100 petabytes: How Google’s huge freebie promotes its Nearline cloud backup …

24 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

100 petabytes: How Google’s huge freebie promotes its Nearline cloud backup service.

What would you do with 100 petabytes of free cloud storage? Earlier this year, Google announced its new low-cost Nearline cold storage service and today, the company is taking it out of beta and making it generally available.Google today is announcing the general availability of Cloud Storage Nearline, a service for backing up data that doesn’t need to be constantly accessed. Unlike some of its competitors like Amazon Glacier, where accessing data in cold storage can take hours, Nearline promises to make data in its archive available within seconds. The service, which has been in beta since early March, provides businesses with a cheap and easy way to store files and documents that a user doesn’t need instantly.

Also today, Google is introducing the Cloud Storage Transfer Service to help companies move data over from other sources, like public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services’ widely used S3 object storage service. But that’s enough for the Switch and Save program, as the promotion is called, to achieve its goal: lure organizations into moving data from the rivaling public cloud or on-premise archiving solution they’re using now to the Google Cloud Platform. That’s less than the 99.95 percent for products like Compute Engine, for example, but that’s part of the cost savings (together with the higher latency) that allow Google to offer Nearline — which still runs on the same infrastructure as all of Google’s other cloud computing services — at less than half the price than its standard cloud storage service. The big-picture strategic goal is to offer companies a reliable place to stick their data at a price that only a company like Google — that provisions a crazy amount of compute, storage, and networking gear — could achieve.

The 100 free petabytes of storage—equivalent to 100 million gigabytes—is being offered for new users for up to six months, and aims to lure away companies currently using other providers. Google Storage Nearline is priced at about the same rate as the competing Glacier cloud archiving service from arch-nemesis Amazon Inc. but stores data on readily-available instead of completely offline disks. Also free for a limited time is the service’s new on-demand I/O feature, which is designed to give organizations a way to increase I/O in situations where they need to retrieve data faster than Nearline’s provisioned read rate of 4MB per second throughput per terabyte of data stored. As a result, the search engine is able to fetch files in under three seconds instead of the several hours that the same operation takes on its competitor’s platform. Microsoft cloud doesn’t have a dedicated cloud service for cold storage, but it does have Azure Site Recovery, a service geared toward disaster recovery that became generally available last week.

That’s a potentially major selling point for organizations such as banks that need fairly regular access to their archived records for periodical audits and other important but relatively low-IO activities. The deal isn’t explicitly aimed at Amazon Web Services, and you’ll get the credit if you switch from any other cloud provider or storage software vendor. After all, once an organization has multiple petabytes of its most valuable historical data on the search giant’s infrastructure, the CIO is more than likely to start giving its complementary analytic services a closer look.

And from there, a six-month credit line can potentially balloon into a lucrative company-wide deal encompassing multiple different features and resource types. All of this, including the free credits and the transfer tools, are in the name of getting more and more people to sign up with Google’s cloud instead of Amazon’s.

But it’s also furthering the dangerous “race to zero,” when cloud storage is so cheap and so plentiful that companies like Google and Amazon won’t be able to sell it anymore. The offer is only available to new Cloud Platform customers and only covers 100PB of storage for the first month “and potentially additional months of customers commit to migrate more than 1PB of data.” After that, you also have to maintain at least 1PB in Nearline for 12 months after an initial three-month period. 100PB is obviously a bit of a gimmick, but what’s clear is that Google would really like more businesses to move their data in Nearline, which is a very competitive service, both in terms of pricing and performance. Moving any amount of data between different providers, though, can quickly get complicated, so Google has now signed up a couple of new partners that will help their customers move to Nearline and/or have integrated Nearline into their services.

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