A Comprehensive Guide to Google’s Cloud Computing Services.
How does my Gmail work?
Where do all the videos that I watch on Youtube get uploaded?
How is Google Drive transferring all my data?
The answer to all of these questions can be found in the cloud! In this case, to be more precise, in Google Cloud Platform!
Google Cloud Platform is one of the three biggest cloud providing services in the world. They offer a holistic console to build and deploy cloud services by renting out their infrastructure to other businesses and applications. They also offer a huge variety of direct-to-consumer services by using their cloud hosting infrastructure and data centers. These include some everyday apps that have made collaboration and data access easy, apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Classroom, the entire G-Suite offering services like Slides, Sheets, and Docs all run with the power of the cloud!
So if you are using the internet, chances are you have already used Google’s cloud services! In this article, we are going to deep dive into the powerhouse that is backing up Google’s famous cloud services and discusses everything from how it works to how you can work for it, all the benefits and disadvantages of using GCP, and everything that makes GCP stand out from it are other two major competitors Amazon and Microsoft Azure.
By the end of this road, you will get a basic idea of the landscape attached to GCP; knowing all these factors can help you decide whether or not to use GCP for your work, whether a GCP certification is something that might add value to you, and hopefully help you find more efficient ways to leverage all the offerings provided by GCP.
Let us get started with the very first question.
What is Google Cloud Platform?
Google Cloud Platform is the cloud console offered by the leading tech giant Google. It covers the cloud services offered by Google to help other businesses and individuals use the cloud to build and provide their services to their customers by using the cloud. It also offers assistance to enterprises across all verticals to digitally transform their operations and work more smoothly.
GCP offers a range of computing services to help with GCP cost management, data management services, managing distribution of web and video over the internet, and offering AI and machine learning tools to build new technology. Currently, GCP offers over 90+ IT services known as products to help businesses, IT technicians, and developers scale and accelerate their operations.
The history behind GCP
Currently, Google offers over 100 products, out of which 20 of these are free for all. Where did it all begin, however? Google Cloud started back in 2008 by offering a testing preview of their App Engine to developers across the globe. This app engine allowed them to create and manage their web applications with ease. After getting feedback and noting down the observations made by several developers, the services were rolled out for the general public.
By late 2011 it was made available to everyone. Now, some of the biggest companies like PayPal, Nintendo, and Etsy use it for their everyday operations.
Google Cloud Vs. Google Cloud Platform
At the start of this article, we spoke about many direct-to-consumer cloud services that Google offers like Youtube, Gmail, Google Workspace, and more. These form a part of Google’s cloud services, but this is not what we are interested in talking about today. We are putting the focus on the backbone of these services: Google Cloud Platform.
The platform provides the infrastructure and resources needed to deliver these services. While Google offers a host of their services, they also rent out their infrastructure to enterprises. Developers across the globe build and manage their private cloud services.
Where does this infrastructure come from?
Google Cloud Platform is powered through a range of physical assets: computers, hard disk drives, and virtual machines contained in physical storage units known as data centers. Information stored in these data centers is made available using cloud services. These data centers are spread across the globe to provide people with faster deployment of services based on their geographical location.
Google has multiple data centers across regions that are spread throughout the globe. The regions are further split into zones. These are named by using s letter identifier put in front of the region; for example, a zone in East Asia would be named Asia-east1-a. Spreading the distribution allows Google to reduce latency by providing people with resources close to where they plan to deliver and reducing the risk of data loss or failure outages caused by having a wide presence around the globe.
How can I access these services?
You can access Google’s Cloud Platform in three basic ways: directly through their Cloud Console, using the cloud command-line tool, or accessing their client libraries.
- Google Cloud Console: A user-friendly interface that allows people to access and manage their cloud projects and resources. You can create projects for every new task you try to execute using the cloud. You can divide access and work by splitting your work into multiple projects and choosing how you would want to work on separately for each project.
- Command Line Tool: If you prefer to work with code directly in the common line, you can use Google Shell to access their virtual machines and run your interface directly through the command line itself. Through this, you can access:
- A temporary Compute Engine virtual machine instance.
- A built-in code editor.
- Persistent Disk Storage
- Cloud SDK and other tools that you may have previously installed.
