Here's how Google is overhauling its cloud storage offerings

The tech giant is launching new managed storage and cold storage services

diane greene google horizon 2016
Google Cloud chief Diane Greene speaks at the company's Horizon conference in San Francisco on September 29, 2016. Credit: Blair Hanley Frank

There are big changes afoot for Google Cloud Platform's storage offerings. On Thursday, the company announced a complete overhaul of the storage options available to customers, complete with new storage tiers and reduced pricing.

Customers that need incredibly high availability storage can use Google's new fully managed Multi-Regional Cloud Storage service, which will replicate data across multiple Google Cloud data centers in different areas for high-uptime access. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the company also launched a new Coldline storage service that's designed for data accessed less than once a year like backups.

The storage changes are part of Google’s overall pitch to capture businesses in a highly-competitive cloud market. Managed, multi-region storage will be helpful for customers who don’t want to worry about reliability, and the new Coldline storage will help GCP compete with other cold storage offerings like Amazon Glacier.

google cloud storage comparison chart Google

This chart shows the different tiers of Google Cloud Storage.

Multi-Regional storage will let customers choose to store their data in the U.S., EU and Asia. After that, the data is replicated across multiple regions, which are groups of Google Cloud Platform data centers. In the event of an outage in one region, Multi-Regional storage will route requests to a replica of the data that's still available.

It costs 2.6 cents per GB stored per month, and is designed for applications like serving video, or running a content-delivery network.

Coldline storage lets users take data and archive it, while still retaining the ability to access it quickly. While it's built for archival use, it's still designed to let users get access to the data stored inside in a matter of milliseconds. Users pay .7 cents per GB per month for the data stored inside. Accessing that data costs 5 cents per GB retrieved.

Google's Standard storage tier has been rebranded as Regional storage. As the name implies, files are stored in a single GCP region. The rebranding comes with a price cut, too: what used to cost 2.6 cents per GB per month now costs 2 cents. The Nearline storage service, which is designed for infrequently accessed content, is unchanged. 

To help customers manage the spectrum of different storage tiers, Google is launching new data lifecycle management capabilities. Those let customers store data in different tiers while keeping it all in one bucket, which is basically a labeled group of data stored in GCP. In addition, a new policy feature lets customers automatically move data from different tiers based on its age, so that older data gets stored in Nearline or Coldline storage automatically.

Google is also doing away with its Durable Reduced Availability tier of storage, which let businesses pay less for data storage in exchange for it being unavailable more often. DRA storage cost 2 cents per GB, the same as the new Regional storage offering. (Existing customers can continue to use their DRA storage, so code that relies on it will still work.)

It will be interesting to see how all of these announcements affect enterprise interest in Google’s storage products, since the company has been pushing for more business users to adopt its cloud.

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