An Introduction to Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services, including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence, over the internet. Instead of owning and maintaining physical data centers and servers, companies can use cloud computing services to access computing resources on an as-needed basis and pay only for what they use. One of the most popular cloud computing services is Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

This article covers what GCP is, the services it offers as well as how to learn it.

What is GCP?

GCP stands for Google Cloud Platform. It is a cloud computing platform that provides infrastructure and a wide range of services for its subscribers. Users can use these services to build their applications and run them as production using GCP infrastructure. 

Initially started as a Google App Engine that provided users with the resources for creating and hosting web applications, the GCP has now evolved into offering over 100+ products and services to the end-users. The products vary in many aspects, such as computing, storage, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, databases, etc.

Products and Services of GCP

The products and services offered by the Google Cloud Platform are categorized based on the use cases of the end-users. Thus, some products and services will appear in multiple categories. The categories are as follows:

  1. AI and Machine Learning: It provides a wide range of services in this category. It includes Vertex AI (A platform for training, managing, and hosting the ML models), Text-to-speech conversion, Language Translation, Recommendations Engine, Natural Language Processing, Emotion and Text detection, etc.
  2. API Management: In 2016, Google acquired Apigee, a platform for API development and management. This helped Google to integrate Apigee’s services with the Google Cloud Platform and provide API management as a service. Along with providing APIs, it also features other related aspects like security, analytics, rate limiting, etc.
  3. Compute: GCP provides computational power to its users for development purposes and running their workloads. Users can get access to Linux or Windows VMs that are running in Google’s data center. GPUs can also be provisioned for ML models and such purposes. App engine allows users to build and deploy applications in different programming languages like Node.js, Python, Ruby, Golang, etc. Other services like shielded VMs, VMware engines, Spot VMs, etc, are also provided.
  4. Containers: GCP provides pre-built containers for specific solutions. It also provides a private registry for the users to store and manage their Docker images. Users can also orchestrate containerized applications using the managed Kubernetes service called Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).
  5. Data Analytics: Most of the products and services in this category are related to analyzing the data and providing business intelligence. Google provides BigQuery, a data warehouse as a service to its users. It also provides other products such as Looker(BI Platform), Dataproc(Running Apache Spark and Apache Hadoop clusters), Pub/Sub, Dataprep, Dataflow, etc.
  6. Databases: The users can spin up relational databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, as well as NoSQL databases and in-memory datastores like Redis using Google Cloud Platform.
  7. Developer Tools: This includes essential build tools required for development like Maven App and Gradle App plugins, Tools for Eclipse and Powershell, Cloud SDK, etc.
  8. Healthcare and Life Sciences: Users can get real-time insights from medical text using Natural Language AI API. They can also use other APIs like Cloud Healthcare API and Apigee Healthcare APIx.
  9. Hybrid and Multicloud: Anthos is an application modernization platform provided by Google that enables application deployment in a fast and secure manner. It can also migrate the current workloads to GKE.
  10. Internet of Things: GCP offers a fully managed service to connect and manage the devices through IoT Core.
  11. Management Tools: This category includes services like Terraform, Cloud console, Cost management tool, Cloud Mobile App, Cloud APIs, etc. These services are necessary to manage and monitor the applications.
  12. Media and Gaming: GCP provides dedicated game servers running on GKE using Agones, a dedicated game server scaling and orchestration platform that runs on top of Kubernetes. Other services include transcoder API that converts video files into formats compatible with the web, mobiles, and connected TVs.
  13. Migration: The components listed in this category are for migrating the application, data, workloads, etc, to the cloud servers running on GCP.
  14. Networking: The services offered in this category include providing connectivity between the servers on the cloud or on-premise, Cloud DNS service, Load balancing, Cloud CDN, etc.
  15. Operating: It consists of components required for the run team to debug, log, and monitor the running applications, as well as alert in case of exceptions or errors.
  16. Security and Identity: GCP offers a wide range of services to ensure the security of the resources residing on the platform and protect the data from external threats. Some of these services include VirusTotal, reCAPTCHA, Identity Platform, etc.
  17. Serverless Computing: Users can use serverless computing, where they only have to deploy the application without caring about the backend services. This allows the users to focus only on its applications and pay for the services as per their usage.
  18. Storage: GCP offers different types of storage, such as object storage and block storage, for persisting the data related to the running applications. Users can use cloud storage as a service to store their personal data.
  19. Other offerings: GCP also offers services like Chrome Enterprise, Google Maps platform, Workspace, etc, for better team communication and user experience.
Google Cloud Products and Services

Playground as a Service

KodeKloud is a platform for all DevOps professionals and DevOps aspirants to develop and strengthen their skill sets in the DevOps domain. It offers playgrounds, which are cloud environments that have tools pre-installed where users can play around with the tools related to the DevOps world and obtain practical knowledge of those tools.

GCP Playground is now live on the KodeKloud platform!

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