Google Cloud Platform for data centre professionals: two peas in a pod

As recently as five years ago, data centre professionals could easily justify managing onsite databases and colocation facilities: tighter security, better access, you name it. But as we ease into 2017, there just aren’t many reasons left. And no business has done a better job of replicating the data centre environment in the cloud than Google’s Cloud Platform.

But despite these efforts from Google, IT department managers know better than anyone that years of piecemeal upgrades and shifting workloads weave a tangled web of servers, connections, and permission trees. In an effort to make their technology more accessible to users, Google has released a detailed breakdown of how networking, computing, storing data, and managing your cloud infrastructure works on their platform.

No more catchy slogans, no more primary-coloured GIFs, just a techy breakdown of exactly what you’ll be working with after completing a migration to Cloud Platform.

A new way to design your network

We could waste an entire post covering the administrative requirements for keeping an onsite data centre network up and running. From hardware (e.g., switches, routers, firewalls, etc.) to software (device drivers, intrusion prevention systems, virtual private networks, etc.), just getting a network set up is a tremendous amount of work. But with Google Cloud Platform, you’ll mainly be working with “Software-Defined Networking” (SDN).

This model allows data centre professionals to design their network based on what they want it to accomplish, rather than what their hardware and financial resources allow them to achieve. Sure, you could retain the complexity of your traditional network configuration, but no one wants that. Instead, data centre professionals migrating to Google Cloud Platform can continue to work with the tools they’re familiar with, while discarding most of the limitations associated with physical resources.

Workloads in the cloud

The average data centre professional spends half a lifetime managing server virtualization and workloads. Hardware resources need to be allocated to various processes and applications, firmware needs to be updated, and software needs round-the-clock patching and configuration.

But when hardware and software are delivered as a service, the vendor can easily update everything on the backend and push out the final product without any interruption in service.
Aside from effectively doing away with the updating process, the Cloud Platform also actively manages workload balancing. Because when creating a workload for a gigantic data set, you need to be sure it isn’t going to step on the toes of any frontline services, such as keeping your website up and responsive.

But Google has so much capacity that when you request more computing power, there’s no chance of overloading your resources, and there are always servers waiting to be used. For scalability, that limitless computing power is charged based solely on how many minutes it takes to process a request.

Cloud Platform data storage

Not everything in Cloud Platform is a workload or a process though. Inaccessible cloud data storage is a huge fear for data centre professionals. They’ve become comfortable organising their data storage by local disks, localised network storage, and storage area networks, and they worry that transitioning into the cloud won’t allow them to retain these delineations.

In fact, Cloud Platform can simplify this model even further. Much like SDN, data centre admins can design their storage plans based on how frequently data needs to be accessed, and which virtual machines should have access to it. For example, there’s no need for outdated tape backups anymore; just back up that data in Google’s Coldline storage for secure and reliable storage and data recovery.

Managing users and virtual machines

You’re probably beginning to notice a theme. To streamline complex data migrations, Cloud Platform has tried to retain as many onsite features as possible, in the cloud. For example, admins can still configure their cloud data centres with LDAP and Active Directory policies, just in a simplified manner.

The same goes for how you monitor and manage your virtual machine instances. The fundamental configurations and policies are the same, just accessed from Cloud Platform’s online dashboard instead of a local server.

It’s hard to get into the weeds of data centre management in a one-page blog. If you’re still curious about the intricacies of layered load balancing, VM auditing, machine provisioning, read through Google’s entire Google Cloud Platform for Data Center Professionals document.

However, even as Google, Microsoft, and others strive to make business technology more accessible and user-friendly, it’s hard to keep pace with the rapidly evolving market of data center management. If you have an in-house admin, Google’s Cloud Platform should be manageable, but the migration is a different story.

When you decide that outside help is necessary with your migration, or even the end management of your cloud infrastructure — give the team at Damson Cloud a ring.

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