- Find language support for Python, Ruby, Java, and more.
- Have built-in authorization to access everything on the cloud console.
- Client Libraries: This refers to the Google Cloud SDKs that provide you with access to manage and create cloud resources by giving you access to the existing load of API services. These APIs can help you connect your services and provide you with more holistic access; they can also ease administrative tasks by enabling individuals with more functionality to build their tools to create automated tools from scratch. These client libraries also give you access to services like Maps, Drive, Youtube.
What does GCP offer?
The Google Cloud Program offers a host of services, and their list is only expanding. Some of their services are region-specific, but their popular services include:
- Hosting and Computing
- Storage and database
- Big Data
- Machine learning
Google Cloud Platform‘s services span computes, networking, artificial intelligence, storage and management, big data, identity and security, and management tools. Here are a few popular products under each category:
- Compute Engine: A secure compute service that can be completely customized and used to create and run virtual machines on Google’s infrastructure.
- Cloud Storage: A secure storage service for enterprises of all sizes lets you store and retrieve any amount of data you would like.
- Cloud SDK: A library with resources and command tools that can control and understand the products and services offered by Google.
- Google Kubernetes Engine: This product allows you to deploy, scale, and manage Kubernetes easily.
- BigQuery: A multi-cloud data warehouse that helps make businesses more agile by providing agile solutions to scale and manage their operations.
- Dataflow: Serverless batch data processing and analytics solution for enterprises looking to manage their data processing quickly and inexpensively.
- Anthos: A product that provides you with single-view access to manage your infrastructure and applications across clouds, premise, and other locations all through one single Google dashboard.
- Cloud Run: A dashboard to manage all your containerized applications on Google.
- Operations: This allows you to monitor, log and note the performance of your applications.
- Cloud CDN: A product that lets you deliver content like images and videos across cloud networks.
- Cloud SQL: A relational database service that provides you with extension collections, configuration flags, and developer ecosystems to manage your servers like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL without worrying about doing it all by yourself.
There are several more products under each of these categories, and you can explore the full list on Google’s product page by clicking here.
Google Cloud Platform Vs. Microsoft Azure Vs. Amazon Web Services
While there are one too many cloud providers in the market, to try and count for the race for the top has been reserved for three industry sharks, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. The whole world is moving onto the trend of using cloud services, and it is the way to go with the internet. The question is no longer why you should use the cloud but rather more of who should you choose when picking a cloud service provider?
While there are a bunch to pick from in this section right here, we will focus on all the offerings that differentiate the big 3: Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, to help you conclude which one is better for YOU!
Now when speaking of what sets them apart, there is a bunch of things to consider because, on the face of it, all three are great cloud service providers, in a highly competitive rivalry with each other, which means that as a customer, you are guaranteed to get almost all of the mainstream cloud services and be satisfied with their quality from either of the providers regardless of whom you choose.
Comparison at a glance
Google: While Google was the last to enter the cloud market, they are a very well-funded enterprise in the competition. Compared to the other two, it does not focus on enterprise, but it more than makes up for its tech expertise where it lacks in this. Google is an industry leader when it comes to deep learning, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It is also the most sustainable cloud service provider. It offers a bunch of free tools and free credit to help get individuals started.
What kind of services would you find with Google Cloud Program?
GCP offers relative ease of use and setup, making it easy for newcomers looking for cloud services. With GCP, you can find:
- App development
- SMB business analytics and AI
- Productivity and workload management tools
- Data management and storage
Amazon: AWS is the leading cloud service provider. They were the first to market and enjoyed staying in the market without any competition, allowing it to establish its market share for quite sometime before Microsoft and Google came around. Amazon is great, but its primary focus is on the public cloud, meaning that interoperability is not the top priority at an Amazon data center if you are a private or hybrid cloud enterprise. Their cost structure can also be a little confusing for businesses to understand fully.
What kind of services would you find at Amazon Web Services?
