Google Compute Engine Review

Offers good scalability but it is has a very arcane and complex security environment and projecting costs can be difficult


What is our primary use case?

This is a web application and deployment is moving to GCP for disaster recovery purposes .

How has it helped my organization?

It has dramatically increased our costs over running dedicated hardware.

What is most valuable?

All of the cloud solution providers are basically the same. There's a little bit around the edges that is different. Each provider has its own kind of unique products but for the most part, 90% of the coverage between all of them is the same.

What needs improvement?

The biggest problem is that it's got a very arcane and complex security environment that has to be very carefully set up and maintained. Because GCP has is such a huge attack surface and is so prominent it any security lapses can quickly become fatal.

The problem with good security is that  it more difficult to use the GCP features. Faced with a difficult to use interface people will find ingenious ways to circumvent the security.

Because GCE is tied into the overall Google services security model I do not believe that it can be improved without making the user experience more difficult.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been this solution over the last three or four months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

GCP/AWS... have had more downtime in the last 5 years than the current implementation has had.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used 4 other cloud providers over the years and have been using one provider for some applications for over 10 years.

The switch from internally managed services to a cloud environment was a management decision.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is reasonably straightforward.

The existing environment is fairly flat and static.

What about the implementation team?

An external firm has been contracted to provide the design and implementation of a DR solution which includes moving existing components to GCP.

They have little understanding of the existing environment and that lack of understanding has caused several roll backs on requirements to keep the operational cost manageable.

What was our ROI?

At this point there is no ROI unless the business model fundamentally changes.

For the foreseeable future this will be a significant budget deficit.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's $60,000 to $70,000 a month to replace about $10,000 a month in data center costs. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The choice was not mine so 

What other advice do I have?

The advice that I would give to someone considering this solution is that you have to take a close look at what your costs are, where you want scalability and consider the reliability issues because it's not always obvious where . There are a number of places where commercial cloud applications work very well. There are places where it doesn't. For applications where you have large dynamic changes in load and storage, the cloud environment can be great because you pay for what you use and can take advantage of running up resources on demand. For static environments where you've got a reasonable amount of infrastructure, a cloud solution can be highly expensive and no more reliable.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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