The Ultimate Guide to
Google Cloud Platform

Chapter 1

What is Google Cloud?

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a global public cloud provider that has 29 cloud regions, 88 zones, 146 network edge locations, and availability in 200+ countries and territories.

GCP provides virtual machines and hardware, housing them in regional data centers, which are then divided into separate zones where data is stored. This allows resources to be housed near your physical location, preventing failures and latency. In addition, there are global, regional, and zonal resources.

Google Cloud Platform statistics

As more data is created, there is an increased demand for big data analytics, a field that is expected to reach $103 billion by 2023. This need for access to and the ability to utilize data for business decisions is one of the main reasons that the cloud is growing in popularity.

In 2020 alone, 61% of businesses migrated their workloads to the cloud — with no signs of slowing down, as the public cloud computing market is expected to be worth $800 billion by 2025.

Cloud computing across industries

The popularity of cloud computing is driven by the fact that it has the ability to benefit countless industries, including:

Software and internet

In order to connect to your end-users quickly and reliably, it’s important to have an effective cloud computing infrastructure. Learn more >

Retail

With cloud computing, you can keep an eye on stock, manage your employees, and utilize your data to plan for the future. Learn more >

Manufacturing

No matter what products you create and distribute, cloud computing can allow you to stay ahead of the competition and prepare for upcoming demands, challenges, and more. Learn more >

Consumer services

Now more than ever, your end-users expect an incredible experience. With cloud computing, you can provide them a secure experience that’s fast and reliable. Learn more >

Financial services

When handling sensitive financial information, it’s crucial to stay secure, which is why the cloud is perfect for financial services.

While these benefits may stretch across industries, specific organization needs vary from company to company, so it’s important to create a cloud infrastructure that works for your organization’s goals. Learn more >

Chapter 2

How does GCP work?

GCP differentiates itself from the other public cloud providers in a variety of ways, including a comprehensive security model, a unique billing model, and a strong reliance on data analytics to ensure optimal performance.

What you would commonly think of as software and hardware products are known in GCP as “services.” These services work together to create a solution that benefits your organization and helps you reach your business goals.

Harness the Power of GCP

Our team of architects and consultants has the knowledge and expertise to help you get more from Google Cloud Platform. We approach each project with a prescriptive methodology based on years of experience — and thousands of cloud planning projects.

Chapter 3

Google Cloud Platform services

Google Cloud Compute Engine

What is it?

The Compute Engine service allows users to run virtual machines in Google’s global data center. According to Google, “Compute Engine’s tooling and workflow support enable scaling from single instances to global, load-balanced cloud computing.”

What are the benefits?

As an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) part of Google Cloud Platform, Compute Engine is built on the same infrastructure as Google’s search engine and other services, which offers high-level performance and low latency.

Related blog: GCP 101: How to Use Google Compute Engine

GCP Cloud Storage

What is it?

Cloud Storage is an online file storage web service used for GCP. Though it is often mistaken for Google Drive, they are two different services.

What are the benefits?

Cloud Storage has different varieties to suit your IT needs, no matter what industry your organization is in. You can choose the right storage class for your data including multi-regional, regional, nearline, and coldline — each provide specific benefits ranging from maximum availability to the lowest cost storage possible.

Related blog: GCP 101: Let’s Talk About Google Cloud Storage

GCP Data Pipeline

What is it?

The GCP Data Pipeline is a way to collect, maintain, and process data faster and more efficiently than before.

For example, if you’re a retail organization that sells a product, you can use a data pipeline to combine two sets of data warehouses: one that houses purchase data and another that keeps inventory data. A data pipeline can combine the two, so you can determine when your stock is running low. When bulked together, all of these steps comprise a Data Pipeline.

What are the benefits?

GCP Data Pipelines are used for a variety of reasons across industries, but the most important is the data visibility it provides.

Since data analytics is a growing field, organizations need the power to crunch information even faster through improved access to their data and the resulting improved business decisions.

