To your other issue with Cloud SQL, there is sadly a mandatory downtime with every release they do (often weekly). The team is working on it and knows it's unacceptable for serving workloads.
Edit: Here's a link to the maintenance note in the FAQ for reference - https://cloud.google.com/sql/faq#maintenancerestart
Outage today was on us-central1-a. I got alerts from multiple agents - new relic, zabbix and ssh monitor so I don't think it can be blamed on tools or something like this. It happened in two bursts, this is the first one http://imgur.com/XdzuJ2r with messages from both zabbix and new relic, the time zone in the emails is EEST. These are all different machines, no duplication.
I speak with experience with Google, AWS and Rackspace.
I basically read this as "we're so technically superior in several ways ... wtf is everyone still using AWS instead of us?"
It reminds me of the attitude of one Google engineer I know, which is basically Google is such an amazing place, with such visionary leaders, and across-the-board smart engineers, that they can wander into any domain they want, and just assume they'll succeed/print money like AdWords.
I'm paraphrasing and also probably putting words into his mouth, so apologies for phrasing it in the extreme to make a point.
Part of me wishes it was that way: as long as you had the smartest people + biggest warchest (which they basically do), victory would be pre-determined. But capitalism has a way, if anything, of handicapping the existing giants, and you can't just wander into a field "because we're really smart" and assume you'll win.
</armchair business insight>. Feel free to correct my assumptions/biases.
Stephen, thanks for the direct feedback, seriously! We weren't shooting for desperate, if anything I had a bit of geek pride in my voice when saying it at our GCP Next events, and then typing it down for this post. As I've been helping folks onboard and understand the platform, I found myself explaining these facts pretty frequently, so I figured having it written down might be helpful for others. Any suggestions on what kinds of content you'd like to see us deliver? Things you'd want to know? I'm game!
Saying "we're the better cloud" is a frail argument. Both GCP and AWS has strengths and weaknesses. People know that. Saying "we're the best" feels simplistic (and insincere).
Second, some of the things you mention (live migration, scalability, etc) are things that AWS also provide.
# What is good
The last part of your post, So, how can you optimize, was good. It wasn't bashing AWS, it was general, sound advice on how to build things for a cloud platform. More of that would have resulted in a better post.
Nearline is another good offering. You got great publicity on that when it was released recently. I think many felt it had better and simpler pricing, and a better structure for retrieval than glacier. That's what you should focus on.
No need to criticize your competitors or arguing that you're better than them in every dimension. Instead, build good products and let the customer decide.
Sandstrom, thanks for the detailed feedback. Spending most of my day talking with customers, I've found that many, many folks don't really know those strengths and weaknesses very well. This post was written really in direct response to questions we get every day about "why should I choose GCP?"
A great example; in your comment you describe AWS as having live migration, which they do not. It's exactly this kind of misinformation that we were aiming to clear up.
I hear you loud and clear on more technical guidance; my team has been building http://cloud.google.com/solutions for the last year, let me know if that helps or if you have any ideas on what we should build next!
> Google Cloud Platform delivers the industry's best technical and differentiated features
Is clearly the standpoint of someone trying to convince you of something and the tone certainly put my hackles up. It's often more effective  to adopt the position of someone sharing what they find most interesting about a topic.
> How can a cloud platform be both Better AND Cheaper?
> Easy: it turns out that the same technology ...
Maybe something like:
> What's fascinating is that the same technology that allows cloud platform to perform better for these workloads also allows it to be cheaper.
That completely makes sense to me, and yet runs in mild conflict with the feedback below where at least some users want us to do a bit more "selling". I've heard numerous times from customers and prospects that they'd like for GCP folks to just "spell it out and tell me why I should pick you", so this was my take at doing exactly that.
I'm definitely trying to convince you of something, but I don't want my/our tone to have you come away with a negative impression, or for you to read it as anything other than an excited nerd happy about his tools. Thanks for the feedback!
But yup, different forms for different audiences and this works well as supporting material for an investment in GCP.
Would a little fun autobiography from folks on my team give the context/backfill required for us to make sense while being a little assertive?
