Comparing Cloud Storage Options: Google Cloud

Comparing Cloud Storage Options: Google Cloud

Sarojini Devi Nagappan
30 April 2020

Google Cloud Storage (GCS) is one of the many products provided by the Google Cloud Platform. Google Cloud Storage (GCS) is a reliable, scalable, and consistent online object and blob storage with four different classes to accommodate the different requirements needs. Besides the cloud storage, there are also other cloud storage products like Persistent Disk, Cloud Storage for Firebase, Filestore, and Drive Enterprise. This blog will walk you through the overview, key features pricing of google cloud storage.

Google Cloud Storage Overview

Google Cloud Storage consists of four main components which are projects, buckets, objects, and access controls. The GCS lifecycle can be viewed as a project consisting of buckets, the bucket stores objects and the permissions to access and control the buckets and objects is configured using the access control management component.

GCS stores unstructured data which stores sequences of bytes on a location identified by a unique id. This sequence of bytes, known as objects, can be any form of data including images, tables, text files. GCS has no insights of data on its structure, it only receives objects and later returns them as requested by the user. The objects it receives are stored in buckets like how files are stored in a hierarchical structure in a normal operating system. Just because it stores data in the object format, it is highly scalable and facilitates fast access to data. It is very useful for video streaming, image, and web data. It is also a great product for backup archives which are helpful in any disaster recovery and it also serves as an important component for regulation and compliance. 

Security of the data is entirely managed by the user with customer-managed encryption keys generated by Google Key Management Service. To ensure the reliability and security of the data, the bucket level and object-level access permission can be managed using Cloud Identity and Access Management (Cloud IAM). With all these features, GCS can be said to be a complete versatile cloud storage solution. The pricing model depends on the storage class and its availability for the type of data in the storage.

GCS Storage Class

The classes are categorised by the data access frequency  :

  • Standard: High availability, performance, and suitable for frequently accessed and short live data
  • Nearline: Highly durable low in cost and suitable for data which are not frequently accessed
  • Coldline: Suitable for backup 
  • Archive: Designed for long term preservation of data

The storage class not only sets the differentiator on object access frequency, but it also changes the minimum storage duration. Minimum storage capacity is also used to decide the charges for the storage.

Storage Class

Access Frequency

Minimum Storage Duration

Standard

High-frequency access

None

Nearline

Data accessed less than once a month

30 days

Coldline

Data accessed less than once a quarter

90 days

Archive

Data accessed less than once a year

365 days

Google Cloud also includes other storage products for block storage, file storage, user-generated content, and services like collaboration and data transfer. 

Google Persistent Disk

Persistent Disk is a highly available and durable SSD and HDD storage for instances running in either Compute Engine or Google Kubernetes Engine. Like google cloud storage, the persistent disk is scalable and can be automatically encrypted for data protection.

Cloud Filestore

Filestore is a scalable, durable file storage service for applications which requires a shared filesystem for its data. It has very suitable content management systems, databases, and any workload which needs low latency.

Cloud Storage for Firebase

Firebase serves as a backend as a service for developers to develop the apps for a profit quickly using the Google infrastructure. Cloud storage for Firebase is an object-based storage service for applications developed using Firebase. Developers can use the Firebase SDK to upload and download files securely to the google cloud storage.

Google Cloud Storage(GCS) Key Features

Strong consistency

Updated data is returned immediately after any update, write, or delete operation is performed on any objects in the bucket. This means the GET operation will always return objects at the most updated and completed state.

  • High Availability: Any of the above storage tiers is committed to offering high availability at any point in time. The SLA states a 99.99% of availability in regional locations. The regions for the buckets can be configured to your nearest location.
  • High Durability: Once the data is uploaded into GCS, it is automatically replicated to nearest region data centres and also across at least two different geographical locations. This is to prevent any downtime if any one of the region data centres fails. Checksums are often validated for data at transit and data at rest to ensure data integrity. 
  • Scalable: Like any other cloud storage, scalability is a key feature to ensure support for growing data volume. GCS offers scalable storage to support small scale right up to large scale applications.

Backup Ninja on Google Cloud Storage

Google Cloud Platform provides storage services for other external products or services as a cloud storage provider. Backup Ninja is a backup as a service product which allows you to have local cloud storage to store your open source database backups and archives. With just four simple steps, you can have your database backup on the google cloud storage platform.

Step One

Select Google Cloud as your preferred cloud storage provider

Backup Ninja on Google Cloud Storage

Step Two

Choose your preferred region

Backup Ninja on Google Cloud Storage

Step Three 

Enter your cloud credentials

Backup Ninja on Google Cloud Storage

Step Four

Complete your configuration

Backup Ninja on Google Cloud Storage

Conclusion

Google Cloud Storage is a versatile cloud storage platform and is a great product to store various types of data to meet different needs and requirements. Similar to its competitor Amazon Web Services, it has evolved over the years and keeps introducing new products and services to offer the best storage solution at the lowest cost possible. One such initiative is the introduction of storage classes where the users can pay for data as per storage used and according to the region. Google cloud storage is also integrated with various other products as a cloud storage product. In conclusion, there are various storage classes and products in the Google Cloud Platform, you need to be sure of the type of data to be stored, access frequency and finally the cost involved before making a decision.