Google Cloud announces new data storage options

Google Cloud is extending its dual-region buckets features for Cloud Storage and offering two new services–Filestore Enterprise for protection from zonal outages and Backup for Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to protect data in containers.

The new capabilities are designed to make it easier for customers to protect their data “out-of-the box” for a wide variety of applications and use cases, according to the cloud computing provider.

“Customers tell us they wish it were easier to get the right level of protection for their data,” Guru Pangal, Google Cloud’s vice president and general manager of storage, and Brian Schwarz, director of product management, wrote in a blog post unveiling the new capabilities Thursday. “That can be hard to do, whether your data is on-premises or in the cloud. For example, configuring synchronous replication on-prem for a tier-one application requires you to set up, manage and monitor both networking and storage. Additionally, many organizations struggle to extend the standard protection policies they have in place for VMs [virtual machines] to container infrastructure.”

The new offerings represent Google Cloud’s largest storage portfolio enhancement since Pangal took his storage leadership position in July 2020. Prior to joining Google Cloud, Pangal founded and led CloudSimple, a startup focused on enabling VMware customers to easily migrate workloads to public cloud. Google Cloud acquired the company in late 2019, and Pangal became head of Google Cloud VMWare Engine

Added Capabilities For Dual-Region Buckets

Cloud Storage is Google Cloud’s global and scalable object store for immutable, unstructured data such as images, videos and documents. Cloud Storage dual-region buckets leverage Google Cloud’s Colossus file system and Spanner relational database service to enable a “continent-sized storage system”–a single namespace or bucket that spans regions, according to the cloud provider.

“A dual-region bucket is not a simple load balancer or access point in the network tier sitting on top of two independent buckets,” Pangal and Schwarz’s blogpost stated. “It is a true single namespace bucket, active-active for read/write/delete, which offers some important, strong consistency properties. As a result, developers can treat a continent like a single bucket, dramatically simplifying the application programming model. Google Cloud is unique in offering this capability among major public cloud vendors.”

An upcoming release will allow for custom region selection for dual-region buckets –in lieu of Google Cloud assigning pairs to choose from — to meet regulatory and compliance requirements or optimize application performance.

Google Cloud also is introducing Turbo Replication for dual-region buckets, an optional offering that replicates 100 percent of a customer’s data between regions in 15 minutes or less and is backed by a service level agreement (SLA –a first for a top cloud provider, it said.

“Object storage is increasingly being used for important applications that can’t tolerate any data loss,” Pangal and Schwarz’s blog post stated. “Getting 99 percent of your data back after a regional outage just doesn’t cut it.”

Filestore Enterprise

The new Filestore Enterprise is a fully managed, cloud-native, network file system (NFS) solution that allows users to deploy critical file-based applications in Google Cloud. In public preview, it’s backed by an SLA delivering 99.99 percent regional availability.

It’s an addition to Google Cloud’s Filestore product line launched in 2018 to target traditional tier-one enterprise applications such as SAP that need to share files.

“In addition to high-performance reads and writes, Filestore Enterprise offers high availability via synchronous replication across multiple zones in a region,” Pangal and Schwarz said. “When any zone within the region becomes unavailable, Filestore continues to transparently serve data to the application without any operational intervention.”

SADA, a Los Angeles business and technology consultancy, works with many organizations embarking on cloud migration strategies, and they require a combination of block, object and file storage solutions to satisfy their diverse application requirements, according to Miles Ward, chief technology officer for the Google Cloud Premier Partner.

“Our team is looking forward to working with our customers to leverage Filestore Enterprise for their GKE workloads and experience the simplicity of a cloud-native NFS solution,” Ward said in a provided statement. “Additionally, the 99.99 percent regional availability will be extremely valuable to our customers looking to run more mission-critical applications in Google Cloud.”

Backup for GKE

With Backup for GKE, Google Cloud said it’s also the first cloud provider to offer what’s long been a milestone for leading infrastructure software vendors on their way to mass adoption: a simple, first-party backup service for Kubernetes.

GKE is Google Cloud’s managed, production-ready environment for running containerized applications. Now in preview, Backup for GKE is a new cloud-native offering for protecting, managing and restoring critical containerized applications and data. It’s designed to allow users to more easily meet service-level objectives, automate common backup and recovery tasks, and show reporting for compliance and audit purposes.

The deployment of stateful workloads such as relational databases inside GKE containers is one of the fastest-growing GKE architectures, according to Google Cloud, and they have additional requirements compared with stateless workloads, including the need for data protection and storage management.

“Google Cloud users continue to adopt GKE in droves, benefiting from the greater application-development velocity it provides,” Pangal and Schwarz said. “And they’re no longer just running stateless applications in containers; they’re also running databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL inside containers, as well as other stateful workloads. To help further accelerate this trend, we introduced Backup for GKE.”

Customer Impacts

The new data storage offerings will impact the customer experience and resiliency, and should result in reduced overhead costs, according to Kashif Rahamatullah, national Google Cloud practice and alliance leader at Deloitte Consulting, a Google Cloud Premier Partner.

“Companies leveraging the cloud are able to reduce disruptions to services being offered to their customers and increase productivity for their employees as data is replicated in real time and available within and across regions,” he said.

And storage management, monitoring and data protection as out-of-the-box capabilities will allow for a reduction in IT operating costs, according to Rahamatullah.

“Given the automation and network resiliency offered by Google Cloud, it will allow technology teams to reallocate talent to other higher-priority activities,” he said.

Rahamatullah also expects the new offerings will enhance business continuity.

“With multi-region data replication that is always on, Google Cloud Storage clients can now rest easy as data is always protected, which reduces recovery effort and cost while maintaining the data integrity for critical business solutions,” he said.

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