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Google Cloud pushes Filestore for enterprise, adds new features

Google Cloud adds a new enterprise tier for Filestore, its public cloud file storage service, with new features including Kubernetes backup and custom dual-region selection.

Google Cloud took direct aim at large-scale enterprise data by launching a handful of new services and premium opt-in features on Thursday focused on massive file databases and Kubernetes power users.

The public cloud provider launched two new products: Google Filestore Enterprise and Backup for Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).

Filestore Enterprise is a new tier for the company's managed file storage service, targeted at demanding enterprise file databases, such as SAP, traditionally limited to on-premises implementations. The service intends to help enterprises migrate common file NAS needs from on premises to the cloud without rebuilding at a larger scale than their prior basic and high tiers. Currently, the Filestore Enterprise service is priced from $0.67 to $0.72 per gibibyte (GiB) monthly depending on the selected region.

"It's the cloud equivalent of a NAS system," said Brian Schwarz, director of product management at Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

The enterprise tier will offer cross-zone synchronous data replication, a new Google Cloud feature exclusive to the tier. This feature allows applications and their associated data to be synced simultaneously across three Google Cloud zones within a region. The enterprise tier also provides traditional data protection tools, including encryption keys and snapshots.

Backup for GKE enables enterprises to create storage backup and restoration policies for Kubernetes containers and the cluster space entirely through the Google Cloud. Use cases for Backup for GKE include cloud-native applications, maintaining developer and test environments, and container disaster recovery, according to Schwarz.

Similar to Filestore Enterprise, Backup for GKE is offered and managed by Google Cloud instead of open source or third-party alternatives.

"It's a real next step for the maturation of containers," Schwarz said, claiming Google Cloud is the only major public cloud provider to offer container backups without additional software.

Dual-region services

Google Cloud's dual-regional storage option now has two new opt-in features: custom region selection and a guaranteed 15-minute recovery point objective for service-level agreements (RPO SLA).

The dual-region cloud storage service currently enables customers to choose from a list of locations to store their data bucket, offering redundancy in one location in case of an outage. The new feature will let customers specifically choose which regions their data resides in, giving greater control over data residency.

The new 15-minute RPO SLA guarantees data replication between dual-region buckets within 15 minutes or less. Accounts will be compensated with cloud billing credits if the replication takes longer.

Bronze battler

Currently, GCP is classified as one of the three major public clouds and has captured about 9% of the total cloud market compared to Azure's 18%, and AWS' 33%, according to a Synergy Research Group report from late 2020. GCP has remained steady in its market share throughout 2021, despite minor gains for Azure.

Worldwide public cloud market share
Top public cloud players, according to a Synergy Research Group report.

The sheer number of file services among all three providers, along with myriad smaller cloud providers battling over the remaining market, means Google faces an uphill battle in luring enterprise customers into its cloud variant, said Dave Raffo, a senior analyst for Evaluator Group.

"The cloud file market is extremely competitive," Raffo said. "There are so many managed services right now. … The new file service can help, but it's hard to convince companies already using file storage in another cloud to switch over."

Having so many choices is good for customers but also requires more research to compare options.
Dave RaffoSenior Analyst, Evaluator Group

Specifically, Google faces competition from three possible file server offerings from AWS alone by partner vendors such as NetApp and Lustre. This also includes similar file vendors on Azure as well as cloud NAS vendors already tapping into public clouds such as Nasuni, Ctera and Panzura. Even then, businesses can potentially meet their needs in other cloud tiers offered by GCP, according to Raffo.

"Having so many choices is good for customers but also requires more research to compare options," he said. "In a lot of cases, they go with the cloud provider or on-prem vendor they already know and feel comfortable with."

The new Backup for GKE, Raffo pointed out, is unique in offering developers a way to back up their containers in the public cloud without using additional apps such as Portworx PX-Backup or Veeam's Kasten.

"Developers usually aren't familiar with traditional backup software," Raffo said. "So this helps them if they can do their backups through Kubernetes."

Tim McCarthy is a TechTarget reporter covering cloud and data storage news.

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