Amazon offers a range of cloud services, and they are adding to this list quite frequently. However, when you sign up for AWS, you are signing up for:
- Developer, engagement, and management tools
- Database and storage solutions
- Business productivity tools
- App integrations
- Machine learning and predictive analysis
Microsoft: A very close competitor to Amazon, Microsoft is the runner-up leading cloud service provider in the market. With its years of experience working to help build professional tools to accelerate businesses, you might say Microsoft has an inside window into figuring out the needs of an enterprise. It completely understands the functionality of businesses and focuses heavily on providing seamless interoperability to businesses that are still keeping their roots attached with their private data centers.
What are some services offered by Microsoft Azure?
Here is a bunch of services that Microsoft Azure offers:
- Game and app development
- Scalable data warehousing
- Blockchain technology
- Big data and predictive analytics
Here is a table that gives you an overview of the key differences between the three platforms:
Zero maintenance costs
Compliant and Regulated
Pay for what you use
Agile Structure for Innovation
Compatibility and Integration
Limitations with Infrastructure
How to Get Started with Google Cloud Platform?
Google Cloud Platform offers the most user-friendly options for small businesses and individuals to explore their cloud infrastructure. For starters, they offer 300 USD worth of free credits to use their resources in a 90 day trial period. Apart from this, they also offer 20 free cloud projects with storage and usage limitations to customers to explore their cloud console. GCP offers a host of self-learning materials to help people get familiarised with their tools and services. Their Quickstarts section has broken down the basic learnings needed into short tutorials. It is available to all via their site here.
How can I land a job as Google cloud professional?
Like Amazon and Azure, Google offers certifications that help individuals validate their skills and land a job at Google. The cloud industry is growing, and Google is one of the prime companies looking to dominate this space. This means that Google is consistently looking to hire. Having a GCP certification can be invaluable in helping you land a job or boost your career to a nicer promotion.
GCP offers 9 cloud certifications divided into 3 categories: Foundational, Associate, and Professional! Here is a breakdown of all the course certifications:
- Cloud Digital Leader: This certification covers the core products and services offered by GCP. It is a foundational certification that tests an individual’s knowledge and skills when it comes to applying GCP products. The exam is divided into general cloud knowledge, general google cloud knowledge, and cloud products and services.
- Associate Cloud Engineer Certification: This certification validates a professional’s knowledge of deploying applications, monitoring operations, and managing solutions. It tests an individual’s skills when using the Google Cloud Console. It tests the efficiency with which they can perform basic platform-based tasks to deploy Google-managed or self-managed solutions on Google Cloud. This certification is ideal for anyone with 6 months of hands-on experience using the cloud console or familiar with setting up, planning and configuring, and deploying cloud solutions.
- Professional Cloud Architect: Perfect for people trying to break into the professional cloud space, this certification is ideal for individuals with 3+ years of industry experience, including 1+ years designing and managing solutions using GCP. The certification tests an individual’s ability to design and plan a cloud solution architecture, manage the infrastructure, analyze and optimize technical and business processes, manage implementations of cloud architecture, ensure solutions and operations reliability, and design for security and compliance.
- Professional Cloud Developer: If you are interested in building scalable and highly available applications using the GCP tools and practices, this certification is for you. It tests an individual’s knowledge and experience with cloud-native applications, developer tools, managing services, and handling next-generation databases. Ideal for individuals familiar with at least one programming knowledge, this certification is recommended for people with 3+ years of industry experience, including 1+ years, designing and managing solutions using Google Cloud.
- Professional Data Engineer: A certification for individuals that can enable data-driven decision-making by collecting, transforming, and publishing data. This exam tests your ability to design, build, operationalize, secure, and monitor data processing systems with special emphasis on security and compliance. Data engineers should be able to design data processing systems, build and operate data processing systems, operate machine learning models, and test security and compliances for their solution models.
- Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer: This certification is for skilled individuals efficient in building software delivery pipelines, deploying and monitoring services, and managing to form incidents. The certification tests your knowledge of optimizing service performance, implementing service monitoring strategies, building and implementing CI/CD pipelines, and applying site reliability.
- Professional Cloud Security Engineer: A certification designed for professionals interested in the space of cloud security. A professional cloud security engineer should be able to identify and access management, define organizational structure and policies, configure network security defenses, use Google technologies to provide data protection, analyze Google Cloud logs, manage incident responses, and understand dynamic regulatory considerations.
