Google will let cloud customers use plain-old-Internet links

'Just like other public clouds, believe us!'

It would be mischievous, perhaps, to suggest Google needs some network back for its own purposes – but the Chocolate Factory wants at least some of its cloud customers to shift their data around on the Internet instead of its private network.

Announcing its offer-too-good-to-refuse here, Mountain View says its two-tier cloud offering will let customers optimise for performance or cost.

Existing customers can stick with what the Network Service Tiers Alpha test designates “Premium Tier”, using the 100-PoP Google private network for high reliability and low latency.

In the new Standard Tier (hint: this is the one we want you to use, hence the word “standard”), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) customer traffic is dropped onto ordinary Internet best-effort transport.

Just like most of the rest of the world of cloud, the traffic could suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous BGP routing, at least until it reaches the same region as the GCP PoP of its destination.

So there might be more congestion or outages than on Premium Tier, but Google assures customers – more than once in the post by Prajakta Joshi, Product Manager, Cloud Networking – that performance will still be “at a level comparable to other major public clouds”.

Other network services are more constrained in the Standard Tier, compared to Premium Tier. Let's take load balancing as an example:

  • In Premium Tier, load balancing is on a global basis. Server instances in multiple regions (the post gives US-West, Europe-West and Tokyo in its example) present as a single virtual IPv4 or IPv6 address, so if any one instance dies, failover is automatic.
  • In Standard Tier, load balancing is regional (“similar to other public cloud offerings”, we get it, okay?) rather than global. Servers within US-West or whatever can pick up each other's load, but if you lose everything in that region, it won't be automatically picked up by servers in another region.

Google says tests by Cedexis show Premium Tier's load balancing has around 1.7 times the throughput of Standard Tier.

The post says Standard Tier prices for delivered traffic work out at between 24 and 33 per cent lower than Premium Tier. For your own network, the tariff table is here. ®


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