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What Is Google Cloud Platform (GCP)?

What Is Google Cloud Platform (GCP)?

In this “What is Google Cloud Platform” tutorial, we will be discussing the following topics:

Check out this insightful video on What is Google Cloud Platform:

Before starting with Google Cloud, let us first understand What Cloud Computing is:

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing, in simple words, is accessing and storing data over the Internet instead of doing it on your personal hard drive.

It offers services like storage, database, networking, and moreover the Internet to provide faster, innovative, and flexible resources to its customers. The customers get to pay only for the resources they use, hence helping them lower their operating costs and run their business infrastructure more efficiently.

Now, among various cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft, VMWare, IBM, etc., Google Cloud has been the talk of the town in recent years and there are enough reasons behind it. Let’s begin with starters and understand what Google Cloud is.

Go through this Cloud Computing Tutorial to learn the vital concepts in detail.

What Is Google Cloud Platform?

Google Cloud is a suite of Cloud Computing services offered by Google. The platform provides various services like computing, storage, networking, Big Data, and many more that run on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its end users like Google Search and YouTube.

Google server hasn’t gone down in years. So, if you are planning to run your application on the Google Cloud infrastructure, then you can be assured of your applications being safe and secure.

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Why Google Cloud?

Why Google Cloud

Now that we understand what Google Cloud is, let’s discover why one must opt for it?

Google Cloud has been one of the top cloud providers in the IT industry. The services they offer can be accessed by software developers, as it provides a reliable and highly scalable infrastructure to build, test, and deploy their applications.

As mentioned earlier, Gartner announced Google as a leader in the 2018 Gartner Infrastructure as a Service Magic Quadrant. It compared Google with other cloud providers and identified Google as one of the top three leaders in the market. So, if you are looking for a cloud platform with an extensive catalog of services and offerings with global recognition, Google Cloud is the right choice for you.

Here’s a brief comparison of the top three cloud contenders.

Comparison of Google Cloud, AWS and Azure

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Let’s look into a few benefits that Google Cloud has to offer to its users:

Benefits of Google Cloud
  • Best Pricing: Google Cloud hosting plans are cheaper than other platforms’ hosting plans. Google Cloud offers to its customers the pay-as-you-go feature where the users only have to pay for the resources they use.
  • Work from Anywhere: Employees gain complete access to information across devices from anywhere in the world through web-based applications powered by Google.
  • Private Network: Google provides its own network to every customer so that they have more control and scalability over the network. It uses fiber-optic cables to spread its network, as they tend to bear any amount of traffic. Users get the maximum time and efficiency due to this private network.
  • Security: Google has hired a large set of security professionals who help in protecting the data on servers. All data on the Cloud platform is encrypted. So, users can be sure of their data being safe and secure. Redundant Backup: Google has its own in-built redundant backups. So, if the data stored by the user is lost, then Google would have created a backup for it. So, your data is technically not lost! Redundancy helps ensure data integrity, reliability, and durability.

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Google Cloud Services

Google Cloud has been expanding across the globe. The reason is the wide array of services it offers to its users:

  • Google Cloud Compute Services
  • Google Cloud Storage Services
  • Networking
  • Big Data Services
  • Security and Identity Management
  • Management Tools
  • Cloud AI
  • IoT

Let’s get brief information on each:

Google Cloud Services

Compute Services

  • Google App Engine: Platform as a Service to deploy Java, PHP, and other applications. It is a Cloud Computing platform for developing and hosting web applications in Google-managed data centers. It offers the automatic scaling feature, i.e., as the number of requests for an application increases, the App Engine automatically allocates more resources for the application to handle the additional demand.
  • Compute Engine: Infrastructure as a Service to run Microsoft Windows and Linux virtual machines. It is a component of the Google Cloud platform which is built on the same infrastructure that runs Google’s search engine, YouTube, and other services.
  • Kubernetes Engine: It aims at providing a platform for automating deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts. It works with a wide range of container tools including docker.

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Storage Services

  • Google Cloud Storage: An online file storage web service for storing and accessing data on a Google Cloud platform infrastructure. The service combines the performance and scalability of Google Cloud with advanced security and sharing capabilities.
  • Cloud SQL: A web service that allows you to create, configure, and use relational databases that live in Google Cloud. It maintains, manages, and administers your databases allowing you to focus on your applications and services.
  • Cloud Bigtable: A fast, fully managed, and highly scalable NoSQL database service. It is designed for the collection and retention of data from 1 TB to hundreds of PB.


  • VPC: Virtual Private Cloud provides a private network with IP allocation, routing, and network firewall policies to create a secure environment for your deployments.
  • Cloud Load Balancing: It is a process of distributing workloads across multiple computing resources. This reduces the cost and maximizes the availability of resources.
  • Content Delivery Network: A geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers. The goal here is to provide high availability and high performance by spatially distributing the service relating to end users.

