Provider of computing resources

Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform is a provider of computing resources for deploying and operating applications on the web. Its specialty is providing a place for individuals and enterprises to build and run software, and it uses the web to connect to the users of that software. Think of tens of thousands of websites operating on a network of "hyperscale" (very big, but also very divisible) data centers, and you'll get the basic idea.

When you run a website, an application, or a service on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Google keeps track of all of the resources it uses -- specifically, how much processing power, data storage, database queries, and network connectivity it consumes. Rather than lease a server or a DNS address by the month (which is what you would do with an ordinary website provider), you pay for each of these resources on a per-second basis (competitors charge per-minute), with discounts that apply when your services are used heavily by your customers on the web.

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1. Automating the deployment of modern applications.

An app is made of many moving parts, which is why some developers prefer to build their apps in the cloud to begin with ("cloud-native"). Google is the originator of Kubernetes, which is an orchestrator for applications comprised of many components. Early on, Google took a proactive approach to automating the deployment of these multifaceted apps to the cloud: for example, opening itself to Kubo, an automation platform originally created to help developers using Cloud Foundry to deploy their applications from dev platforms to the cloud.

2. Creative cost control

As you'll see later, rather than being the low-cost leader, Google's strategy with GCP is to enable cost competitiveness in certain "sweet spot" scenarios. For example, Google offers a lifecycle manager for its object data storage, which enables the offloading or deletion of objects that haven't been used in 30 days or more.

3. Friendlier hand-holding for first-time users.

A cloud services platform can be an overwhelming concept for a newcomer to digest. Just as it wasn't obvious to many consumers what the purpose of a microcomputer actually was, a public cloud is a new and foreign beast for folks who are accustomed to seeing and touching the machine they're using. GCP offers step-by-step examples of doing many of the most common tasks -- for example, spinning up a Linux-based virtual machine, which is like claiming and setting up your own, brand new computer out of thin air.

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