This content is part of the Essential Guide: A look back at the 2014 data storage market
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Google's public cloud storage advanced little in 2014

Google Cloud Storage rolled out its Cloud Storage Connector in 2014 but not much else. The connector and price cuts were the biggest announcements for the year.

Google Cloud Storage for the enterprise was a bit slim on news this year, outside of the usual price reductions.

It unveiled Google Cloud Storage Connector for Hadoop in January and partnered with Panzura in July to offer 2 TB of storage for Google Drive with Panzura cloud gateways.

Google tries to stand out more on its pricing than features, and in 2014 it did its fair share in fueling the price war for cloud storage.

"They are all matching each other [on price]," said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting. "It's really close."

That's not the case for Google's enterprise-level storage, which "is nonexistent" according to Andres Rodriguez, CEO of cloud NAS provider Nasuni.

"It's not useable," Rodriguez said of Google's public cloud storage. "When it comes to building [services] on top of Google, it's very immature. The API is not there. The provisioning is not there, and the management is not there."

The company's consumer-based storage Google Drive continues to draw a lot of attention as it competes with the likes of Dropbox or Microsoft's OneDrive. Google boasts that it provides storage for 425 million Gmail users. Google dangled 1 TB of free Google Drive storage for two years, which normally would cost $280 to anyone purchasing a Chromebook during the holiday season.

Google does offer what it calls Durable Reduced Availability (DRA) Storage that is designed to have the same durability as standard Google Cloud Storage buckets. Google describes DRA storage as good for applications that are cost-sensitive or where some unavailability is acceptable, such as data backup and batch jobs.

According to Google's DRA Storage site, Google Cloud Storage allows customers to set up DRA at the bucket level, where the user can specify DRA Storage at the time the bucket is created. "All bucket and object creations are exactly the same as with the standard storage class. New objects in the bucket are transparently stored with the lower-availability configuration and billing for these objects will automatically reflect the lowered prices."

Not everyone agrees with Rodgriguez's claim that Google's public cloud storage is useless.

In a November guest blog on the Google Cloud Platform site, Affini-Tech CEO Vincent Heuschling described how his company uses Google public cloud storage to help analyze data at a faster rate.

"We are storing data in Google Cloud Storage, creating ephemeral Hadoop and Apache Spark clusters, and then pushing the data into BigQuery for analysis," he wrote.

"Ephemeral clusters provide a more efficient, flexible and cost-effective processing model than old-fashioned static clusters and take full advantage of the cloud model of computers. The key enabler to using the ephemeral clusters is the Google Cloud Storage connector, which lets us directly access data on cloud storage using standard Hadoop interfaces."

Next Steps

Updates helped Amazon stay ahead of competition in 2014

New Microsoft cloud features of 2014 offset by outages

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