Thanks for the book link, ordered up!
:-) Cool. It is impressive to beat AWS at a game that everyone assumes they are the best at.
> Things you'd want to know?
This is kind of weird...but no, not really...for my team, I think we're zealously happy with AWS and it's their game to loose.
And "only" 40% cheaper/x% faster isn't enough, given the switching costs of moving everything over. As long as AWS remains good enough.
So, basically my "it doesn't really matter that you're cheaper" attitude is what made the connection to "a great business/adoption rate doesn't come solely from technical excellence".
Which, as a programmer/technologist, is frustrating. If I knew what it did come from, I'd be off doing that, instead of kibitzing on HN. :-)
>"given the switching costs"
Perhaps that's the crux of the question right there; what if it was trivially easy? What if you couldn't tell beyond a different (lower) bill? Wouldn't it be awesome to run on several providers, load balance between them, and up your availability game to be redundant across providers? This is an area of real focus for my team, let me know if it's something of interest!
Yes, in theory that would be awesome...I think in practice, the limitations would be:
- Cross-provider latency for micro-services that are interdependent (e.g. right now we assume everything is in the same AWS region)
- API compatibility/codebase coupling, as our code is littered with "new AmazonXxxClient"
- Feature parity would have to be near-100%...e.g. we use the regular things like EC2, S3, Dynamo, RDS, but also IAM and Kinesis (...and, and...). Not to say "oh you just need IAM & Kinesis", but that for any feature, current or future, that doesn't have a direct comparison across all providers, makes cross-provider harder to do.
- Increased devops complexity; different ways to get into machines, different places to look for logs, different places to look for metrics (CW), different logins, different admin UIs...
If you're team is focusing on this, these are likely things you've thought of...
I would not be surprised if "cross-provider" becomes like "cross-platform", technically possible but rarely done.
E.g. in the 90s cross-platform Microsoft/Apple/Linux (or today cross-iOS/Android/web) applications existed, if the programmers were very diligent, smart, and worked behind API abstractions that hid any platform-specific, platform-differentiating features.
...but in reality, 95% of programmers didn't, and were coupled to one platform or the other. And that was basically fine/just the way things were.
E.g. instead of "GCP runs machines + offers PaaS databases/caches/etc." and "AWS runs machines + offers PaaS databases/caches/etc.", then now both the "run machines" + "PaaS offerings" must be identical, it'd be much easier if cloud providers got out of the PaaS business.
That way both GCP and AWS just "run machines", and instead there is some sort of vendor / marketplace API where database vendor X can run in both AWS and GCP, and caching vendor Y can run in both AWS and GCP.
And so you use the db APIs and the cache APIs, with some sort of service discovery within each cloud, and ideally the management UIs for the db and cache are both hooked in the GCP/AWS consoles.
So, it's not "use Dynamo in AWS" vs. "use Bigtable in GCP" and they're kinda/sorta the same, it'd be "use (say) Voldemort in both" and they really are the same, and managed by the same vendor.
(And not "you start vendor X's AMIs/images in your account and then play sysadmin", but "you use vendor Xs already-running/multi-tenant APIs from your app".)
That said, it's not in AWS's interest to let others provide the PaaS part of the machine in a generic way.
And, realistically, I don't think other (non-cloud) vendors could have successfully provided the PaaS offerings that AWS has, at the same multi-tenant scale. E.g. pre-AWS, all of the vendors (like a DB startup) were focused on "scale single-tenant solutions", and not "scale multi-tenant solutions", which is likely an order of magnitude or more harder. So it made sense for AWS to do it instead (plus the obvious benefit to them of more AWS lock in).
It mentions 99.9% availability instead of 99.99%, but it would be useful to understand how that is manifested in reality, and what the underlying architectural difference is.
I tried to ask jeffbarr here, but got no answer.
Watch out for minimum file size on Standard-IA: it's 128kb, and if you write a file smaller than that they round up. It's little gotchas like this that can really burn you...
(Not affiliated except for being a customer for 1.5 years.)
