Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a popular set of cloud services that offers IaaS and PaaS features. Google Cloud's share of the public cloud sector trails only Amazon AWS and Azure. Like these vendors, Google Cloud uses the same massive infrastructure that hosts its most popular online applications. For Google, these apps include Google Search as well as YouTube. The GCB cloud stack contains more than 100 services related to compute, data storage, database management, networking, business analytics, Big Data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, identity, cybersecurity, IoT, and unified management.
Google Cloud Platform uses the same massive infrastructure as Google Search and YouTube
Progent has experience assisting businesses of all sizes to design, deploy, test, administer, and maintain IT environments based on various network models including on-prem data centers, private clouds, one or multiple public clouds, or a hybrid mix of onsite and cloud-based infrastructure. Progent offers quick online or onsite access to high-level consultants to assist you to evaluate the potential benefits and limitations of different network models and understand the feature set and pricing structure of Google Cloud Platform vs. alternative cloud offerings.
Progent's certified Microsoft, Linux, and Cisco experts can help you to integrate your current IT infrastructure with the Google Cloud, and Progent's database experts can help make your key applications cloud capable so they can take full advantage of Google Cloud products and services. Progent can assist you to set up virtual machines on Google Cloud Compute Engine, plan a cost-effective storage system using GCP Cloud Storage services, and streamline identity management with Google Cloud Identity. Progent can also help you to utilize GCP's unified tools to manage and track your GCP Cloud environment so it consistently provides maximum return on investment.
Key Services Offered for the Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud has over Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service services covering nearly all facets of IT including processing, data storage, database management, networking, system management, cybersecurity, web, mobility, and application development. GCP services are available on a subscription basis. Like other public cloud platforms, you pay for what you use. Popular GCP products and services for which Progent offers expert consulting and debugging include:
Compute Engine is a service for running Windows and Linux VMs in the cloud, similar to Amazon EC2 or Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines. Compute Engine VMs have transparent access to GCP block storage and advanced network infrastructure. GCP offers three basic classes of virtual machines in either pre-defined or custom sizes. GCP's N2 type virtual machine is affordably priced and designed for common applications such as web hosting, business apps, and databases. The C2 type virtual machine supports as many as 60 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) for compute-intensive apps such as electronic computer-aided design and simulations. Google Cloud's M2 type VM includes up to 11.5 TB of RAM for RAM-intensive applications such as in-memory databases or time-critical analytics. Google Cloud's sole-tenant node option provides a physical Compute Engine server for your exclusive use.
Important benefits of the Google Compute Engine include live virtual machine migration, which lets you keep virtual machines running even while undergoing scheduled maintenance, and preemptible VMs, low-priced VM compute instances which last for a max of 24 hours and are designed for executing batch jobs that can be paused and continued at any time without compromising productivity.
Additional available features for Google Compute Engine include:
Pricing for GCP Compute Engine services is calculated by per-second usage dependent on to virtual machine instances and types, disks and images, network activity, sole-tenant nodes, graphics processing units, plus other selected resources and usage patterns.
- Always-encrypted local SSD block storage for high performance and security
- Graphics Processing Unit that can be included with virtual machine instances for CPU-intense applications like machine learning and 3D graphics
- Global load balancing for optimizing performance and uptime at minimal cost
- Google Kubernetes Engine for managing Docker containers on Compute Engine VMs
Google Cloud Storage is object storage that can scale to exabytes of data. Objects placed in GCP Cloud Storage are organized in containers called buckets. Google offers four types of cloud storage, differentiated and priced based on the object's expected longevity and its hot/cold ratio. As you move through Google's storage types from Standard to Archive, access expense increase, at-rest expense decrease, and minimum storage time goes up. Google Cloud's storage classes allow you to control costs by designing the optimal price/performance profile for your environment, and GCP's Object Life Cycle Management feature allows you to program the progression of storage objects from hot to cold classes as they age. All storage classes feature global accessibility, unlimited scale (but a maximum size limit of 5 TB for individual objects, no minimum object size, low latency, on-request geo-redundancy, and a shared set of cloud security and management tools. One API works with all storage types.
