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When businesses talk about the public cloud, two of the top concerns that often come up are speed and cost. Google is hoping to give its cloud users more control over these aspects with new network tiers that help them optimize for either performance or cost savings.
Premium Tier – which Google said is optimized for performance – is what existing Google Cloud customers use. This tier “delivers traffic over Google’s well-provisioned, low latency, highly reliable global network. This network consists of an extensive global private fiber network with over 100 points of presence (POPs) across the globe.”
In Premium Tier, end users enter Google’s private network through the POP closest to them, and GCP delivers the traffic to the application over the private network.
Given that existing customers are already accustomed to the performance of Premium Tier, it seems unlikely that these customers would be the target for the cheaper tier; however Google said that some use cases may suit the Standard Tier, which offers lower performance.
“Over the last 18 years, we built the world’s largest network, which by some accounts delivers 25-30 percent of all internet traffic,” Urs Hölzle, SVP Technical Infrastructure, Google said. “You enjoy the same infrastructure with Premium Tier. But for some use cases, you may prefer a cheaper, lower-performance alternative. With Network Service Tiers, you can choose the network that’s right for you, for each application.”
Google said that Standard Tier delivers network quality comparable to that of other major clouds, and is less expensive because outbound traffic is delivered from GCP to the internet over transit (ISP) networks instead of Google’s private network. Because of this, “the performance, availability and redundancy characteristics of Standard Tier depend on the transit provider(s) carrying your traffic.”
Having a choice in network performance certainly supports the notion that there is no cloud that is one-size-fits-all, and as enterprises still see cost as a barrier to cloud adoption, having a cheaper option for less performance-heavy applications or workloads could be a selling point for Google Cloud Platform.
“Cloud customers want choices in service levels and cost. Matching the right service to the right business requirements provides the alignment needed by customers,” Dan Conde, Analyst at ESG said. “Google is the first public cloud provider to recognize that in the alpha release of Network Service Tiers. Premium Tier caters to those who need assured quality, and Standard Tier to those who need lower costs or have limited need for global networking.”
In preliminary performance measurements by Cedexis, Premium Tier delivers higher throughput and lower latency than Standard Tier. The performance dashboards are available on its website.
Google is also introducing new pricing for Premium and standard Tiers which will take effect when Network Service Tiers become GA. Outbound traffic is priced 24 – 33 percent lower in Standard Tier than in Premium Tier for North America and Europe.
When comparing Premium Tier and Standard Tier it may be important for some users to note that while Premium offers a Global SLA upon GA, Standard will not, so it is certainly something to factor in when determining whether the cost savings are worth it.