Google Cloud Platform services guide: The right tools for the job


Launched in 2011, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has had to do some catching up to market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS), its most direct competitor as a purer cloud play. But Google had no experience servicing large enterprise IT, and so has spent several years playing catchup.

Rather than be an AWS clone, GCP has become a unique services outfit that providing massive-scale services, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. GCP’s advantages today include lower pricing via a sustained-usage discount, a much faster network connecting its datacenters, live migration of virtual machines, massive scale and availability zones, and a variety of redundant backups for always-available storage. What GCP doesn’t offer is the wealth of tools and add-ons that AWS does in its bid to address every use case.

GCP has three main services: Google App Engine, Google Compute Engine, and Google Kubernetes Engine:

  • App Engine is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) platform, with which you deploy your code and let the platform do everything else for you. App Engine automatically creates more instances to handle the increased volume for a high-use app.
  • Compute Engine is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform, which provides highly customizable virtual machines with the option to deploy your code directly or via containers. Although it requires more configuration and customization, Compute Engine offers more flexibility and costs less than App Engine.
  • Kubernetes Engine lets you use fully managed Kubernetes clusters to deploy, manage, and orchestrate containers at scale.

I have compiled a list of the most common uses for the cloud and which Google Cloud Platform components you need for them.