Standard Storage is the default class and is suited for so-called "hot" storage accessed frequently or stored only for short periods. There is no minimum storage time. For the highest speed and lowest network usage charges, Standard Storage objects should be kept in the same geographical location as the VM instances or the container clusters that interact with the objects. Standard Storage offers the highest average uptime across regions, dual-regions, and multi-regions. Nearline Storage is a economical storage class intended for objects accessed infrequently, preferably no more than once per month. Examples of appropriate use scenarios are periodic backup and archiving. At-rest pricing is lower than with Google Cloud's Standard Storage, but access is more expensive, availability is marginally lower, and storage duration is at least 30 days.
Coldline Storage provides rock bottom storage pricing for dormant data and is suitable for situations where objects are accessed no more frequently than once a quarter. Minimum duration is three months, availability is slightly less than with Google Cloud's Standard and Nearline Storage classes, and access costs are relatively high. Google Cloud's Archive Storage, which offers the lowest at-rest storage costs but has a minimum storage duration of one year, is the preferred storage class for data kept exclusively for backup or archive purposes. Access costs for Archive Storage are the most of any GCP storage service.
Cloud Storage Encryption
Google Cloud Storage always encrypts stored data on the server side prior to writing it to disk. In addition to this standard encryption, you can choose more ways to encrypt your data. Google Cloud offers two server-side encryption services that allow objects to be encrypted after making it to Google Cloud Storage but before the data is stored to disk. Google's Customer-supplied encryption keys enables you to create and manage your own encryption keys. Google's Customer-managed encryption keys alternative enables you to generate and manage your encryption keys via Google's Cloud Key Management Service. Both these server-side encryption services provide an extra level of encryption over and above GCP's default Cloud Storage encryption service.
If you perform client-side encryption before sending your data to Google Cloud Storage, your pre-encrypted data will also be subject to Google's server-side encryption.
Google Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) is Google's centralized system for managing access to resources and assigning authority for users and services to use resources for a specified period of time. Examples of Google Cloud resources are Compute Engine VM instances and Google Cloud Storage buckets. Centralized tools offer admins the ability to manage access rights for all services available within Google Cloud. Google Cloud Identity and Access Management offers high precision in designing policies to grant groups and users permissions to access task-relevant resources while blocking access to non-essential resources.
With Google Cloud Identity and Access Management, policies are made up of roles; roles are made up of permissions; and permissions are associated with resources. Users or groups are added to policies, and through the policy they gain access to the specific resources their roles provide. As an example of Google Cloud IAM's role granularity, the Google Cloud Pub/Sub service can be accessed under a range of permissions determined by whether a user or group has been assigned the role of Owner, Editor, Viewer, Publisher, or Subscriber.
Google Cloud IAM policies are hierarchy-based, flowing downward from the organization to projects and then to resources. You can establish organization-wide policies, refine them as appropriate for a given project, and tune them further for a specific resource. You can define policies to specific resources, to a project, or at the organizational level. Policies assigned to an organization cascade down to projects in the organization and then to resources in those projects.
Cloud IAM's policy hierarchy provides flexibility for allowing or restricting access to resources
Further refinement in controlling resource access rights is offered by allowing admins to factor in contextual attributes like device security status, IP address, resource type, and time. You can control access rights via the GUI interface of Google's web-based Cloud Console, via automation by using Google Cloud IAM methods, or through Google's gcloud CLI feature. Cloud IAM automatically creates a complete audit trail to facilitate compliance.
Cloud Identity and Access Management is provided without additional cost to all Google Cloud Platform customers.
Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE is a container service for orchestrating and managing containerized apps. Kubernetes was initially developed by Google to automate Docker container orchestration and was made available as open source at the end of 2014. Since then Kubernetes has become the leading solution for managing containerized applications.
Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is built on Google's Container-Optimized OS and supports Certified Kubernetes, allowing workload portability to other Kubernetes products across cloud and local environments. To accelerate software development, prebuilt open-source deployment templates for enterprise-grade apps are offered on Google Cloud Marketplace.
The Migrate for Anthos tool, offered at no cost with Google Kubernetes Engine, enables you to move and convert your applications easily from your current environment into GKE containers. These workloads can include physical servers and VMs situated on-premises, in Google's Compute Engine, or in other clouds. GKE allows pod and cluster autoscaling for continuous analysis of the CPU and memory usage of pods and for dynamically tuning processor and memory requests across node pools.
Other capabilities of Google Kubernetes Engine include preemptible VMs, persistent storage, always-encrypted local solid-state drive (SSD) block storage, global load balancing to maximize performance and uptime, support for both Windows Server and Linux nodes, the capability of running stateless serverless containers via the GCP Cloud Run service, and usage metering for granular insight into your Kubernetes clusters.
