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- On Demand, Self Service Resources - All of the resources that are offered by a cloud provider are directly available for a customer to manage and can be created/edited or destroyed with no "human" interaction by the provider themselves. The resources can be managed through multiple different interfaces and even automated through tools like Terraform (infrastructure as code) and helm (kubernetes package management as code).
- Robust/Broad Network Access - Regardless of where a request originates from in the world, there should be a localized edge device to allow ingress into your cloud VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) with minimal latency. Resources can also be located to correlate with the majority of your traffic as well as exist in multiple regions/zones if your customer base is geographically broad. This could drastically improve performance.
- Resource Pooling - Since all offerings in the cloud are based on virtualized hardware, resources are shared by all users of the cloud infrastructure. Similar to the virtualized datacenter as I mentioned earlier, the resource costs are shared, but in a much larger scale. This allows the cloud provider to be more agile with regards to keeping the platform up to date from a hardware and software standpoint.
- Rapid Elasticity - With on-demand computing, instance groups, kubernetes and cloud-based routing it is easy to setup a platform that can scale either manually or based on events that can be defined in your workloads. For example, you can create monitoring alerts to notify you that a specific application is not able to meet the needs of the consumers. With this information, you can choose to increase your resources with simple adjustments of the overall application config. You can also have the cloud provider monitor your application and make dynamic adjustments based on rules you create from system or event-based notifications. These dynamic changes can be constrained by budgetary and explicit sizing definitions that you specify.
- Measured Service - You only pay for the resources you consume and only when they are active/leveraged. This comes into play with not only the IaaS offerings but also the SaaS offerings. Often, the more you use, the more you save in the pricing models.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) - An Example
- Google Cloud Functions provides a node-based cluster that you can deploy small, single purpose, quick run applications that are "triggered" by events. This would be good for stateless services with minimal overhead and quick runtimes. The cost is low because they change per function invocation, not up-time and they are fully autoscaling.
- Google App Engine is a serverless container framework that allows for several "auto-detected" programming languages. You simply write your code and deploy it. There is an option to persist data as well which makes it more flexible than cloud functions.
- Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is the most flexible, yet complex container deployment/orchestration platform offered. The clusters are built on top of Compute VMs and simply share the same pricing strategy. Workloads can be deployed directly to GKE and monitored with various tools provided by Google. You can leverage helm to manage workloads as well which enforces configuration in a declarative manner.
- Google Cloud Storage (GCS) is a RESTful object storage mechanism that offers locational based storage, storage classifications to control availability and pricing (Standard VS Archive for instance) and object lifecycle management. Perfect for use when persisting media, documents and other large object types.
- Google Cloud SQL/Spanner/BigQuery are relational database options provided. SQL gives you the choice of MySQL or Postgres as a basis. Spanner is a high availability, horizontally scalable, highly consistent, proprietary SQL database. It's a great choice if you are expecting a massive dataset with high I/O.
- BigQuery is a data warehouse appliance that can see used for reporting or analytics.
- Google Cloud Firestore/Bigtable are the no-SQL offerings with Firestore more designed for smaller structured objects like session/profile or state data.
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