees Nandella noted that Microsoft, primarily, should reimagine its mobile and cloud strategy. By the way, Bill Gates now leaves the Microsoft chairman position and (in his free time) will advise Nadella on the future technologies.

31.01.14. Amazon and Microsoft drop cloud prices. Cloud computing is becoming cheaper and cheaper. So, if you once (for example, a year ago) calculated whether it was cost-effective to migrate your IT infrastructure to the cloud and decided that it was still expensive, then recalculate again. Since then, cloud platform reduced prices two or three times. Another round of happening now. Since tomorrow  Amazon S3 cloud storage pricing will decrease by 6-22 % (depending on the used space), and the cost of cloud server hard drives (Amazon EBS) will fall by 50%. And a month later Microsoft's cloud platform Windows Azure  will reduce its prices by 20% to keep them a little lower than Amazon's. So think once again, why buy an in-house server if the cost of the cloud tends to zero.