Google Kubernetes Engine complies with HIPAA and PCI DSS 3.1. standards. For enhanced security, GKE Sandbox delivers an additional layer of protection between containerized GKE workloads. Google Kubernetes Engine clusters offer integrated support for Kubernetes Network Policy to filter traffic via pod-level firewall policies. Private clusters in GKE can be limited to a private or public device with access limited to distinct address ranges.
GKE is priced based on each GCP Compute Engine instance in a cluster. Use of GCP Compute Engine resources is billed by the second with a one-minute minimum charge.
Cloud AI Building Blocks enable software developers, even with little or no machine learning experience, to incorporate Google's leading-edge AI technology into their applications. Core capabilities address vision, language, and conversation. By using Google's APIs, you can access Google's pre-trained AI models and avoid having to deal with creating your own datasets and training and testing your own AI models. As Google's catalog of pre-trained models grows in sophistication and size, you can immediately add state-of-the-art AI technology to your apps. In addition, Google Cloud AutoML products give you the utilities you need to train, test and deploy your custom domain-specific machine learning models. Developers can use any Google Cloud AI Building Block individually or in combination with other AI Building Blocks according to your business requirements.
Google GCP Cloud AI Building Blocks add vision, language, and speech capabilities to applications
For AI-enhanced imaging, Google Cloud AI Building Blocks include the AutoML Vision and Vision API services that help you to extract insights from image libraries. Both products use REST and RPC APIs and enable your application to detect objects and their location within the image. AutoML Vision streamlines training for your custom machine learning (ML) models by providing an intuitive graphical interface. Once you optimize your models for accuracy, speed and size, you can export them to the Google GCP Cloud or to a variety of edge devices.
Vision API offers integration with Google's out-of-the-box models. You can quickly classify images using Google's extensive collections of pre-trained labels. Google Cloud's Vision API uses OCR technology to detect text, in more than 50 languages, contained anywhere within your images. Combined with Google's Document Understanding AI feature, you can use the same ML technology that powers Google Search to derive useful information from masses of unstructured documents. You can detect web objects and pages, isolate a face from other items and notice facial characteristics, and recognize brand logos and famous landmarks. You can also detect mature or violent content within images.
Google GCP's AutoML Video Intelligence and Video Intelligence API products, which offer a similarly extensive array of capabilities as the Vision services, make it easy to mine value from video files.
Language is Google's wheelhouse, and Google's stack of AI Building Blocks understandably includes a potent suite of products. Google Cloud language products include:
How Progent Can Assist You with Google Cloud Integration
- Cloud Translation API
This service enables you to enhance web sites and applications with real-time language translation capability powered by Googleís neural translation technology. Google GCP offers a Basic and an Advanced version of the Translation API. Both options use Google's pre-trained, general-purpose model and offer automatic language detection, an integrated REST API, transparent HTML support, and the capability to translate between over 100 language pairs. The Advanced version of Cloud Translation API adds a customizable glossary to preserve your branding in translated text, batch translation capability in Google Cloud Storage, the ability to incorporate (but not create) custom AutoML Translation models, and a built-in gRPC open source API. The Cloud Translation service is priced on a per-character basis.
- AutoML Translation
This machine learning tool allows developers to create a custom translation model by training it with your own dataset. The dataset consists of matching pairs of sentences in the source and target languages. AutoML Translation applies statistical analysis to the pairs from your dataset to train the model, tests it, and scores its performance. After you review the effectiveness of your model, you can modify your dataset and train a new model repeatedly until you are satisfied with the results. You can create your own translation models in over fifty language pairs. Costs for using AutoML Translation are calculated based on the hours of training used and the volume of characters you submit for translation.
- Cloud Natural Language API
GCP's Natural Language API marshals a library of standard machine learning models to assist you to understand the themes and structure of documents. A content classification model discerns content categories within a document, such as civil engineering, finance, or sports; an entity analysis model finds and labels common known entities referenced within the document, such as product, company, or athlete); a sentiment analysis model evaluates the author's positive or negative attitude expressed in the document and the magnitude of conviction; an entity sentiment analysis model combines entity analysis and sentiment analysis by detecting familiar entities within a document and determining the attitude and the magnitude of feeling demonstrated towards those entities; a syntactic analysis model exposes structural information by deconstructing text into sentences and tokens (words), which are further parsed into parts of speech and roots. Each API identifies the language of the text being analyzed if it is not specified. The's Natural Language API is a REST API and uses JSON requests and responses. Target text can be embedded in the request or held in Google Cloud Storage.
