Introduction to Google Cloud Platform and useful services

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is Google´s home for their cloud services and cloud infrastructure tools, which was first launched in 2008 as “Google App Engine”. Since 2013, it is officially called “Google Cloud Platform”.

Compared to its direct cloud competitors, the Google Cloud platform is regarded third biggest cloud services provider behind the market leader Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. It is followed by IBM Cloud and Alibaba Cloud. Similarly to the other leading platforms, Google offers a very wide range of services, which can be accessed through the Google Cloud Console. Google cloud services include: 

1.    Cloud Computing services that allow deploying applications. Those services include for instance computing space for apps, workloads, or Kubernetes, as well as execution of cloud functions and workloads. 

2.    Database and Storage services, which help to store objects, files, or databases in networks with different access and pricing models.

3.    Networking services allow creating and configuring networks within the Google cloud platform, including virtual private networks (VPC), load balancing, content delivery networks (CDN), connections, and DNS services. 

4.    Big Data services allow analyzing large amounts of data and Google provides different services based on the data type and the requirements.

5.    Machine Learning (ML) services help automate or improve applications or identification of patterns, objects, persons, speech etc. 

6.    Infrastructure Management services are general services that help to execute and manage all the services on the platform. Those services include for instance identity and access, deployment management, and API management. 

7.    API and Ecosystems Management are services that are mainly based on the former independent company apigee and include services such as API Management, API Monetization, and API analytics.

8.    Data Transfer services help to migrate to the Google cloud. Services include physical and also digital services to migrate data. 

 

Apart from those most important services, there are many more available, such as services around the Internet of Things (IoT) or services for particular industries. Google cloud services that are not available on the Google Cloud Platform include services that are available via the G suite, such as Google Mail, Docs, Sheets, Calendar, Drive, Google+ etc. Moreover, Google adds new cloud services very frequently. 

In the following, we will go through all the Google cloud platform services currently listed and understand what they are used for. Many information are taken directly from the Google website, but I have tried to explain the services in simple terms, so that it is easier to understand the full scope that Google provides. Let´s get started!

 

Compute

Google compute products include everything that allows running virtual machines on the Google cloud infrastructure. There are a number of predefined virtual machines available, but there is also the possibility to customize the virtual machines. Google compute aims at providing everything that is needed for a computing infrastructure. This includes the following products: 

1.    Compute Engine: Pre-defined or customized virtual machines

2.    App Engine: Environment to develop apps on a fully managed serverless cloud platform

3.    Bare Metal Solution: Provision of hardware that allows to run workloads with special or advanced requirements (e.g. certified hardware, complicated licensing, or support agreements) on the Google cloud platform

4.    Cloud GPUs: Used to accelerate computing jobs such as machine learning, 3D visualization or scientific computing

5.    Migrate for Compute Engine: Support to migrate application from on-premise to the Google cloud platform

6.    Preemptible Virtual Machines: Computing power that is up to 80% cheaper than normal virtual machines, but that have a maximum lifetime of up to 24 hours and that might be shut down if the workload is needed somewhere else

7.    Recommender: Data-driven machine learning approach to suggest recommendations to admins of a Google cloud

8.    Shielded VMs: Hardened virtual machines that are more secure due to several additional security aspects

9.    Sole-Tenant Nodes: Physical compute engine servers that are only dedicated to one organization in order to meet common security and compliance requirements

10. Google Cloud VMware Engine: Enables a migration or extension of on-premise VMware workloads

 

 

Storage

Google cloud storage products include several solutions to store different contents, such as media, analytics, and application data. The following products are included: 

1.    Cloud Storage: Standard storage solution by Google including different storage classes (standard, nearline, coldline, archive) that differ in terms of availability and pricing (e.g. per amount of data or per times of access)

2.    Persistent Disk: Block storage that can be attached to running virtual machines 

3.    Cloud Storage for Firebase: Object storage service specialized for Firebase

4.    Filestore: Storage of files (e.g. documents) on the Google cloud platform

5.    Local SSD: Local solid-state drive for virtual machine instances

 

 

Databases

Those services include Google products that enable migration, management, and modernization of databases in Google cloud in a secure, reliable, and highly available way. The following products are part of this section: 

1.    Cloud Bigtable: A fully managed, scalable NoSQL database service for large analytical and operational workloads

2.    Cloud Firestore: Serverless cloud-native NoSQL document database that simplifies storing, syncing, and querying data for applications

3.    Memorystore: Scalable, secure, and highly available in-memory service for open source caching engines (Redis and Memcached)

4.    Cloud Spanner: Relational database service for application data

5.    Cloud SQL: Fully managed relational database service for MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server

6.    Firebase Realtime Database: Cloud-hosted NoSQL database to store and sync data between users in realtime

 

 

Networking

Google Networking includes products that enable an easy management and scale-up of networks. Products include: 

