Ask the Experts: How to Get Started with Google Cloud Platform

February 8, 2016 Jiordan Castle


Google has an ever-expanding variety of tools and services for every individual, company, and industry. As such, figuring out where to begin — and what certain services are, what they include, and whether they’re right for your workforce — can be difficult when you’re first dipping your toes into the world of Google. We asked a couple of our in-house Google experts to explain Google Cloud Platform, discuss the differences between Google, AWS, and Microsoft, and help companies understand how to work Google Cloud Platform into their stack.

JK James Krimm has been solving puzzles all his life. Over the last 3.5 years, he has been using those problem-solving skills to migrate companies to Google Apps for Work and build custom applications hosted on Google’s Cloud Platform. He is a Google Cloud Platform Qualified Developer and looks forward to working through clients’ unique circumstances when building applications and services on GCP.

HHHershiv Haria is a Google Cloud Platform Qualified Developer with 3 years’ experience in the Google ecosystem. He’s been involved in every area of Google development projects, but he is happiest when he rolls up his sleeves and is elbow-deep in code.


JMJim Martens is a Google Cloud Platform Qualified Developer and has been developing on (and for) GCP for more than 5 years. In the last 2 years, he has been working with crowd development across multiple cloud-based platforms ranging from GCP to AWS, Heroku, and more.

What is Google Cloud Platform (GCP)?

HH: GCP is a suite of tools, products, and services to help developers and enterprises get up and running with applications without worrying about setting up their own infrastructure. It provides a powerful, secure, and scalable solution for use cases ranging from a simple proof of concept to real-time big data calculations on global transactions.

JK: GCP is a set of modular cloud-based services that allow developers and enterprises to build tools and services without the cost or headaches of buying and setting up an on-premise infrastructure. These are the 4 main categories within GCP:

JM: All of these services are built upon the same technologies that Google has developed to ensure the fastest and most powerful search technologies, cheap and powerful distributed technology, and powerful encryption and scalability.

What is the difference between Google Compute Engine (GCE) and Google App Engine (GAE)?

HH: GCE is part of Google’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering. At its most basic, GCE instances are similar to traditional virtual machines used by enterprises the world over. GCE offers access to the underlying VM, with the ability to select OS, RAM, and hard drive space, as well as many other options, which means IT operations have great control over the infrastructure environment of their project. Often many enterprise applications can easily be moved from internal infrastructure onto GCE to reduce the complexity of owning and managing on-site server hardware. This infrastructure can quickly be spun up or down based on region and or need.

GAE is a fully managed Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which supports several programming languages. It is automatically scaled to the current workload and demand by region, allowing one deployment to serve anywhere from 10 users to 10 million users — with no extra management required. It offers more curated settings, so that Google manages the infrastructure and developers are freed up to focus on the core functionality of their application. GAE is used by startups and established enterprises alike to host small custom internal integrations and provide global consumer applications, such as Feedly and Angry Birds.

How does GCP compare to AWS or Microsoft?

JK: They each have many similarities and most variation is related to implementation. AWS is the tried and true service but Google and Microsoft are catching up. All 3 have the basic services: VMs, file storage, and data management. It all comes down to your unique development and services environment. You will want to use the service that works best with your current infrastructure and employees. For instance, if you are already developing in .NET and use Visual Studio, then go with Microsoft’s services. If you are developing with JAVA or Python, all 3 can easily be utilized.

GCP works best with Google services like Google Apps for Work, but can be utilized for any environment. If you have any need for many of Google’s other services — such as Google Maps or developing Android apps — GCP is a great fit for many solutions.

JM: This is a good point. Frankly, you can use an AWS server solution with Google Maps and then have all of this fed through an iOS app. With the modularity of GCP, it’s possible that Google can be a part or all of the solution in a custom dev app.

How can a company incorporate GCP into their stack?

HH: You can sign up for GCP for free and check out some of the quick deployment options to get started fast. Once you’ve got your feet wet, there are some great tutorials for each product on each of their developer pages. You can trial your existing applications on GCP, or simply plan to build out your next big idea in the cloud.

JK: Companies can start to use GCP either by slowly migrating pieces of their existing tools, services, and applications to GCP, or by starting from scratch. For instance, a client with various tools across their business wants to investigate the usage of said applications and determine which ones to move to the cloud first. They could take the logs from the applications and load them into BigQuery. Run various queries on the data to help decide which tools are most used and would benefit from Google’s highly scalable, extremely secure, and widely available cloud services.

Appirio can help guide you with the best tool for the job, and tie it all together on one cohesive platform with tremendous growth capabilities and potential. Learn more about all things Google for Work from our ebook, Appirio’s Guide to Going Google.


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