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Google Nearline Storage Challenges AWS

Web giant Google challenged established cloud services leader Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) with last week's introduction of a beta Nearline Storage service for housing data that needs to be kept by enterprises but is infrequently accessed.

The move is the latest challenge to AWS, the granddaddy of all cloud services that has come increasingly under siege by competitors such as Microsoft, IBM and Google.

"Many of you operate a tiered data storage and archival process, in which data moves from expensive online storage to offline cold storage," a Google blog post by program manager Avtandil Garakanidze read last week. "We know the value of having access to all of your data on demand, so Nearline enables you to easily back up and store limitless amounts of data at a very low cost and access it at any time in a matter of seconds."

The "matter of seconds" reference is literal and could provide a competitive coup for Google. As Garakanidze said, "Unlike its competitors, Nearline enables [about] 3-second response times for data retrieval and improves SLAs."

One of those "competitors" that "many of you" might be using could be AWS and its Amazon Glacier storage service. While both services advertise storage pricing starting at 1 cent per gigabyte, AWS says on its product site, "To keep costs low, Amazon Glacier is optimized for infrequently accessed data where a retrieval time of several hours is suitable."

Google said its Nearline Storage is appropriate for scenarios where storing data with lower availability and higher latency is an acceptable compromise for lower storage costs. It provided the following examples:

  • Cold data storage -- Infrequently accessed data, for example, data stored for legal or regulatory reasons, that should be stored at low cost but be available when needed.
  • Disaster recovery -- In the event of a Disaster Recovery (DR) event, recovery time is key. Google Cloud Storage provides low-latency access to data stored in the Nearline Storage class.

Google also announced new storage partnerships with a number of companies for data backup (Veritas Technologies Corp./Symantec Corp.), on-premises appliances for data deduplication (NetApp), encryption and compression (Iron Mountain Inc.), and offline disk storage and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solutions (Geminare Inc.).

And, just in case existing AWS customers may want to switch, "Google offers an Online Cloud Import service that can be used to migrate petabyte-scale data from other online storage services to Google Cloud Storage," the company said in a white paper about Nearline Storage. "For data that is already being frequently accessed, this can be an excellent way to completely migrate to Google Cloud Storage."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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