- Professional Cloud Network Engineer: This certification is ideal for individuals looking to manage and implement network architecture in the Google Cloud. It involves working with professionals that design cloud infrastructure. This certification tests the ability to design, plan, and prototype a google cloud network, an individual’s knowledge of implementing virtual private clouds (VPC), and the ability to configure network services to implement hybrid interconnectivity. Take this exam if you can manage, monitor, and optimize network operations.
- Professional Machine Learning Engineers: One of the newer additions, and one of the most interesting spaces to be in, in the cloud engineer space, this certification tests an individual’s ability to work with machine learning and artificial intelligence models. An ML engineer should identify machine learning problems, identify timely solutions, create scalable machine learning models, and automate pipelines. If you are interested in monitoring, optimizing, and developing machine learning solutions, this certification is for you!
- Professional Collaboration Engineer: If you want to land a job as an IT systems administrator, cloud solutions engineer, enterprise collaboration engineer, or systems engineer, we suggest you look into the collaboration engineer certificate offered by GCP.
This certification validates an individual’s knowledge of organizational infrastructure, collaboration skills, and ability to create solutions using tools, programming languages, and APIs to automate workflows. Post this certification; an individual should plan and implement Google Workspace authorization and access confidently, manage user, resource, and shared drive life cycles, configure and manage endpoint access, and have an advanced understanding of Google Workspace.
How can you prepare for these certifications?
GCP offers many resources for training on their website; these allow candidates to prepare for all the points covered in the exam and are great for gaining knowledge. However, how does one fully prepare for all the questions that the certification exams will throw their way?
QwikSkills offers you a range of specialized practice tests that cover the most frequently asked questions and provide you with an exam-like atmosphere. These are great for evaluating where you stand and offer you higher confidence and level of preparedness for the exam. You can check out our GCP practitioner tests here.
Google Cloud Platform For Enterprise
Leading businesses across the globe choose Google’s cloud services every day to enhance their daily operations. Google Cloud Platform’s Cloud Console provides users with services for computing, cloud storage, cloud SDK, cloud SQL, Google Kubernetes Engine, Dataflow, Anthos, and 100+ more products. It offers transparent pricing solutions, customized services to help suit your business needs.
Overall, Google provides you with cost-friendly, energy-efficient solutions to increase your operational efficiency. Enterprises like Voot, HDFC, Sharechat, Vistara, Forbes, and FedEx all use Google cloud. GCP also offers 300 USD worth of free cloud credits and 20 tools to help startups and small businesses leverage cloud services.
Here are some pros and cons of using Google Cloud Platform
We know that Google is a leading force when it comes to cloud technology but what makes it so great? Moreover, where does it fall short compared to its competitors like Azure and AWS?
Here are the major pros and cons of GCP:
- Good features are making it a popular choice in the open-source community.
- Flexible pricing model.
- Consistently innovating in the machine learning and AI space.
- Most sustainable data centers.
- Leading provider in building containers.
- Quick deployment and access to updates and functionality
- Improves business agility
- Helps with team collaboration
- Easily scalable
- Deploy globally without any hassles
- Not as efficient as companies like Microsoft at managing large-scale enterprises.
- Limited range of functions.
- More focus on small project innovations often leads to limitations for larger companies.
To sum it all up here is everything about the Google Cloud Platform.
Google is one of the three leading cloud service providers in the industry. They are paving the way for innovation with machine learning and artificial intelligence. They provide a wide stack of products for enterprises of all sizes to transform their business digitally. The Google cloud console is responsible for powering up some of the most commonly used collaborative applications like Gmail, Workspace, and YouTube.
Pioneering sustainable data centers, they are the top choice for environmentally conscious companies. Overall, Google provides a holistic solution for professionals looking for a challenging and innovative career in the cloud space and enterprises looking for cloud solutions to scale or transform their business operations. Google provides future-proof solutions, powerful data and analytics, and server-less technology to help companies power up the way they work.
If you are interested in knowing more about cloud computing in general, make sure to check out our article here. We have also covered everything that AWS offers over here if you want to go more in-depth with your comparisons between the two providers! If you are looking for tips and knowledge on choosing and picking out the best GCP certification for you, make sure you give our article on the best GCP certifications a read, right here.