1.    Cloud Armor: Protects applications and websites against denial of services and web attacks

2.    Cloud CDN: Fast, reliable web and video content delivery network (CDN) with global scale and reach

3.    Cloud DNS: Reliable, resilient, low-latency DNS serving from Google’s worldwide network

4.    Cloud Load Balancing: Balances traffic, e.g. between instances

5.    Cloud NAT: Management of the process in which local IP addresses are translated into Global IP addresses and vice versa, providing Internet access to local hosts

6.    Google Cloud Hybrid Connectivity: Connection of own infrastructure with the Google cloud through services such as Cloud Interconnect, Cloud VPN, or Peering

7.    Network Intelligence Center: Centralized network monitoring in terms of troubleshooting, security, and user experience

8.    Network Service Tiers: Tool to optimize a network in terms of performance or price

9.    Network Telemetry: Near real time traffic and access patterns identification that may impose security or operational risks to an organization

10. Service Directory: One single place to publish services

11. Traffic Director: Traffic management for service mesh – an abstraction that supports the delivery of micro services and other modern applications

12. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): Managed network functionalities for a virtual private cloud

 

 

Operations

Google operations provide products to monitor, troubleshoot, and improve application performance. Products include:

1.    Cloud Logging: This includes storage, search, analysis, monitoring, and alerts on log data and events from Google Cloud

2.    Cloud Monitoring: Visibility into the performance, uptime, and overall health of cloud-powered applications

3.    Application Performance Management: Helps developers to reduce latency and costs of an application by understanding in detail how an application code behaves in production

4.    Error Reporting: Service to identify and understand application errors

5.    Kubernetes Engine Monitoring: Aggregation of logs, events, and metrics from a Kubernetes environment to understand an application´s behavior in production

6.    Service Monitoring: Support of customer-defined services, such as Istio, Anthos Service Mesh, and App Engine

7.    Cloud Trace: Tool to find performance bottlenecks in production

8.    Cloud Profiler: Continuous CPU and heap profiling to improve performance and reduce costs

9.    Cloud Debugger: Investigation of code behavior in production

10. Cloud Audit Logs: Visibility of Google cloud user behavior

11. Transparent Service Level Indicators (SLIs): Monitoring of Google Cloud services and their effects on workloads

 

 

Developer Tools

Cloud developer tools are a collection of products that enhance the productivity of developers on the Google cloud platform. Products include: 

1.    Artifact Registry: Registry to manage container images and language packages (next gen of container registry)

2.    Cloud SDK: Tools and libraries for interacting with Google Cloud products and services

3.    Container Registry: Registry to manage container images and language packages

4.    Cloud Code: Everything you need in order to write, debug, and deploy cloud-native applications

5.    Cloud Build: Continuously build, test, and deploy

6.    Cloud Source Repositories: Store, manage, and track code

7.    Cloud Scheduler: Job scheduler to schedule jobs such as batch, big data jobs, and cloud infrastructure operations

8.    Cloud Tasks: Management of the execution, dispatch, and delivery of a large number of distributed tasks

9.    Cloud Code for IntelliJ: Development, deployment, and debugging of applications inside of IntelliJ

10. Cloud Tools for PowerShell: Script, automate, and manage Windows workloads running on Google cloud platform

11. Cloud Tools for Visual Studio: Deployment of visual studio applications to Google cloud platform

12. Google Cloud Tools for Eclipse Documentation: Google-sponsored open source plugin that supports Google Cloud Platform development inside the Eclipse IDE

13. Gradle App Engine Plugin: Plugin to provide tasks to build and deploy Google App Engine applications

14. Maven App Engine Plugin: Plugin to provide goals to build and deploy Google App Engine applications

15. Firebase Test Lab: Test of applications on a device hosted in a Google data center

16. Firebase Crashlytics: Reporting and analysis of crash reports in realtime

17. Tekton: Kubernetes-native CI/CD building blocks

 

 

Data Analytics

Data Analytics is Google´s fully managed serverless analytics platform. Products include: 

1.    Big Query: Serverless, highly scalable, and cost-effective cloud data warehouse designed for business agility

2.    Looker: An enterprise platform for business intelligence, data applications, and embedded analytics

3.    Cloud Composer: A fully managed workflow orchestration service built on Apache Airflow

4.    Dataflow: Unified stream and batch data processing

5.    Cloud Data Fusion: Cloud-native data integration

6.    Cloud Dataprep by Trifacta: A cloud data service to visually explore, clean, and prepare data for analysis and machine learning

7.    Dataproc: Support for open source data and analytics processing

8.    Google Data Studio: Interactive data suite for dashboarding, reporting, and analytics

9.    Pub/Sub: Messaging service for event ingestion and delivery

10. Data Catalog: Fully managed and highly scalable data discovery and metadata management service

11. Cloud Life Sciences: Containerized workflows to enable processing, analysis, and annotation of genomics and biomedical data

