July 2, 2012

Google Compute Engine vs EC2

If you are looking to build a web scale service, Amazon and Google cloud compute services should be at the top of the list. Compute Engine (CE) is Google’s alternative to Amazon EC2. A look at Google Compute Engine vs EC2.

Compute Engine Pricing

Amazon AWS has been around for years and continues to see healthy growth. Google is now starting to offer services that compete with AWS. While Google does not yet offer the rich suite of cloud services offered by Amazon, CE provides “compute” services, the core need for cloud infrastructure services.

A look at Compute Engine pricing vs EC2 pricing shows that the pricing is roughly comparable for the different instance types.

Google claims that its CE instances offer more compute power (than Amazon) for about the same pricing providing better value.

To optimize costs, you’d want to pick the smallest instance that meets your application needs and then have the algorithms in place to scale it up/down with load.

Additional costs that you will incur
  • Internet data transfer costs – if your web service transfers a lot of data to/from the Internet, these costs can be significant.
  • Storage costs – If your application needs to store a lot of persistent data (video?), these costs can be significant.

Today, Amazon AWS is the most widely used cloud services. It has had its occasional downtimes - e.g. the recent east coast data center power issue that led to Instagram outage and outage for other popular web services – but overall continues to deliver excellent performance.

Google runs the most reliable web services in the world. Google Compute Engine is likely to be in the same class. But, time will tell if it is more or less reliable than Amazon AWS.

Around the launch of CE, Google AppEngine a related service was displaying this server error message.

Google AppEngine 500 Server Error

Which One?
While CE also offers good price and reliability, at this point it lacks the other set of services (and that you are likely to need) offered by Amazon AWS. If you use CE, you’ll end up building these services on your own.

Today, CE will be the best fit for those who need high-performance computing (HPC). For these users other factors may not matter. Example applications - molecular analysis, large-scale data mining etc.

Others with smaller compute needs will start by picking one of EC2 or CE. When your web service grows to a very large scale, you may end up using both services for redundancy.

Tags: compute engine vs ec2, google ce vs ec2, google vs amazon cloud services, google compute engine reliability, amazon ec2 reliability, google appengine 500 server error