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Google Cloud Storage Nearline now GA, with incentives

Google makes its Cloud Storage Nearline archiving service generally available, goes after Amazon and Microsoft with incentives to switch over to Google cloud.

Google is trying to make an aggressive run at Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure with the official launch of the Google Cloud Storage Nearline archiving service, plus two new services added last week.

Google Cloud Storage Nearline, which had been in beta since early March, is Google's answer to Amazon Glacier for cheap, cold storage. A new, on-demand I/O service works with Storage Nearline to allow faster recovery for customers with large amounts of data.

Google also made Cloud Storage Transfer Service -- previously Online Cloud Import -- generally available and added a Switch and Save program. Switch and Save offers 100 PB of free storage in Nearline for up to six months for customers who switch from any other cloud provider or on-premises environments to Google Cloud Storage.

Cloud Storage Nearline and Glacier both charge a penny per gigabyte per month to store data, but Google promises recovery times in seconds, while Amazon's service takes hours to return data to users.

"Google Nearline has no alternative in the market," said Avtandil Garakanidze, project manager for Google Cloud Platform. "On-demand and the Nearline service offer the best-in-class total cost of ownership and best-in-class performance."

Google Cloud Storage Nearline has a standard transfer rate of 4 MB per second per TB of stored data. On-Demand I/O allows users to purchase extra throughput -- provided on a best-effort basis -- when faster restores are needed. Customers pay for the difference between the 4 MBps per TB and the actual I/O used.

Disaster recovery is a prime use case for On-Demand I/O.

"On-demand I/O allows customers to get a higher level of performance based on capacity," Garakanidze said. "The more storage you need, the higher the throughput. Customers may need higher throughput in the case of disaster recovery, for instance.

"For those use cases, they can download data as fast as their network allows. You get 4 MBs per terabyte per second for free, but if they need high throughput, then the on-demand I/O is enabled and you get charged extra."

Cloud Storage Transfer Service allows customers to migrate online data into Google Cloud Storage from Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Azure or Rackspace.

Customers can configure one-time data migrations, as well as schedule recurring data transfers. Google also is offering a TCO calculator, so customers can get an estimate of how much they are saving on Google Cloud Storage compared to AWS.

Henry Baltazar, a senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc., called on-demand performance the most interesting piece of Google's announcement.

"With this enhancement, clients can request faster performance and this could be used to accelerate key tasks, such as disaster recovery, if a customer were to use Google's cloud this way," Baltazar said.

Google's cloud announcement coincided with Amazon's positive cloud results in its earnings report. AWS revenue rose 81% over last year to $1.82 billion a year ago. Amazon stated that operating income for the cloud division rose to $391 million from $77 million last year.

Google, which doesn't break out earnings for its cloud platform, is trying to grab a share of Amazon's revenue with its new services.

"It's still early on in the cloud storage race," Baltazar said. "We believe competition will only continue to intensify because these players need to capture enterprise data to sell other advanced services, such as analytics and disaster recovery."

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