Related blog: GCP 101: Building a Data Pipeline in Google Cloud Platform

GCP Autoscaling

What is it?

Autoscaling is a tool that allows your apps to efficiently handle increases in traffic by dynamically adding compute capacity. It also reduces capacity and costs in periods of low traffic and resource demand.

Once you determine your organization’s goals, you’ll create an autoscaling policy that is centered around your target utilization level. Autoscaling will continuously monitor your MIG and collect usage information based on that policy.

What are the benefits?

Being able to add or remove virtual machines (VMs) based on resource demand and traffic allows your organization to build a resilient, cost-effective GCP infrastructure that uses just the right amount of resources at the right time for your application’s workload.

This intelligent, dynamic scaling tool helps you keep your actual spending in check, reduce expenses, and eliminate pay-as-you-go surprises — even when unexpected spikes occur.

Related blog: GCP 101: How Autoscaling Works in Google Cloud

Google Cloud DNS

What is it?

Domain name systems (DNS) are hierarchical databases that store information to turn user-friendly domain names, such as onixnet.com, into numeric IP addresses. These IP addresses function on the internet in the same way a phone number works, allowing users to get to the right destination on the web.

There are two types of zones:

Each zone is a container of DNS records and allows for more granular, administrative control of DNS components.

There are two types of zones:

  1. Public zones are visible on the internet and are the publishing location for your external apps. In these zones, Cloud DNS uses what are known as “authoritative name servers” to respond to public queries, no matter where these queries originate.
  2. Private zones only can be queried by your organization’s authorized Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) networks and are assigned to specific projects, meaning only specific users can access them. These zones give you an easy-to-manage internal DNS solution that focuses on your virtual machines, load balancers, and other GCP resources.

Cloud DNS allows your organization to publish your DNS zones and records easily, either for external users or for your internal teams, without requiring your IT team to manage the necessary servers and software.

What are the benefits?

Cloud DNS provides users with a high-performance, resilient, and global DNS service that makes it easier to manage your applications while giving users easy access to these applications without having to remember a string of numbers.

Some organizations choose to manage their own DNS services, but you can streamline that effort through cloud computing. Cloud DNS relieves that management burden and allows for a focus on other critical activities. And it delivers reliable, low-latency access to your services to users anywhere in the world.

Related blog: GCP 101: What is Cloud DNS?

GCP Cloud SQL

What is it?

The Google Cloud SQL database is a fully managed, relational database that’s designed to help you set up, maintain, manage, and administer your MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server relational databases on Google Cloud Platform.

What are the benefits?

This service ensures your relational databases are reliable, scalable, and secure in the cloud. Cloud SQL delivers powerful services for performance-intensive workloads, delivering up to 60,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) with no extra cost for IO.

GCP SQL also provides high availability of data, consistent at-scale usage, and daily binary logging and backups with point-in-time restoration.

Related blog: GCP 101: Exploring Google Cloud SQL Database

GCP VPC

What is it?

A Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) computing network is similar to a physical one, however, a VPC is “virtualized” in a cloud computing environment, such as Google Cloud Platform. In short, ​​VPCs allow you to easily (and virtually) expand your IP space. This service provides a number of uses to organizations:

  • Networking functionality to Compute Engine VM instances, along with other cloud-based services, such as Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) containers and the App Engine flexible environment.
  • Addressing load balancing needs with native, internal TCP/UDP, and proxy systems for internal HTTP(S).
  • Utilizing Cloud VPN (virtual private network) tunnels and Cloud Interconnect attachments to allow users to connect to on-premise networks.

What are the benefits?

A Google Cloud VPS is global, shareable, and expandable — making it great to help connect your team with each other and the information they need. Using VPC gives you managed, global networking functionality for all of your Google Cloud resources through subnetworks, known as subnets, hosted in Google Cloud data centers, which are each assigned to a specific region.

