Is Google’s Compute Engine (GCE) a Direct Competitor to AWS or Microsoft Azure?

Google publicly introduced its Google Compute Engine (GCE) as an actual product back in December 2013. A lot has been written about GCE since its debut, with specific reference to this product as a direct competitor to Amazon AWS. But the lack of support for any Windows O/Ss, databases, etc (at least as far as I could find) says they are in a market of their own.

Virtual machine offers for operating systems are limited to two Linux distributions: Debian, and CentOS. Where Amazon offers RDS for managing Oracle, and even SQL Server in the cloud, GCE does not offer a competitive solution. Neither has GCE magnetized a level of support from the developer community to successfully compete with AWS. Quite a number of third party Apps are available for AWS, including quite a few useful for managing SAP database products.

So what should anyone following the cloud market for IaaS and SaaS solutions make of the dramatic price reductions Google recently announced for GCE. I think it’s a mistake to plan on a lot of pressure on AWS from these price reductions. I think it makes more sense to read the price discounting as emblematic of difficulties Google has experienced spreading the word on GCE and capturing a sufficient share of the market for these services. Perhaps it’s safe to say Google GCE has simply been successful magnetizing interest from the Open Source community, all the way from early stage ISVs to larger organizations like the Institute for Systems Biology portrayed in a case study on the GCE web site.

In contrast, AWS has been adopted by organizations, here in the US, of considerable size, not the least of which is the Federal CIA. A lot of this success is likely attributable to the availability, through AWS, of support for databases, and related applications, written for Windows computing environments.

It’s likely Google will expand the list of GCE available VMs to include support for the Microsoft Windows computing paradigm sometime soon. But in the meantime, Azure looks a lot more like a direct competitor to AWS than does Google GCE

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

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