Google updates cloud with new virtual technologies and price cuts

Google has embraced the Docker container technology and expanded the Firebase mobile development platform

Continuing to keep pace with chief cloud rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, Google has made a number of improvements to its Google Cloud Platform services.

A series of announcements made during a webcast Tuesday show the company embracing the newest virtual technologies, such as Docker containers and the Firebase platform to aid mobile developers, as it continues to cut prices of its services.

In the realm of virtualization, the company has devised a way to make it easy to use Docker containers, a new lightweight virtualization technology. The company has devised the Google Container Engine service for building and running Docker containers. The engine is based on the open-source Kubernetes project.

The company also explained what it is doing with the mobile platform technology created by Firebase, which Google bought last month. Firebase offers a way to speed the process of connecting mobile applications to back-end data sources.

Google has expanded the range of queries that can be made against the data sets held by Firebase. Users can now sort the data by arbitrary fields, as well as filter the data. The service also now offers triggers, in which developers can define certain actions to take place if a set of conditions are met.

Google has expanded the number of ways users can connect to the cloud service.

The company now offers direct peering, in which corporate customers can setup a network link directly into a Google data center. Google offers 70 points of presence in 33 countries. The company also can provide dedicated connectivity through seven carriers: Verizon, Equinix, IX Reach, Level 3, Tata Communications, Telx, and Zayo.

Expanding the connectivity options even further, Google will start offering VPN connections, which can provide a secure pipeline over the public Internet.

Like rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, Google continues to aggressively cut prices of its services, which it vowed to continue to do as the price of hardware decreases. The cost of copying data from the Google Cloud has been cut by 47 percent. Many cuts have been made in storage space as well: the cost of BigQuery storage has been cut by 23 percent, persistent disk snapshots have been cut by 79 percent, solid-state storage has been cut by 48 percent, and Cloud SQL storage costs have been cut by 25 percent.

The company introduced a number of other features to its cloud, including:

* Managed virtual machines, introduced earlier this year, is in full beta release.

* A debugger, in beta form, that could provide users with more information when services don't operate as expected.

* A type of compute engine based on solid-state disks. The "Local SSD" compute engine can execute up to 680,000 read IOPS (input/output operations per second) or 280,000 write IOPS.

* An autoscaler has been released in beta that can automatically grow or shrink a fleet of virtual machines based on customer needs.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is

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Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
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