Google impressed today with the reveal of Compute Engine, a cloud infrastructure that's like App Engine on steroids. The company impressed with a demonstration of the cloud infrastructure's power to deliver thousands upon thousands of processor cores to data heavy apps and services. While Google was talking up its advantages to help research, there was another market they didn't really address - cloud-based business.
Amazon Web Services is the de facto standard when it comes to cloud-based Web hosting. Businesses from all over the world depend upon Amazon to host their content, Web sites and businesses without fail. Netflix is one of the more prominent users of Amazon's servers as they use the online retail giant's infrastructure to deliver streaming video to millions of subscribers.
It's that kind of business that Google is attempting to attract with Compute Engine. Sure, it's proven itself to be great for research, but research grants can only go so far. Google will now have to sell its infrastructure to businesses and maybe even steal customers away from Amazon.
The biggest factor in the newly christened cloud war between Amazon and Google is definitely price. During the I/O keynote, Urs Holzle said that they had been driving the price down of virtual computing over the years. They have apparently been successful in this endeavor since he exclaimed that Google is able to offer "50 percent more compute per dollar."
When looking at that price versus what they offer, it's not as rosy for Google. ZDNet broke down the pricing structure and found that Google is somewhat lacking when it comes to pricing options compared to Amazon. At the moment, Google only offers four options and they're all paid with the most expensive being eight virtual cores at $1.16 per hour. Amazon has more options, including Windows-based VMs, that go all the way up to eight cores as well for $2.40 per hour.
So Google wins on price alone, but as ZDNet points out, they just can't compete with Amazon's head start at the moment. Amazon offers more services and used its headstart to sign a lot of deals with those within the Enterprise market. Is Google going to do well with their newest venture? No doubt, but they will have to do more than just cure cancer to start making a splash.