Otherwise: cloud storage has a more limited api then s3 (s3 allows you to query by start key, cloud storage only by prefix), cloud sql doesn't support postgres (which is a necessity Geospatial apps) and there is something weird with there network that causes server sent events to be unusable from compute engine instances.
That'd be like posting an article titled "Washington Post Delivering News to Best New Platforms" as simply "Washington Post". I realize that the original title is too sales-y, but if I knew it was marketing, I wouldn't have clicked.
One GCP offering that I think deserves more attention is Managed VMs (part of App Engine). You provide your app + runtime in a Docker container, and App Engine will run that container in a Compute Engine VM and do a bunch of cool stuff for like health checking, autoscaling, and log aggregation. It's limited in a lot of respects, but it's a basic cluster manager like Kubernetes or ECS but easier to use for simple services IMO.
AWS does seem to have less problems (excluding this past week), and they do offer more (and sometimes better) services.
What could we do to make this better? I'm super serious; I talk to customers every day, and we're working hard to deliver a platform (all of it - product, docs, support, sales, customer advocacy, OSS, etc) that exceeds expectations and delivers results. What could we do to impress you from a customer engagement standpoint?
You're exactly right about the "technical salesperson mindset". It's awesome see new features come out several times a year that feel like direct response to our feedback. Google is impressive, but I don't get the feeling they would be as responsive to customer requests.
Can't say I've found this to be the case. We spend a minor fortune each month, have premium support, and get really poor help. I thought mostly everyone agreed AWS support stinks.
Part of the problem, I've realized, is we are not contacting support for trivial, common items. Rather we engage with them on outages in their service (ahem "elevated error rates"). On these and other similarly complex issues, their front-line support staff is ill equipped and they mostly resort to saying "I've escalated to the service team."
Need to prove this with some data
- more services
- more options
Sure, because of earlier start.
- and is easier to use
How do you measure the ease of use? APIs? Documentation? Management UI?
So? AWS will always have that head start. If GCP can't catch up to or beat AWS on features, or find some way to differentiate from AWS, that's always going to be an AWS advantage. Customers buy based on what's best for them, not by comparing what two services look like at the same point in their lifespan.
Does that help?
$0.003 / hr, 0.3c / hr
The 't2' class of servers are competitive with Digital Ocean in terms of pricing (roughly the same), especially if you do a 'reserved instance', and you get a ton of other benefits "for free", like a sane firewall and network, better monitoring tooling, snapshot tooling, and an easier path forwards if you do need to expand to other things like databases or s3.
Apparently 2TB out of a t2.micro comes to an additional charge of 0.09 * 1999 ~ 180 USD. What am I missing? That you probably don't want to use bandwith because no-one will use your hobby projects?
In Europe, also Hetzner is a good choice with good connectivity and vServers starting at EUR 3.90 / month:
I would not host my production-quality business on these machines, but for playing around they work very well. And BTsync should not be a problem, I have BTsync running on a Cubietruck and it works flawlessly.
I haven't tried Hetzner's VPS/cloud offering, but they're budget "used" servers are nice, if you want to play with your own hardware. People often forget how much overhead virtualization can end up having due to disk contention, and especially in the network layer/stack. A dedicated server is more expensive than a (low end) VPS, but can be more fun! :-)
While the listings are mostly self-explanatory, a couple of points: if you want to experiment with cloud storage/zfs - you probably want ECC Ram (you probably want ECC ram. Full stop.). That'll be more expensive. You might also want to search after servers with at least one SSD, as eg. ZFS can use that to speed up the file system (and Linux also has different flash cache, or you might just want to use it for DB storage etc).
- Vultr - (Much) faster CPUs than DigitalOcean, less popular, a little less nice UI, more OS options, roughly the same price as DigitalOcean
Oh and if you're a student, you can get $100 credit at DigitalOcean for free: https://education.github.com/pack
If you don't want that for some reason i have used Digital Ocean found their service to be very simple to use.
I have also tried amazon's stuff and i found it to be expensive and not very user friendly. But when it comes to price i know there is other ones that are cheaper than Digital Ocean.
Would connecting to our network locally scratch the itch? https://cloud.google.com/interconnect/