Google seriously joins the IaaS party as Compute Engine goes live

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Google has announced general availability of its Compute Engine IaaS platform, with the search giant aiming to play alongside the likes of Amazon and Microsoft in infrastructure as a service.

The service was available to developers and as a preview for companies to sign up back in May. Now, it’s been fully launched – and the Mountain View giant hasn’t set the bar too high with a 99.95% SLA.

CloudTech readers will know full well the issues with claiming a 100% service agreement – so this, alongside 24/7 support, comes as refreshing news. Amazon’s EC2 and S3 clouds come in at 99.95% and 99.9% respectively.

Underpinning this step to avoid fallover, Google Compute Engine can be set up so that instances can be automatically restarted in the event of hardware failures or maintenance, meaning virtual machines can be up and running again within minutes.

Google can claim the likes of Rightscale and Red Hat as partners in the initiative, with companies such as Snapchat, Evite and Wix building “complex” systems on Compute Engine. Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux was also announced, with developers now being able to run any out-of-the-box Linux distribution – the preview supported just Debian and Centos.

“We’re looking forward to this next step for Google Cloud Platform as we continue to help developers and businesses everywhere benefit from Google’s technical and operational expertise,” wrote Google vice president Ari Balogh in a blog post.

It all sounds impressive enough, but the question remains as to whether Google has joined the IaaS party a little late, having offered Google App Engine, a platform as a service (PaaS) offering, as far back as 2008.

CloudTech certainly liked the look of some features in Compute Engine, particularly the usage sub-hour billing in one minute increments. The only proviso is that a minimum of 10 minutes has to be billed – but for the flexibility that provides, it’s not much of a compromise.

It’s also fair to say that developer usage could be vital for Google in this space – and anyone who followed Google I/O, when the preview was announced, would see how seriously Google takes this. Not surprisingly, Amazon came out on top in developer usage of compute and storage, according to research from Forrester in September.

But with every research report seemingly claiming how far ahead Amazon is of the trailing pack, is Google only playing for second place in the IaaS market?

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