A single Google Cloud VPC and its subnets can span multiple regions without ever communicating to the public internet or being associated with any specific region, so your information is secure.

Related blog: GCP 101: Understanding Google Cloud VPC

 

GCP Suite

What is it?

Google Cloud Operations Suite (formerly Stackdriver) is a tool that monitors, troubleshoots, and helps improve application performance across your organization’s Google Cloud environment. It automatically collects metrics, logs, and traces, which are then made available to you in your dashboard.

What are the benefits?

This offering equips your organization with valuable insight into your cloud infrastructure and apps, revealing data about their health, performance, and availability so that you can quickly identify, troubleshoot, and repair issues.

Your organization may find several benefits, including lower latency, increased security, reduced cost, more efficient work, and more. The operations suite integrates with Google Cloud Platform but also reaches outside of the Google universe, including Amazon Web Services and popular open-source packages.

Related blog: GCP 101: Exploring Google Cloud Operations Suite

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Chaper 4

Benefits of Google Cloud Platform

With so many platforms in the market, it’s crucial to consider the pros and cons of each one before making a decision for your business. 

Google offers a number of features, such as advanced security, use-based pricing, frameworks prepared for large amounts of data, a globally-connected cloud infrastructure, and more. Take a look at the use cases below to see how GCP can benefit your operations.

GCP use cases

Organizations across industries are utilizing GCP to help streamline their operations and improve business performance. Here are just a few examples:

Software and internet

Harqen, a Milwaukee-based human resources company, gives both employers and candidates an efficient way to approach hiring in the cloud.

Backed by big data, Harqen’s platform delivers targeted reporting through deep analytics and intelligence that hiring organizations can use to improve and speed up their hiring process.

Now, the organization can control infrastructure changes and deploy application code as many times a day as they desire, allowing them to improve their customer’s experiences more quickly and efficiently. They also have experienced increased dependability, connectivity, and reliability.

Read the full case study: AI-Driven Hiring in the Cloud Reshapes Recruiting

Retail

When looking for an alternative solution for hosting their applications, Batteries Plus knew they needed something powerful. As the nation’s largest and fastest-growing battery, light bulb, and smartphone/tablet repair franchise, they needed to ensure high-quality data security, accessibility, and reliability.

They worked with Onix to implement Google Cloud for the most efficient retail operations. Once they were up and running in GCP, they noted an increase in performance and availability across all migrated applications in Batteries Plus stores and at HQ.

Read the full case study: Onix Spearheads a Comprehensive GCP Data Warehouse Modernization for Batteries Plus

Manufacturing

For 120+ years, Gordon Food Service has made its mark in the foodservice industry as the largest family-operated broadline food distribution company in North America, so they needed a cloud computing system that would elevate the organization to the next level of efficiency and success.

“The savings were pretty substantial, especially in cost avoidance. We were faced with thousands of copies of end-of-life software,” Jeff Johnson, Collaboration Team Lead at Gordon Food Service said. Ultimately, the company avoided a potentially $2.5 million upgrade to a new version of the legacy solution through a turnkey Google Workspace migration.

By connecting their employees through a centralized system, they were able to increase productivity, improve internal communications and processes, and save money.

Read the full story: Cloud Collaboration ROI Packs Powerful Punch

Consumer services

When Dominion Enterprises began their move to Google, their biggest reservations involved security and privacy in the cloud. However, once they learned about Google’s commitment to security, they expanded their test into a full pilot program.

This transformation allowed Dominion to see an increase in productivity, collaboration, and seamless communication across their entire organization of roughly 4,000 employees.

Read the full case study: Dominion Enterprises Workplace Collaboration Case Study | Onix

Financial services

In order to help optimize workflows, processes, and customer experiences, ATB Financial migrated to GCP from on-premise legacy software.

