Latest Round of Google Cloud Features Improve Operations

Google has added a series of new capabilities to its cloud platform to help optimize efficiency as well as cost.

Sean Michael Kerner, Contributor

September 1, 2021

3 Min Read
cloud coming out of a box
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Google introduced a number of new Google Cloud features over the course of the month of August that will likely help organizations for months and years to come.

For organizations apprehensive about moving to the cloud and maintaining ongoing operations, the latest round of Google Cloud features—including a new online mode for Google Transfer Appliance—will help alleviate their concerns.

A key challenge for organizations is moving large volumes of data to the cloud, and that's where Google Transfer Appliance comes into play. Google Transfer Appliance is a physical storage device that organizations can load data on from an on-premises facility. When full, the appliance is shipped in offline mode to a Google Cloud facility, where Google transfers the data into its cloud.

Google is now previewing a new online mode for the transfer appliance.

"Online mode enables streaming data copied to the appliance to your Cloud Storage bucket," Google stated in its user guide. "If you select online mode, you can toggle between offline and online mode once you have the appliance."

Running Serverless Functions in the Cloud

Among the emerging deployment approaches for applications in the cloud is the serverless model. With serverless, virtual machine instances or containers don't always need to be running; rather, a developer can trigger functions as needed.

Google has positioned its serverless tool, Cloud Functions, as a functions-as-a-service (FaaS) offering. While serverless doesn't require compute instances to always be running, Google and its users have noticed that it can take time for a function to start and execute from a cold start.

To help get past that startup lag, Google announced a capability known as minimum (min) instances that became available on Aug. 30.

"By specifying a minimum number of instances of your application to keep online during periods of low demand, this new feature can dramatically improve performance for your serverless applications and workflows, minimizing your cold starts," Google explained in a blog post.

Bringing More Context to the Cloud

Google is also looking to make it easier to troubleshoot virtual machine resources in the cloud. On Aug. 12, the company announced the general availability of enhanced tools that provide more context for running workloads.

The general idea behind the enhanced tools is to provide more visibility as well as context within a unified dashboard, to help administrators properly identify any potential performance or operational issues.

"From the Google Console, developers can click into any VM and access a rich set of pre-built visualizations designed to give insights into common scenarios and issues associated with CPU, Disk, Memory, Networking, and live processes," Google said in a blog post. "With access to all of this data in one location, you can easily correlate between signals over a given timeframe."

Unattended Project Recommender Comes to Google Cloud

Over time, it's almost inevitable that an organization will have resources running in the cloud that are no longer needed.

In the past, finding those unneeded resources had been somewhat of a manual process, but that's no longer the case for Google Cloud users. The Unattended Project Recommender is a new Google Cloud feature that is part of the Active Assist suite of tools.

"With actionable and automatic recommendations, you no longer have to worry about wasting money or mitigating security risks presented by your idle resources," Google explained. "Unattended Project Recommender uses machine learning to identify, with a high degree of confidence, projects that are likely abandoned based on API and networking activity, billing, usage of cloud services, and other signals."

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About the Author(s)

Sean Michael Kerner


Sean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.

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