Editor’s Note: This is the final post in a series of blog posts by Google Certified Trainers Ben Finkel and Garth Schulte that explored Google Cloud Platform.
So, by now you’ve got a great sense for the awesome technologies offered by Google’s Cloud Platform. Google provides a wide array of services such as the Platform-as-a-Service App Engine, Infrastructure-as-a-Service Compute Engine, databases such as Datastore and Cloud SQL, and even advanced tooling such as Google BigQuery, Pub/Sub, and Prediction API. With this arsenal at your disposal, there is almost no IT task that you’re not equipped to handle!
Unfortunately, you might find yourself a little unsure of where to start. Maybe it’s not quite clear how all of these pieces fit together. Maybe you wonder if GCP is really ready for your brilliant App that’s poised to take the world by storm. If you’re like me, maybe the daunting expanse of all the awesome choices you can make with GCP is just a little paralyzing… Regardless of the reason, this post is all about the solutions that GCP is bringing to the table, so that we can be inspired and motivated to make the most of our time.
It’s likely you already know this, but today’s world runs on mobile. Our cell phones are more complex and powerful than the desktop computers of just a few years ago, while tablet and “Phablet” sales continue to increase and see a much larger workplace presence. It used to be that developing for these devices (with their physical size constraints, specialized processors, and battery limitations) meant hiring a team of developers and testers just for mobile deployment alone. With GCP, you can centralize your development efforts around your app, not your platform. Imagine building a mobile game with Google Cloud Platform. App Engine provides a mobile back-end environment that’s accessed through Cloud Endpoints that will generate iOS and Android specific client libraries. You can even dynamically deliver game assets via Google’s Image Services to efficiently populate your game with properly scaled and sized images for all of the different devices out there. Integrate that with Datastore and you’re all set to roll out a worldwide and scalable mobile game that will smash the sales charts!
Internet of Things (IoT)
I like to say that the Internet of Things is not on it’s way, it’s already here! Every one of those mobile devices I just mentioned have the capability to be generating, tracking, and uploading thousands of data points every day. Wireless sensors on radio frequency networks are crowded into warehouses, trains, hospitals, and even mountainsides. The new reality is that IT professionals need to understand how to handle the enormous volumes of data that we now have access to. GCP provides the tools you need to gather all of that data, store it securely, and analyze it for all of your needs. For example, healthcare research is being redefined by all of the ways that patients are connected and their health metrics tracked. BigQuery streaming is already set up to receive this data in realtime and store it in a BigQuery table for immediate analysis on any scale. Pub/Sub can divide that data into relational rows for transactional storage with Cloud SQL or binary blob data more suited to Cloud Storage. This entire network is of course available worldwide, which is of ever increasing importance to quality health research — and is still affordable within the often tight budgets of the public sector organizations responsible for this work.
Retail & Commerce
We’re all aware of what has happened to the retail industry the past two decades. The advent of “online shopping,” combined with the ubiquity of Internet access, has created an environment where everyone expects even the smallest outfits to seamlessly integrate their brick-and-mortar stores with a friendly web storefront. If you run any sort of retail store you know that your customers want to order online, view their purchase history, etc… on-demand, all while having little fear of their personal data or financial information being compromised. On top of that, in the low-margin world of retail, if your online offering isn’t fast and responsive, or worse, experiences an outage during a critical shopping period, you’re likely losing sales to the competition. Leverage GCP to reduce the impact those concerns have on your operation. You can run your retail site on a cluster of Compute Engine instances and set up cross-region load balancing to distribute traffic from anywhere in the world. Combine that with Autoscaling and your website will handle any volume of traffic no matter how successful you become.
These are just some of the ideas that popped into my head while I was writing this post. And they barely scratch the surface of what you can accomplish with mug of hot coffee and GCP at your fingertips. Draw some inspiration from here, or search the web to see what everyone else is doing. Take the time to think about how these awesome tools can impact your IT implementation — and enjoy leveraging a cutting edge technology!
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