Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure at Google, speaks during the Google I/O 2014 conference in San Francisco Stephen Lam/Getty Images
Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure at Google, speaks during the Google I/O 2014 conference in San Francisco

Google Partners with CDNs to Lower Cloud Prices for Users Who Cache Content At "The Edge"

Users who pay CDNs to cache content originating from Google cloud VMs will pay less for cloud services

Google has partnered with four Content Delivery Network providers to slash bandwidth costs for users of its cloud infrastructure services. Customers who use CloudFlare, Fastly, Highwinds, or Level 3 CDN services together with Google Cloud Platform will pay less for in-region egress traffic from their cloud environments.

Put simply, if you use CloudFlare’s CDN, for example, to serve files from your Google cloud VMs to customers in one of the regions covered by the partnership, your data transport costs out of the Google data center that hosts the VMs will be lower than usual.

The move appears to be about sharing the burden of moving increasingly large content and web application files from data centers to users more evenly between Google and companies that serve that content and those apps.

CDNs store frequently accessed files close to population centers where those files are in high demand, reducing the cost of data transport and improving performance for the users. Google has a highly distributed data center network (70-plus Points of Presence in 33 countries), but CDNs have much wider geographic reach.

If a Google cloud customer serves content from a Google data center to a user in a different state, Google has to pay to move that data across a long distance to a local Internet Service Provider that serves that user. But if the customer pays a CDN provider to store copies of that content in a data center that’s already on that ISP’s network, Google doesn’t have to move the data over that long distance every time the user asks for it.

The program is called CDN Interconnect. “CDN Interconnect’s special egress pricing should encourage the best practice of regularly distributing content originating from Cloud Platform out to the edge close to your end-users,” Ofir Roval, product manager for Google Cloud Platform, wrote in a blog post.

Google will provide private network links between its cloud data centers and the CDNs.

Storing content at “the edge” of the internet is becoming increasingly important as users watch more and more video online, and as companies rely more and more on business applications delivered as web services. Demand for this content and services in markets far removed from the traditional “tier-one” metros, such as New York, Silicon Valley, or Dallas, is on the rise, driving rapid build-out of data centers in those tier-two markets, where content providers and CDNs cache popular files and exchange traffic with long-haul carriers and ISPs, or “eyeball” networks.

Users who want to take advantage of Google’s egress traffic discounts have to work with their CDN providers to deploy CDN Interconnect for their applications. The CDNs will provide lists of locations that apply.

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