Google Stackdriver Hints at Self-Serve Cloud Future
People stand in the lobby of Google’s Washington, DC, headquarters in January 2015. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Google Stackdriver Hints at Self-Serve Cloud Future

The development of the workload monitoring system suggests service providers are committed to making cloud adoption increasingly intuitive and user-friendly

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The Google Stackdriver monitoring tool is speeding toward general availability, offering a glimpse of a future where consumers are encouraged to take to the cloud on their own, leveraging a growing array of self-service tools to perform all manner of once-complicated computing.

Stackdriver is a unified monitoring, logging and diagnostics service for managing workloads on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and/or Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Google Stackdriver has been in beta for a couple of months and figures to remain in final testing a few more.

But in recent weeks, Google unveiled the tool’s pricing plan, whose details hint at a business built on empowering lay users to embrace cloud computing with the comfort of analyzing a Google Drive spreadsheet.

“By integrating monitoring, logging and diagnostics, Google Stackdriver makes ops easier for the hybrid cloud, equipping customers with insight into the health, performance and availability of their applications,” product manager Dan Belcher said in a recent blog post. “We’re unifying these services into a single package, which makes Google Stackdriver affordable, easy-to-use, and flexible.”

Cloud adoption worries MSPs

Managed services providers (MSPs) and other channel firms are increasingly tackling the business challenge posed by cloud computing and storage.

On one hand, migrating and managing cloud workloads and offering strategic IT advice offers new revenue opportunities.

At the same time, there’s no ignoring that intense competition by some of tech’s biggest players is flooding the market with cheap cloud computing and innovative self-serve apps and tools.

A recent CompTIA study found that managing the competitive implications of “cloud computing” was the number one concern keeping MSPs up at night.

During Automation Nation last month, ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini described the trend toward cloud adoption as unfolding much more quickly than the advent of managed services years earlier, according to a report in TechTarget.

“This trend is hitting very quickly and is moving much faster,” Bellini was quoted as saying.

Cloud war tamps prices

Google Stackdriver is currently free for beta users. Once the beta period ends, users will be able to opt for one of two pricing tiers: free and premium.

Under the free plan, available only for GCP workloads, users get key metrics, traces, error reports and up to 5 gigabytes (GBs) a month of logs.

The premium plan, whose cost is described in the somewhat-arcane language of cloud pricing, runs $8 per monitored resource, per month – prorated hourly.

That includes 10 GBs of log storage, 30 days of log retention, alerting via text, Slack, Hipchat and other tools, and integration with Amazon Web Services.

Add in free trials and hundreds of dollars worth of introductory credits, and the costs of public cloud appear attractive, indeed.

After the beta, new users will get a month to use the premium option at no cost.

Stackdriver is designed to work seamlessly with a variety of AWS and GCP tools.

Among the powerful accessories available on GCP, users can pay pennies or less for increments of cloud computing time and storage to enable:

App Engine allows users to build web and mobile apps that scale automatically based on demand.

Compute Engine lets users leverage scalable, high-performance virtual machines.

Cloud SQL is a fully managed database that can provide infrastructure for remote applications. It requires no software installation or maintenance.

Global Load Balancing with autoscaling is a software-defined managed service that deliverers and routes network traffic in the most efficient way, anywhere in the world, reacting instantaneously to changes in users, traffic, network, back-end health and other conditions.

CSPs drive simplicity

Google’s moves come as several of public cloud’s biggest players are also maneuvering to improve the user-friendliness of their platforms and tools.

This Spring, AWS announced Cloud With Me, a service aimed at dramatically reducing the complexity of setting up virtual machines.

Greater simplicity was also the goal behind Microsoft’s decision to release Azure Stack as an appliance sometime in 2017.

The initiative to deliver the product as a turnkey bundle was announced Tuesday during Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, as a way to “reduce complexity and improve the odds of Azure Stack working well,” according to an article in ZDNet.

To be sure, the day when every SMB owner can jump onto the public cloud service of their choice to set up and manage their own computing and storage still lies somewhere in the future.

But if the rollout process for Google Stackdriver is any indication, leading cloud service providers are moving aggressively to see to it that lay consumers develop a comfort level with the new computing paradigm sooner, rather than later.

This first ran at http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/google-stackdriver-hints-self-serve-cloud-future

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