- AutoML Natural Language
GCP's AutoML Natural Language service enables you to create and tune custom Natural Language models for classification, entity extraction, and sentiment analysis. For example, a custom sentiment analysis model created by an airline could learn that a mention of misplaced luggage in social media reflects a negative rather than positive sentiment. Google's AutoML Natural Language product makes it simple to build a dataset, use the dataset to train a model, validate the model, and tune the dataset until your model is suitable for production.
Google's Dialogflow is a a development suite that uses the same natural language understanding technology behind Google Assistant to help you to build a conversational interface so your product or service can interact with your users by voice. You can add this capability to a mobile app, website, voice response system, or any other application that could be enhanced with voice interaction. Google's Dialogflow service can understand text or voice inputs and can reply through text or synthetic speech. Dialogflow can recognize a userís intent and extract pre-defined entities including time, date, and numbers. You can train your agent to identify your custom entity types by providing small sample datasets, or you can utilize more than 40 out-of-the-box agents as templates. Professional versions of Dialogflow are billed according to audio/phone time and the number of characters and queries.
- Cloud Text-to-Speech
Google's Text-to-Speech API converts text or Speech Synthesis Markup Language to high-quality, natural-sounding speech in more than 30 languages and over 180 voices. Cloud Text-to-Speech platform works with any application or device capable of sending REST or gRPC requests. Devices can be phones, PCs, tablets, and IoT devices like cars, televisions, and speakers. Supported audio coding formats include mp3, Linear16, and Ogg Opus. You can include SSML tags in order to insert pauses, numbers, calendar and time formatting, etc. Cloud Text-to-Speech is priced per million characters of text submitted.
Google's Speech-to-Text API gives developers access to leading-edge automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology powered by Google's continually evolving deep-learning neural network technology. Google Cloud's Speech-to-Text can translate audio in real time and can be optimized to support various sampling rates for phones, video, or voice commands/search. Google's API supports 120 languages and can recognize what language is spoken from a selection of up to four. You can identify up to 5,000 words or phrases that relate to your organization, such as brand or stakeholder names. Google's technology can automatically capitalize names and places and convert spoken numbers into addresses, dates, phone numbers, and currencies. Video transcription can add punctuation, and the speaker diarization feature can distinguish among multiple talkers in a group. Noise cancellation is included, and for certain languages you can filter out inappropriate language. Supported encodings include FLAC, AMR, PCMU, and Linear-16. Pricing is time based.
If you want to connect your IT network with Google Cloud, whether to build a cloud-based ecosystem or as a hybrid local/cloud environment, Progent can assist you to evaluate the advantages of GCP vs. competing public clouds or to other network models. Progent can assist you with any phase of a move to GCP including requirements analysis, solution design, pilot testing, deployment, centralized management, performance tuning, license management, disaster recovery strategies, and cybersecurity validation.
Progent can help your organization to determine which of your applications are suited for GCP and can show you how to make your legacy apps cloud compatible. Progent has helped clients evaluate migrating to Google Cloud SQL, using Google Cloud Dataproc for local Hadoop, adopting Google Cloud Kubernetes Engine as a virtualization substitute, and deploying MongoDB Atlas on Google Cloud vs. on-premises MongoDB. Progent can provide on-demand remote consulting support for short-term jobs to help you rapidly overcome stubborn technical challenges or Progent can deliver comprehensive project management consulting services to make sure your Google Cloud integration program is carried out on time and within budget.
Some of most common technical problems businesses face when migrating to GCP or other public cloud platform is setting up firewalls and VPN connections to give users easy but secure access to cloud services. Progent offers the services of Cisco-certified CCIE network consultants and firewall specialists for security gateways from major suppliers like Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, Check Point, SonicWall, and Fortinet to assist you to set up or debug firewalls for connecting to Google Cloud Platform. To support mobile computing, Progent's iPhone and iPad technology consultants and Android integration experts can assist you to integrate and administer secure mobile devices for your GCP users. Progent can work in concert with your in-house technical team and Google's support engineers to mitigate Google Cloud integration issues quickly and affordably.