ATB Financial’s move to the Google Cloud included migrating ATB’s entire history: 35 terabytes of data, including 340 million email messages, calendar items, and contacts. They knew it would make banking more effective for end-users by building a cloud collaboration hive in a secure cloud environment. In addition, ATB knew their transformation would be secured through Google’s built-in security plan.

They called this effort “Work Reimagined,” playing on the fact a move to the Google Workspace would elevate the bank’s workforce’s productivity, collaboration, and efficiency.

Read the full case study: ATB Financial Builds a Workplace Cloud Collaboration Hive

Google Cloud Platform security

GCP works to keep your information safe through a number of steps, including:

Protected infrastructure

With protection that’s built into the system, you can be confident that your information is secure. As Google explains, “Our stack builds security through progressive layers that deliver true defense in depth.”

Encryption

With multiple layers of encryption, Google’s products and services help secure your data.

Compliance

Security is incredibly important for every organization — but some industries have certain compliance requirements that must be met. Google has a number of global compliance standards that help keep your information protected.

Data privacy

Your organization’s data is exactly that: yours. This is why Google is committed to protecting your data and transparently informing you what they do (and do not do) with your data.

Transparency

By allowing users to know what’s going on in their cloud system, GCP builds trust in their services. They also utilize what they call “Trust Principles” to keep you in the know about their security policies.

GCP knows security is at the top of the list when choosing a cloud provider, which is why they have a multi-step security process built into their platform.

Google Cloud Platform pricing

Cost-effectiveness is likely one of the reasons you’re interested in moving your organization to GCP. With a pay-as-you-go platform, your organization can avoid hefty fines, extra fees, and other expenses that drain your budget.

No matter what you’re looking for – from AI and machine learning to management tools — you can find a detailed pricing list here and utilize the Google Cloud Pricing Calculator to get an estimate.

Google Cloud Platform deployment

Onix works with businesses at every stage of the modernization journey — from assessing business needs to planning and executing the migration that ensures an accelerated, hassle-free migration to the cloud.

Assess

We take a look at where your organization is now. What needs to happen? What goals is your organization looking to achieve with this move to the cloud?

Mobilize

We prepare you for every step of the process, including by delivering proven tools, methodologies, and expertise to ensure you have a seamless transition to GCP.

Migrate and modernize

Accelerate migration at scale in order to achieve increased agility, improved performance, an at-scale cloud experience, reduced cost, and more.

Google Cloud Platform training

One important step of implementing GCP is training your team on everything they need to know.

Google features a number of training options, including learning paths to walk you through general cloud infrastructure, application development, cloud business leadership, and more. No matter what your team members need to know, there are courses available to guide them.

In addition, Onix has training packages that were created to help you achieve your GCP goals. From Google Workspace essentials to skills that can help your team while adapting to remote work, our packages and training sessions are preset, cost-effective, and designed to get you up and running in Google Workspace quickly and comprehensively.

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Chapter 5

Why partner with a Google Cloud premier partner like Onix?

How we’ve helped other organizations

Onix has helped global organizations across industries with a smooth transition to GCP. Here are some examples:

GOBHI

Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI) is a healthcare provider that empowers constituents to achieve better health, wellness, and full potential by delivering services in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment emphasizing individual beliefs and needs.

The issue

They were struggling to provide the best care possible, due to restrictions of outdated, manually intensive data processes.

The solution

To solve this issue, Onix partnered with GOBHI to create a detailed level design, identifying analytics, modernization opportunities, and methods for eliminating the manual tasks and expensive VMs for their planned digital transformation.

Outcomes

  • GOBHI is now poised to ingest additional information into their data lake to create even greater analytics capabilities to support efforts such as call center data mining.
  • They can now add metrics that include “ride” (non-emergency medical transportation) data, claim and vaccination volumes, increased provider capacity opportunities — and automated payment processing based upon ride logs.
  • The new GCP solutions position GOBHI to nurture a data-driven culture, deliver greater value to its clients and communities, and begin pursuing future initiatives such as Chatbot and NLP Q&A for member organizations.
  • The costs for legacy VMs and expensive software licenses were eliminated and overall TCO was lowered for the organization.