Big Data

  • BigQuery: Google BigQuery Service is a fully managed data analysis service that enables businesses to analyze Big Data. It features highly scalable data storage, the ability to perform ad-hoc queries, and the ability to share data insights via the web.
  • Google Cloud Datastore: A fully managed, schema-less, non-relational datastore. It supports atomic transactions and a rich set of query capabilities and can automatically scale up and down depending on the load.
  • Google Cloud Dataproc: A fast, easy-to-use, and manage Spark and Hadoop service for distributed data processing. With Cloud Dataproc, you can create Spark or Hadoop clusters, sized for your workloads precisely when you need them.

Cloud AI

  • Cloud Machine Learning Engine: A managed service that will enable you to build Machine Learning models based on mainstream frameworks.
  • Cloud AutoML: A Machine Learning product that enables developers to provide their data sets and obtain access to quality trained models by Google’s transfer learning and Neural Architecture Search.

We hope this blog post has given you a better understanding of the GCP career opportunities available at Google Cloud!

Management Tools

  • Google Stackdriver: Provides performance and diagnostics data in the form of monitoring, logging, tracing, error reporting, and alerting it to public cloud users.
  • Google Cloud Console App: A GCP console is a native mobile application that enables customers to manage the key Google Cloud services. It provides monitoring, altering, and the ability to take action on resources.

Identity and Security

  • Cloud Data Loss Prevention API:  It helps you manage sensitive data. It provides a fast and scalable classification for sensitive data elements like credit card numbers, names, passport numbers, and more.
  • Cloud IAM: Cloud Identity and Access Management refer to a framework of policies and technologies for ensuring that proper people in an enterprise have the appropriate access to technology resources. It is also called identity management (IdM).


  • Cloud IoT Core: It is a fully managed service that allows you to easily and securely connect, manage, and ingest data from devices that are connected to the Internet. It permits the utilization of other Google Cloud services for collecting, processing, analyzing, and visualizing IoT data in real-time.
  • Cloud IoT Edge: Edge computing brings memory and computing power closer to the location where it is needed.

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Google Cloud Platform Pros and Cons

Let’s quickly take a look at some of the pros and cons of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

GCP Pros

Each service in the GCP has its own use case and was designed to work specifically with the next service and their well-defined rules of engagement.

  • The GCP documentation is unparalleled when it comes to strengths. Everyone loves how Google incorporates actions into GCP’s documents. It’s divided into an overview section, followed by a hands-on section, and guides the reader through the implementation of the feature or service.
  • GCP’s global backbone network uses advanced software-defined networking and edge-caching services for fast, scalable, and consistent performance delivery. Despite the premium-tier global network being a bit expensive, the ability to design architectures using a virtual private cloud (VPC) automatically routing traffic on a global network is definitely worth the investment.

GCP Cons

  • Google Cloud Platform offers far fewer services than those by its leading competitors viz. AWS and Azure.
  • GCP’s opinionated model on how their cloud services should be used is only catering to software developers.

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GCP Infrastructure, Regions, and Zones

There are currently 24 locations around the world for Google’s global infrastructure where its resources are offered.

Locations within a region have availability zones that are isolated from a single point of failure. Some resources such as the HTTP global load balancer are global. This means they can receive requests from any Google edge location and region.

Resources, like storage, can be regional and are distributed across multiple zones within a region for redundancy. Zonal resources, including computing instances, only exist in one specific zone within one specific region.

During the deployment of applications on GCP, the locations must be selected based on performance, scalability, security needs, and reliability.

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Top Users of Google Cloud

Now that we are well aware of the Google Cloud benefits and services, let’s now have a look at the top users of this cloud platform.

Users of Google Cloud
  • Twitter: A well-known application, which lets people share information. With people tweeting more and more every day, the data produced is enormously large. Google Cloud is used for storing and computing purposes.
  • 20th Century Fox: Data scientists at 20th Century Fox and Google Cloud have developed Machine Learning software that can analyze movie trailers and predict how likely people are to see those movies in theaters.
  • PayPal: PayPal partners with Google Cloud to increase security, build a faster network, and develop services for its customers.
  • eBay: eBay uses Google Cloud to innovate in image search, improve customer experiences in China, and train translation models.
  • Chevron: Chevron uses Google AutoML Vision to find information that is always challenging to get when you need it.
  • HSBC: HSBC brings a new level of security, compliance, and governance to its banks using Google Cloud.
  • LG CNS: LG CNS data analytics solution, with Google AI and Edge TPU, will provide great value for LG CNS customers in the smart factory arena.

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Google Cloud Free Tier

Google Cloud Tier gives you free resources to learn about Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services by trying them on your own. Whether you’re a fresher to this platform and do not know the basics, or you’re an established customer and want to experiment with new solutions, the GCP Free Tier has you covered.

Google provides a 12-month free trial period worth $300 of credit and on top of that it also offers a free trial option that has no time limit

Google Cloud Pricing

Every GCP service consumes fundamental resources of cloud computing like processor power, data storage, memory, and connectivity. While customers are typically charged for the resources that these services consume. So, whatever you choose to do with GCP, you pay for the resources they consume, BigQuery and BigTable can incur some significant expenses in data storage consumption.