12. Cloud Marketing Platform: Marketing platform unifying advertising and analytics

 

 

AI and Machine Learning

AI and Machine Learning covers machine learning products and services on the Google cloud platform. They include:

1.    Cloud AI Building Blocks: Building blocks that enable an enhancement of existing applications with AI or build new applications based on AI aspects

2.    Cloud AutoML: A suite of machine learning products that enables developers with limited machine learning expertise to train high-quality models specific to their business needs

3.    Vision AI: Analyze images to detect emotions, understand texts etc.

4.    Video AI: Analyze videos to track objects, make a video searchable etc.

5.    Natural Language: Unstructured test analysis

6.    Translation: Google translation service

7.    Media Translation: Real-time audio translation of content and applications

8.    Text-to-Speech: Speech synthesis in 180+ voices and 30+ languages

9.    Speech-to-Text: Speech recognition and transcription supporting 120 languages

10. Dialogflow: Conversation applications and systems development suite

11. AutoML Tables: Training machine learning models with structured data

12. Cloud Inference API: Analysis of large-scale correlations over typed time-series datasets

13. Recommendations AI: Personalized product recommendations

 

 

AI Platform and Accelerators

AI Platform and Accelerators support the AI Machine Learning products. They cover:

1.    AI Platform: Platform for training, hosting, and managing machine learning models

2.    AI Platform Deep Learning VM Image: Preconfigured VMs for deep learning applications

3.    AI Platform Notebooks: Managed service that offers an integrated and secure environment for data scientists and machine learning developers to experiment, develop, and deploy models into production

4.    Deep Learning Containers: Preconfigured and optimized containers for deep learning environments

5.    Cloud Data Labeling: AI Platform Data Labeling Service

6.    AI Hub: Hosted AI repository with one-click deployment for machine learning teams

7.    Cloud TPU: Tensor processing units for machine learning applications

8.    TensorFlow Enterprise: AI applications support

 

 

API Management

API Management covers products that develop, manage, monetize, and analyze APIs. There are also particular products for banking and healthcare APIs. Products include: 

1.    Apigee API Platform: API management, development, and security platform

2.    API Analytics: Dashboards, custom reports, and metrics for API performance

3.    API Monetization: Revenue stream and business model creation from APIs

4.    Apigee Hybrid: Deployment option for managing APIs on-premises or in the cloud

5.    Apigee Sense: Behavior detection to protect APIs

6.    Cloud Endpoints: Deployment and development management for APIs on Google Cloud

7.    Developer Portal: Self-service and custom developer portal creation

8.    Apigee Healthcare APIx: Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) API-based digital service formation

9.    Apigee Open Banking APIx: API delivery that is compliant with banking standards

10. Cloud Healthcare API: Solution to bridge existing care systems and apps on Google Cloud

11. AppSheet: Creation and extension of applications without coding

 

 

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud services support deployments of hybrid and multi clouds in particular. Products include: 

1.    Anthos: Platform for modernizing existing apps and building new ones

2.    Anthos Google Kubernetes Engine: Solution to run containerized apps across different environments

3.    Anthos Config Management: Policy and security automation for hybrid Kubernetes deployments.

4.    Anthos Service Mesh: Management of the complexity and fragmentation of micro services architectures

5.    Cloud Run for Anthos: Integration that provides a serverless development platform on Google Kubernetes Engine

6.    Google Cloud Marketplace for Anthos: Containerized apps with prebuilt deployment and unified billing

7.    Migrate for Anthos: Tool to move workloads and existing applications to Google Kubernetes Engine

8.    Operations: Monitoring, logging, and application performance suit

9.    Cloud Build: Service for executing builds on Google Cloud infrastructure

10. Traffic Director: Traffic control panel and management for open service mesh

11. Apigee API Management: API management, development, and security platform

 

 

Migration

Migration includes products and services that help to move datacenters, workloads, or applications from on-site or from another cloud into the Google cloud environment. Products include: 

1.    BigQuery Data Transfer Service: Data import service for scheduling and moving data into BigQuery

2.    Cloud Data Transfer: Tools and services for transferring data to Google Cloud

3.    Cloud Foundation Toolkit: Reference templates for Deployment Manager and Terraform

4.    Storage Transfer Service: Data transfers from online and on-premises sources to Cloud Storage

5.    Migrate for Anthos: Components for migrating VMs into system containers on Google Kubernetes Engine

6.    Migrate for Compute Engine: Components for migrating VMs and physical servers to Compute Engine

7.    Transfer Appliance: Storage server for moving large volumes of data to Google Cloud

8.    VM Migration: VM migration to the cloud for low-cost refresh cycles

 

 