Batteries Plus

Batteries Plus is the nation’s largest and fastest-growing battery, light bulb, and smartphone/tablet repair franchise - headquartered in Hartland, Wisconsin. It has a large nationwide network of stores and also a strong online presence.

The issue

When their data center host announced it was closing production and testing centers in 2019, Batteries Plus’s leadership team knew they needed to ensure the same quality data security, accessibility, and reliability that it had with its previous provider.

The solution

Their team turned to Onix to explore the benefits of migrating to the cloud. By using GCP and a combination of other tools, the Onix-led migration team was able to move the company’s 114 servers in a month, migrating anywhere between five to 10 servers a day.

Outcomes

  • There was a notable increase in performance and availability across all migrated applications in Batteries Plus stores and at HQ
  • Onix Technical Project Manager, Jessica Banks, who managed the entire deployment, said, “They’ve enjoyed post-migration improvements in uptime as well as computing speed at their satellite stores, which access the applications stored in their new GCP environment.”
  • Batteries Plus now enjoys having access to Google Cloud’s newer hardware and strong networking capabilities without having to make internal capital investments.

Budget Dumpster

Budget Dumpster is a waste removal service that easily connects customers with a dumpster rental. Budget Dumpster has rented over 500,000 dumpsters serving homeowners, contractors, and businesses in 46 states.

The issue

As Budget Dumpster grew, its technological challenges increased. With a growing business, they needed to create more efficient processes for ​​product delivery, continuous deployments, security, and more. Budget Dumpster’s technological challenges ranged from faster analysis of various application programming interface (API) data to data migration and scalability.

The solution

The company explored Google Cloud Platform, a cloud computing solution, to address these challenges. They met with Onix, a nine-time Google Partner of the Year, and began developing a relationship.

Outcomes

  • To begin with, they created an infrastructure migration plan focused on success. By contracting with Onix, Budget Dumpster took advantage of Onix’s industry-leading GCP experience, knowledge of microservices architecture, and state-of-the-art continuous integration and deployment practices.
  • Budget Dumpster was also able to stage and deploy GCP Kubernetes by using Onix developers’ 100+ years of combined experience with creating and moving to container environments, the company has successfully developed new GCP-hosted clusters and integrated Spinnaker for continuous deployment.
  • They were able to streamline the budget management process. By implementing OnSpend by Onix™, a billing analytics tool, Budget Dumpster is able to proactively monitor its forecasting and expenditures in line with its API usage.

Harness the Power of GCP

Our team of architects and consultants has the knowledge and expertise to help you get more from Google Cloud Platform. We approach each project with a prescriptive methodology based on years of experience — and thousands of cloud planning projects.

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Conclusion

Cloud data readiness

Data has become many organizations’ most valuable asset, but it’s only effective when it’s properly structured and leveraged for impactful use cases.

When you’ve made the decision to migrate all or some of your workloads to the cloud, you will need to understand existing solutions. At Onix, we don’t provide cloud infrastructure as a service without doing our research first.

We’ll do a deep dive into your organization to understand your operations and challenges inside and out. By doing this, we can solve your infrastructure challenges and proactively identify additional opportunities for improvement by leveraging the power of the cloud.

This process typically has three steps:

  • Identify.
  • Evaluate.
  • Create.

These steps allow us to create a strategic plan that aligns with your organization’s goals and define a roadmap for the implementation of your organization’s data strategy.

And even after your strategy is deployed, we’re here to help with ongoing service and support. Our cloud infrastructure experts are here as your trusted advisers to provide guidance and ensure you are maximizing your new cloud environment.

Ready to join the organizations that have partnered with Onix to reach new levels of productivity, collaboration, efficiency, and success? Connect with us today to get started on your cloud data journey!

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