Go forth and break it: Google pushes NASty Cloud Filestore to beta

Cheaper than Amazon's Elastic File System, but that's hardly a stretch

Google has opened a beta programme offering managed file storage for apps running in its cloud platform.

Instead of users provisioning their own storage and providing/obtaining file interface software for their apps, they can now directly mount Cloud Filestore volumes on GCP Compute Engine VMs. The Filestore is also integrated with Google Kubernetes Engine and containers can access the same data.

There are two classes of service; standard costing 20¢/GB/month and premium at 30¢/GB/month. With standard you get 180 MB/sec max throughput and 5,000 max IOPS. Premium lifts these to 700 MB/sec and 30,000 IOPS.

Both classes provide a 64TB max capacity share, 99.9 per cent typical availability and support for the NFS v3 protocol.

AWS

Google is partnered with Avere (now owned by Microsoft), Elastifile, NetApp, and Panzura, who offer their own, more mature and no doubt feature-rich, file services in the cloud.

But the most obvious comparison is with Amazon's Elastic File System (EFS), which is priced between 30-36¢/GB/month, varying by region. It supports NVS v4.0 and 4.1.

No IOPS performance number is supplied and the throughput aspect is complicated. Each customer gets a baseline of 50MiB/sec per TiB*.

The app can burst throughput to a higher level, 100MiB/sec per TiB, for a period of time. A 100GiB file system can burst to 100MiB/sec for up to 72 minutes each day or run at up to 5MiB/sec continuously. Baseline running accumulates credits for bursts in a scheme explained by Amazon here.

It seems quite complex in comparison.

Amazon's EFS is said to automatically and instantly scale file system storage capacity up or down as customers add or remove files. It offers encryption in transit and at rest. There is a 0.01¢/GB charge for ingest data with EFS File Sync.

Azure

The Azurean comparison also runs into pricing and feature complexity.

Basic storage is 0.06¢/GB/month for locally redundant storage (LRS) with 12 nines data availability – 99.999999999 per cent – and 0.10¢/GB/month for geographically redundant storage with 16 nines availability – 99.99999999999999 per cent.

This is far higher than GCP's 99.9 per cent.

Then there are charges for operations such as enumerating a directory or reading a file, which vary based on the redundancy option selected. Syncing your files from Windows servers to Azure File shares in the cloud costs additional money.

Azure file storage supports SMB 3.0 and not NFS. There is encryption at rest and in transit too.

Trying to work out comparative costs between AWS, Azure and GCP file storage will require a data scientist/spreadsheet warrior type. Maybe Google will provide an app for that.

It is early days for the GCP Filestore and no doubt its facilities and features will mature over time to match those of AWS and Azure. Register for the beta here. ®

*Bootnote

A MiB – mebibyte – is 1,048,576 bytes whereas a MB is 1,000,000 bytes. A TiB – tebibyte – is 1,099,511,627,776 bytes while a TB is 1,000,000 MB.

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