Popular online consulting services offered by Progent to assist organizations integrate their networks with GCP include:
Other Cloud Integration Expertise Available from Progent
- Review hybrid solution design for Google Compute Engine Virtual Machines and GCP Cloud Storage
- Create and test virtual machine images for Windows or Linux
- Configure, integrate and debug VPN tunnels for connectivity with Google Cloud
- Design integration solutions for firewalls from Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, Check Point, SonicWall, and Fortinet and others
- Set up and debug mobile devices
- Create and verify policies following leading practices
- Fix IP addressing issues
- Design cost-effective plan for GCP Cloud Storage
- Optimize query performance on Cloud SQL
- Simplify software license management
- Resolve certificate problems
A growing selection of public cloud services are in competition or complement Google Cloud Platform. For a range of reasons, it is common for enterprises to deploy a network architecture that includes multiple public clouds along with local or private cloud resources. Progent can assist you to assess the relative benefits of major public cloud service suites and can help you to design, integrate and manage IT environments that include a combination of public and private clouds and local data centers.
Additional leading clouds supported by Progent include:
Progent's Microsoft Azure planning and integration experts can assist you with every phase of Microsoft Azure migration such as needs analysis, prerequisites evaluation, system architecture, pilot testing, deployment, centralized administration, performance optimization, software license management, disaster recovery strategies, security planning, and compliance assessment. Progent can assist your IT staff to set up and debug firewall appliances and VPN tunnels so that your clients can safely access to Azure-based resources, and Progent's Microsoft-certified consulting experts can help you integrate key Microsoft technologies to run in Azure including Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL and SharePoint. Progent can also assist your organization to create a hybrid ecosystem that seamlessly integrates physical datacenters with Azure resources.
Microsoft has made a strong effort to enable seamless hybrid networks that combine Office 365 Exchange Online and local installations of Exchange. This allows you to have certain Exchange mailboxes located on your on-premises datacenter or private cloud and other mailboxes resident on Office 365. Progent's Microsoft-certified consulting team can help your organization with any facet of designing, implementing and debugging your hybrid Office 365 solution. Progent's Exchange specialists can provide occasional support to help you through challenging technical problems and also offer comprehensive project management outsourcing or co-sourcing to ensure your hybrid Office 365 solution is carried out on time and within budget. To find out more about Progent's consulting expertise for hybrid Office 365 and on-premises Exchange systems, refer to Office 365 Exchange Online integration with on-premises Exchange.
Progent's Office and Office 365 experts can help companies to integrate Microsoft Office desktop and Office 365 applications including Office Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Project and Publisher into a cohesive productivity solution that provides fast ROI and enables improved business outcomes. Progent can assist you to interface Office or Office 365 apps with each other and with other core Microsoft technologies including SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server deployed locally or hosted in the cloud. Progent's consultants can also assist you to resolve compatibility issues between various versions of Office desktop and offers live online Microsoft Office and Office 365 instruction to individuals and teams.
Progent's Amazon AWS cloud planning and integration experts offer affordable remote consulting to assist businesses of any size to access Amazon AWS cloud services such as Amazon EC2 for virtual server hosting, Amazon S3 for scalable high-performance storage, and Amazon Glacier for low-cost archival storage. Progent can assist your IT team with every aspect of Amazon AWS migration and troubleshooting including requirements analysis, preparedness assessment, architectural design and review, pilot testing, configuration, administration, performance optimization, software license management, disaster recovery mechanisms, and security strategies. Progent can provide advanced expertise with firewall configuration and VPN access and can show you how to deploy cloud-based or hybrid environments that efficiently incorporate Amazon AWS cloud services. Progent offers as-needed support or Progent can provide comprehensive project management outsourcing or co-sourcing to help you migrate efficiently to the Amazon AWS platform.
Amazon Marketplace Web Service is a library of APIs that allows Amazon sellers to streamline their business processes by automating key sales functions such as listings, orders, shipments, fulfillment, and reports. By tapping into Amazon's extensive online selling environment and automating their sales processes, merchants can expand their market, lower their cost of sales, accelerate reaction time to customers, and increase their bottom line. Progent's Amazon Marketplace Web Service (Amazon MWS) developers can collaborate with your development staff and provide application programming, workflow integration, project management support, and mentoring to help you shorten development time and costs and expedite your ROI.
Contact Progent for Google Cloud Platform Integration Expertise
If you need help with any phase of integrating your IT system with Google Cloud Platform or any other public cloud platform, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.