An Introduction to Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google Cloud Platform
Source Image: Google Cloud Platform

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way infrastructure is set up and provisioned. Infrastructure-as-code serves all the required components of the infrastructure to be created using configuration files. Due to this, it has become straightforward to configure, maintain, and manage the infrastructure. This revolution paved the way for providing infrastructure as a service and also deploying multiple applications on the infrastructure to offer the applications as a service. Multiple platforms in the cloud market offer infrastructure as a service as well as other services on their platform. One of these platforms is the Google Cloud Platform, also abbreviated as GCP.

What is GCP?

It is a cloud computing platform that provisions infrastructure and a wide range of services for its subscribers. The users can avail of these services to build their applications and run them as production using GCP infrastructure. Initially started as a Google App Engine that provided the users with the resources for creating and hosting web applications, the Google Cloud Platform has now evolved into offering over 100+ products and services to the end-users. The products vary in many aspects like Computing, Storage, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Databases, etc. These products and services can be accessed by professionals via the public internet or through isolated network connectivity provided by Google. It is one of the three major players in the cloud computing market, the other two being Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

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 again in the listings showcased by Google. 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 that are used 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 access Kubernetes which is an orchestration tool for running containerized applications through 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 which is 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 that are 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. The users can also make use of 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 that will be running on GKE using Agones. Agones is a dedicated game server scaling and orchestration platform that runs on top of Kubernetes. Other services include transcoder API that converts video files into different formats that are 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 that are on cloud or on-premise, Cloud DNS service, Load balancing, Cloud CDN, etc.
  15. Operating: It consists of components that are required for the run team to debug, log, and monitor the running applications along with alerting on any exceptions or errors.
  16. Security and Identity:  GCP offers a wide range of services for ensuring high security of the resources that reside on the platform and protecting the data from external threats. Some of these services include VirusTotal, reCAPTCHA, Identity platform, etc.
  17. Serverless Computing: Users can avail of serverless computing wherein 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 the usage.
  18. Storage: GCP offers different types of storage like object storage, and block storage for persisting the data related to the running applications. Users can avail of cloud storage as a service for storing their personal data.
  19. Other offerings: GCP also offers other 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 the DevOps professionals and DevOps aspirants to develop and strengthen their skillsets in the DevOps domain. It offers playgrounds as a service for its users. These playgrounds are cloud environments that have tools pre-installed. The users can play around with the tools related to the DevOps world and obtain practical knowledge of those tools. The platform offers cloud playgrounds like AWS, and Azure that allows immediate access to the cloud environment. The platform includes 35+ DevOps playgrounds, some of which include Ansible, Terraform, Kubernetes, Linux, Kafka, etc. KodeKloud also provides learning paths related to the tools and technologies essential for the DevOps ecosystem. The entire range of KodeKloud playgrounds and courses can be accessed through a subscription to the KodeKloud platform.

GCP Playground is now live on the KodeKloud platform! The users need to subscribe to the platform to be able to use the playground. Click here to find out more about the subscription. The Pro users can directly access the GCP playground using this link.