Security and Identity

Google cloud platform has an extensive list of security, identity & access, and user protection services ready for usage. Those include: 

Security

1.    Access Transparency: Cloud provider visibility through near real-time logs

2.    Binary Authorization: Way to identify trusted containers so that only those are deployed on the Kubernetes Engine

3.    Cloud Asset Inventory: View, monitor, and analyze Google Cloud and Anthos assets across projects and services

4.    Cloud Data Loss Prevention: Sensitive data inspection, classification, and redaction platform

5.    Cloud External Key Manager: Third-party key management system to encrypt data

6.    Cloud Hardware Security Module (HSM): Crypto key protection with a managed hardware security service

7.    Cloud Key Management Service (KMS): KMS for creating, importing, and managing cryptographic keys

8.    Firewalls: Global and flexible firewalls to protect cloud resources

9.    Security Command Center: Platform for defending against threats to one´s cloud

10. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Service Controls: Management of security perimeters

11. Chronicle: Security telemetry analysis to find threats

12. Secret Manager: Storage of API keys, passwords, certificates, and other sensitive data

 

Identity & Access

13. Cloud Identity and Access Management: Permissions management system for Google cloud resources

14. Cloud Identity: Unified platform for IT admins to manage user devices and apps

15. Identity-Aware Proxy: Usage of identity and context to guard access to applications and VMs

16. Context-Aware Access: Management of access to apps and infrastructure based on a user’s identity and context

17. Identity Platform: Google-grade identity and access management for applications

18. Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory: Hardened service running Microsoft ® Active Directory (AD)

19. Policy Intelligence: Smart access control for your Google Cloud resources

20. Resource Manager: Hierarchical management for organizing resources on Google Cloud

21. Security Key Enforcement: Prevention of account takeovers through enforcement of security key

22. Titan Security Key: Two-factor authentication device for user account protection

 

User Protection Services

23. Phishing Protection: Protection of users from phishing sites

24. reCAPTCHA Enterprise: Website protection from fraudulent activity, spam, and abuse

25. Web Risk API: Detection of malicious URLs on websites and in client applications

 

 

Serverless Computing

Serverless computing is a cluster of products and services that allows to develop applications without the need to take care of the developing infrastructure. Products include: 

1.    Cloud Run: Compute platform for running and scaling stateless containers

2.    App Engine: Serverless application platform for apps and back ends

3.    Cloud Functions: Platform for creating functions that respond to cloud events

4.    Knative: Components to create Kubernetes-native cloud-based software

 

 

Containers

Containers provide a way to develop and deploy applications independently. Products include:

1.    Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE): Managed environment for running containerized apps

2.    Artifact Registry: Store, manage, and secure container images and language packages

3.    Container Registry: Registry for storing, managing, and securing Docker images

4.    Container Security: Container environment security for each stage of the life cycle

5.    Container Options: Environments and services to run containers on Google Cloud

6.    Cloud Build: Solution for running build steps in a Docker container

7.    Deep Learning Containers: Containers with data science frameworks, libraries, and tools

8.    Kubernetes Applications on Google Cloud Marketplace: Containerized apps with prebuilt deployment and unified billing

 

 

Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) products and services help Google customers to design and manage IoT solutions. Products currently include: 

1.    IoT Core: IoT device management, integration, and connection service

2.    Edge Tensor Processing Unit (TPU): Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designed to run machine learning inference and AI at the edge

 

 

Management Tools

Management tools cover a variety of products and services that help to manage Google clouds. Products include: 

1.    Private Catalogue: Service catalog for admins managing internal enterprise solutions

2.    Cloud Deployment Manager: Service for creating and managing Google Cloud resources

3.    Cloud Console: Web-based interface for managing and monitoring cloud apps

4.    Cloud Shell: Interactive shell environment with a built-in command line

5.    Cloud Mobile App: App to manage Google Cloud services from your mobile device

6.    Cost Management: Tools for monitoring, controlling, and optimizing your costs

7.    Cloud APIs: Programmatic interfaces for Google Cloud services

8.    Anthos Service Mesh: Management of the complexity and fragmentation of micro services architectures

 

Google cloud platform has also developed towards providing industry-specific products and services. So far, there are the following two available: 

 

 

Healthcare and Life Sciences Cloud

1.    Apigee Healthcare APIx: Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) API-based digital service formation

2.    Cloud Healthcare API: Solution to bridge existing care systems and apps on Google Cloud

3.    Cloud Life Sciences: Tools for managing, processing, and transforming biomedical data

 

 

Media and Gaming Cloud

1.    Game Servers: Game server management service running on Google Kubernetes Engine

2.    Anvato: Media content platform for Over the Top (OTT) services and video streaming

3.    Zync Render: Platform for 3D modeling and rendering on Google Cloud infrastructure

4.    OpenCue: Open source render manager for visual effects and animation

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