There is a separate pricing model, particularly for GCP’s automated workload deployment mechanism called the Cloud Run.

GCP is not only cheaper but they offer other benefits too. Let’s have a look at a few:

  • Lower Prices:

Compared to other cloud providers, Google offers a massive 60 percent savings which consist of:

  • 24 percent sustained usage discounts
  • 21 percent list price differences
  • 15 percent rightsizing recommendation
  • Pay-as-you-go: Google Cloud offers the ‘use now, pay later’ policy. Users have to pay only for the services they use.
  • No Termination Fee: The moment you stop using the services, you stop paying for them.

So, how much does using Google Cloud Platform typically cost?

  • New users receive $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads. There are over 20 products that are free for all customers, up to monthly usage limits.
  • ​​Google offers a pricing calculator for more general usage models, but your ballpark estimate of the resources you plan to consume needs to be pretty narrow.
  • Google Compute Engine has its own selection of VM instances that are pre-defined, with base prices that range from $0.021 and $0.026 per virtual CPU per hour of processing and from $0.0029 and $0.0035 per gigabyte per hour for storage.

The above base price ranges are for US-based services, based on the chosen availability zone. These figures are recalculated by Google every second with usage rounded up to the nearest minute.

GCP also offers discounts for certain usage patterns, which can reduce average expenditures for its cloud services:

  • Google Compute Engine allows customers to choose a machine instance that may be pre-empted when not active. GCE customers pay for the instance’s availability, which may then be discounted by 70 percent when resources are not in use. (Uploading a custom disk image to a VM instance, however, does incur a surcharge.)
  • GCP allows the creation of custom usage types, enabling the selection of virtual machine buildouts that are unique from pre-defined models. However, Google no longer promises discounts for the usage of custom types instead of pre-defined types.
  • GCP applies ‘sustained use discounts’ on persistently available workloads, on a roughly linear scale starting with workloads used over 25 percent of all available time during a particular month. A workload that runs continuously during the billing period may be discounted as much as 30 percent.
  • Google offers discounts as much as 57 percent for users committing up-front to resource usage from between 1 to 3 years of sustained service.
  • If heavy data consumption is anticipated, customers can sign up for a plan called Storage Growth Plan that offers discounts if they commit to a minimum price per month for a year. This is tailored for very heavy data consumers and not small businesses. This plan is for enterprises that plan to have GCS host enormous data stores.

Job Opportunities

Having in-depth knowledge about Google Cloud will not only add weight to your resume but will also bring a lot of new job opportunities for you.

Following are the job roles:

  • Cloud Software Engineer
  • Sales Engineer
  • Technical Solutions Engineer
  • Data Center Software Engineer
  • Strategic Customer Engineer
  • Account Executive
  • Solutions Architect
  • Technical Lead Manager
  • Technical Program Manager

Let us now give you a demo to create an instance using Google Compute Engine (A compute service of Google Cloud).

Check this video from Intellipaat on What Google Cloud Platform is:

Creating a VM Instance:

Step 1: It is important that you are signed up for Google Cloud Platform Free Tier. To gain access to this service, you need to just create a free account on GCP. You get $300 worth of credit to spend it over a period of 12 months. Here’s how you do it.

You need to provide your card details, but you won’t be charged extra after your trial period ends.

Step 2: After signing up, the following web page will be opened. On the top-left corner, you will have a drop-down option. It has a default project selected. Click on it to explore more options.

Step 3: The web page that appears next lets you select an existing project which you can search in the search tab. You can also click on the plus sign to add a new one.

Step 4: Next click on the drop-down option on the left corner and select Compute Engine.

Step 5: Now, click on Create to create the instance.

Step 6: Now, fill in the details for your instance. You can customize your instance specifications to suit your needs. The cost, for instance, may vary as per the location and memory you choose.

Step 7: Fill in the details and click on Create.

Step 8: And there you go, you have your instance ready!

Step 9:  Compute Engine provides tools to manage your SSH keys and help you connect to either Linux or Windows Server instances.

On clicking the browser window, a CLI will appear where you can run your commands.

Well, Cloud Computing is a recently new technological development that has the potential to have a great impact on the world. It’s very important to have good knowledge about all available options to make a wise choice.

GCP architecture provides you with the framework which is allowed you to make cloud topology.

And now that you are well aware of what is Google Cloud Platform, Google Cloud services, and their innovative tools, you must also be familiar with why Google Cloud tends to stand out among the rest of the cloud providers. It comes as no surprise that a company like Google Cloud, with its abundant services and experiences in the area of making some excellent products,  has never failed to impress its customers.

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About the Author

Application Architect

Rupinder is a certified IT expert in AWS and Azure, working as a DevOps Architect and specializing in cloud and infrastructure. He designs and builds entire IT setups for important apps in banking, insurance, and finance.