Google Cloud Platform
To demystify Google Cloud, let’s begin by understanding what Cloud is.
WHAT IS CLOUD OR CLOUD COMPUTING?
In descriptive words, Cloud or Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources e.g processing power, storage, and more to the user. Mostly these resources are owned and maintained by the service providers often called the cloud providers.
These days, these computer resources take any form.
When the resources are hardware, like hard drive type and size, we call the cloud system Infrastructure as a service. (IaaS)
When a resource is a software or a bundle of multiple software, we refer to it as Software as a service. (SaaS)
When the resource is something like a server where developers can upload their code and host a web application, it is often referred to as a Platform as a service. (PaaS)
Asides from these, there are other “as-a-service” service provisioning on the cloud today.
Recently, some service providers started ushering in Bitcoin as a service – a service that helps its users or app developers mine bitcoin.
There are others like database as a service, mobile backend as a service, function as a service, and more.
These variations of “as-a-service” services help us better demystify what cloud or cloud computing is.
Descriptively, cloud computing is when a service provider takes a bunch of frequently requested resources and turns them into services as a way to lighten the load off its customers. This way, the service provider manages and maintains the hardware and management software, while the user just uses it.
With these, the user only gets to access these resources via web interfaces (dashboards) and these resources are available at the click of a button.
Fast forward. Google Cloud Platform is a cloud computing platform offering a variety of resources for use on-demand by Google.
Depending on what you intend to do, google cloud has the computing resources or computing power to support your workload. All you have to do is configure it to your preference.
As of today, Google has over 90+ customizable services on its platform and these services are segmented into different categories
These categories include
- * Compute
- * Storage & Databases
- * Networking
- * Big Data
- * Cloud AI
- * Management Tools
- * Identity & Security
- * IoT
- * API Platform
Some of these categories have their familiar names for example:
- Google Cloud Compute or Cloud Compute,
- Cloud Storage or cloud databases
- Cloud Networking of Google Cloud VPC
- Cloud Big Data
- Cloud AI
- Cloud Management Tools
- Cloud IAM
- Cloud API
These categories help classify the various ways you can use the google cloud platform.
If you are entirely new to the cloud, it would be easy to mistake Google Cloud Platform for other google products like Google Drive, Gmail, Youtube, and the likes.
These are products that work on top of google cloud and are not to be confused with the google cloud platform itself.
Google Mail (Gmail or Workspace) Youtube, Google Maps, hangout, and the lot are examples of software as a service because google built these software and hosted them on their Cloud Servers so that customers can use it at an extremely low-cost rates. This is one of the many uses of cloud computing today.
Think of Google Cloud Platform as the underlying infrastructure. Something like a real estate program.
Say you have a dream to own a hotel. But building one will take an awful lot of time, so you go to a real estate developer and tell them your specs and they just reply immediately “Oh yes, we have that” You tell them how long you want the hotel for and they rent it to you for that period.
Because they have a flat rate or a way to calculate their rental fees, you immediately get an invoice of how much it will cost you.
With this, you don’t get to worry about purchasing the land, or surveying it, you just get up and running in no time.
But wait a minute, google cloud is still confusing to me 😕. There are a lot of technicalities to this cloud thingy too. Why don’t I just rent a shared host server with my favorite web hosting company and host my website or web application there?
Oh well, you could but, google cloud is better than shared hosting in lots of ways.
The most highlighted of them all is the availability of Scaling Up.
Remember our hotel analogy here?
Imagine after just two(2) days of opening your hotel, you get an inflow of guests which surpasses your initial availability plan.
For example, the hotel specs you provided gave room for 500 guests and on day 2, you got 1500 guests.
What happens to the remaining 1000 guests?
This analogy can be mapped to resources like Data Bandwidth and Storage Spaces on the web
Most shared hosting companies provide you with a data cap for storage size and bandwidth, but with the cloud, you can configure your resource to automatically scale, thus preparing you for any amount of inflow
So to answer this question, with shared hosting; when you hit your bandwidth limit, you get a denial of service, usually, with most web hosting companies, this comes as an HTTP ERROR 503.
However, with a preconfigured cloud resource, more bandwidth gets added (or sort of).
Although this might pull some extra charges on your google cloud account, your website or web application gets to stay alive and you don’t have to suffer the loss of a user or resource availability.
For the sake of people who don’t understand what bandwidth is when you connect to the internet, you use data. The limit of data your network provider allows you to use is called the data bandwidth.
Contrary to popular belief, the internet is not a place.
The internet is a connection of more than trillions of computers worldwide. These computers are connected via internet cable wires(most being fiber optics cable) or satellites and they have to always stay on to be available. Since not everyone can afford to keep their computers on because of power consumption, data charges, heat, and other maintenance requirements, Service providers such as Bluehost, Amazon, and yours truly Google, set up custom computers that have billions of hard drives, rams, and very proficient processing power. They set up these computers with some custom software installed on them. These computers are called workstations, and this software is called servers.
Together, these workstation computers and this server software allow website developers to serve or host content that can be accessed remotely from another location.
Well, Google Cloud Platform is beyond a regular workstation + server configuration.
It allows you the flexibility to set up what you want.
You can decide to host your website under google cloud compute or host your web application under the app engine or host downloadable files under Cloud storage or set up multiple VPNs with cloud networking. The possibility is somewhat endless and all you have to do is configure what you need it for.
Still, on its uses, a friend once set up a google cloud virtual machine to mine bitcoin.
Another set up a virtual machine to test his android application, these are some of the many use cases of the google cloud platform.
I believe this might be a lot to handle at a go, so let’s discuss the various categories of google cloud uses in another blog post.
Feel free to drop your questions, reviews, and suggestions about today’s blog.