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Faster block storage, Actifio's fate outlined at Google Cloud Next

Google Cloud Next announcements expand Google Cloud's enterprise storage portfolio with future native Actifio data protection and new extreme persistent disk for block storage.

Google expanded its enterprise cloud storage portfolio with new additions this week.

These products, introduced at the virtual Google Cloud Next conference, incorporate new capabilities for demanding database migrations to the cloud and revealed the fate of Actifio, a data protection vendor Google Cloud acquired late last year.

The storage news, announced during a conference breakout session, focused on extreme persistent disk, which adds a higher performance tier for persistent disk block storage services on Google Cloud. Extreme persistent disk targets demanding enterprise database workloads such as those requiring high uptime along with fast read and write storage requirements.

Other announcements included the future native integration of Actifio backup software into Google Cloud and a new Hybrid Transfer Appliance, enabling data transfers into Google Cloud during capture as well as offline.

Last month, the public cloud provider launched two new products: Google Filestore Enterprise and Backup for Google Kubernetes Engine. Filestore is currently available in public preview while Backup for Google Kubernetes Engine is generally available.

The new announcements at Google Cloud Next mostly supplemented the major Filestore Enterprise announcement and associated Kubernetes backup service while also drawing a line in the sand for Google Cloud's continued push into the enterprise market, according to Andrew Smith, a research manager at IDC.

"These announcements are great in terms of what they're building out," Smith said. "This year is the most we've heard out of Google Storage and Google Compute [for its] business portfolios."

Extreme data, extreme disk

Extreme persistent disk, now generally available, focuses on providing consistent performance and availability for enterprise databases and applications.

This year is the most we've heard out of Google Storage and Google Compute [for its] business portfolios.
Andrew SmithResearch manager, IDC

The service, optimized specifically for SAP HANA, provides up to 120,000 provisioned IOPS, snapshot and cloning tools. It also offers data encryption while at rest and in transit with customer managed and supplied keys, according to Google Cloud.

More enterprises are now moving databases into the cloud and are looking for highly available and durable services such as extreme persistent disk, said John Webster, a senior partner and analyst at Evaluator Group.

"Running database apps in the cloud is the next big hurdle to get over for enterprises moving workloads to the cloud," Webster said. "Predictable, deterministic performance is something that enterprise users have to see to make them feel comfortable when they envision themselves managing and supporting these often business-critical workloads running in the cloud."

Actifio GOes to Google Cloud

Actifio GO enterprise backup and recovery software is available as a first-party product in the Google Cloud Marketplace, but Actifio's technology will become an integral part of Google Cloud's future, according to Brian Schwarz, director of product management at Google Cloud.

"It's particularly important for us to continue to invest in this," Schwarz said. "Making this a first-class service and making it more integrated into the higher-level services as we go."

Those higher-level services will eventually include native integration into Google Cloud Services and premium Actifio data protection services for SAP, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQL Server in the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), according to Schwarz. No timeline on those services was mentioned at the conference.

The integration makes sense as "a logical first step" for Google Cloud with its Actifio acquisition and creates a runway for further implementation and enterprise backup competition, Smith said.

Google Cloud representatives noted during the presentation that Commvault, another data protection vendor for enterprise databases, was now available on its marketplace.

Transfer in the field

Google Cloud now offers a new Hybrid Transfer Appliance, a rentable appliance from Google Cloud. Prior versions of the Transfer Appliance captured edge data from a location with an unstable or nonexistent cloud connection to Google Cloud storage by having customers return the device to Google.

In addition to its offline transfer capabilities, the Hybrid Transfer Appliance can now transfer data to Google Cloud while it operates at the user's edge location and is connected to a network.

The appliance rental and transfer service are separate services from Google Cloud.

Uses cases for the appliance, according to Google, include data collection at the outermost edges of a network where cloud migrations could take up to a week or transfers of more than 60 TB of data into the cloud. The service is similar to AWS Snowball or Microsoft Azure Import/Export.

Other enhancements for the appliance and service include transfer ability in the U.K., an API for the transfer service and the ability to transfer data from Azure Data Lake to GCP.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living in the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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