I have a network of young people that are into different things. This of course is not strange as a Nigerian because the median age of the country’s population according to World Population Review is 18.5. Social media happens to be one of the many media through which I stay in touch with them, and my social media pages of recent has been populated with lots of posts that got me answering so many “What is” questions. Two of such questions are “What is Cloud Computing?” and “What is Google Cloud Platform?”
“Yo! There is Google you know? Just Google it.”
This may just have been my reply to such questions. But then few months ago, I was in their shoes and I Googled the same words. I didn’t just stop at those words, I typed in words like; Cloud computing for dummies, guide to Google cloud platform, Google cloud platform for beginners dummies starters… I am sure Google search algorithm got tired of me like, ‘Dude, is there anything lower than a dummy?’
So yes, I didn’t tell them to Google their questions. Rather, I tried my best to explain to them and promised to expatiate further. This is my attempt at fulfilling that promise, and I will try as much as possible to make Google search algorithm find this when someone adds dummies or starters to their search query.
What is Cloud Computing?
I’ll begin with a short story…
The story will have to start with the richest man on earth who got divorced, shared his wealth and still remained the richest man on earth; Ichie Jeff Bezos. Ichie is an Igbo word that translates to Chief — my home training will not allow me call my Idol’s name without adding a title. But before he became an Ichie, he started his company in the late 1990s. You know I am talking about Amazon right? Good.
Amazon originally started with book sales, and from what I read from the book by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh on Blitzscaling, I got to know that Ichie Jeff had bigger dreams. And bigger dreams he achieved. The online retail shop was still operating locally, but with the early 2000s came the ‘.com’ internet boom, Amazon began going global. Amazon started receiving massive online traffic and the expansion of its online business was gradually moving away from book retailing to trying to overtake WalMart in general retails. This posed problems of having to keep their applications/website running and consequently, to keep the infrastructure running.
Alright stop… To keep a website running, you will need infrastructures like servers, storage systems, host system, networks and routers. The work that is done on these infrastructure, that is the way they are run is known as COMPUTING. If you do not understand this, then I’ll have to say you should Google How a website backend works. Add for dummies if the search engine is too dumb to understand you.
Back to the story: as traffic kept going up, Amazon kept on spending millions of dollars on their infrastructures. But then again, Amazon was a retail company and I got to know recently that their profit margin is very low. So Ichie Jeff knew that he had to find cost effective approaches to solve their infrastructure problems. Else, he would never be the richest man on earth. So what did Ichie Jeff and his team do? They conducted researches and built things in search for solutions. While they engaged in this search, they ended up designing technologies that would massively change their thought processes. The advent of wireless transfer of data also influenced their thought patterns. So, Ichie Jeff and his team thought of the same thing that some Nigerians think of; to become landlords. With the new technologies at their disposal, they could simply lend some of their infrastructures to people that needs it and they will pay for only what they use. But then, this lending wouldn’t be by connecting wires, rather it would be wireless. So a company in Tunisia could suddenly rent some infrastructural (computing) space in Amazon’s infrastructure warehouse and access them through the internet. The internet is wireless and it is also called cloud, so what the company is doing is connecting to the cloud to carry out their computing duties. Tada… CLOUD COMPUTING.
Thus, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was birthed in 2006 with services like EC2, S3 and VM. Don’t bother with the names if you are a beginner, I guarantee you won’t understand them. Just know that Ichie Jeff Bezos has made money from AWS.
What is Google Cloud Platform?
Unlike Amazon, Google was not a retail store. They were in fact not bothered about effective cost on running their infrastructures. Why would they? They had a profit margin over 50%, thanks to ads and wait… what else were they making money from? Anyways, Google’s problem was lots of data and having absolute nothing to do with them — or so we thought. I read George Gilder’s Life After Google last month and I couldn’t help but scream, “OTUNBA LARRY PAGE, YOU KNEW ALL ALONG?” Yes, Otunba Larry knew exactly what he would use the data for and yes, Otunba is Chief in yoruba language.
But this didn’t stop Google from buying into the idea of Cloud Computing. Two years after the launch of AWS, Google launched Google AppEngine. I want to write that AWS was Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and AppEngine was Platform as a Service (PaaS) but can we not get this article longer? Just know that AWS offered tenants the privileges of maintaining their resources, more like they allowed tenants to sweep their houses and handed them all the spare keys. Google on the other hand tried treating tenants with specialty; they collected their keys and told them they will sweep the house for them every day. This was somewhat a wrong move because there was little trust — even Google is clueless at times yo!
In 2010, Alhaji Bill Gate’s Microsoft launched Microsoft Azure and it became the direct competition with AWS. Hence, AWS and Azure owns the larger part of the market share as I write. This is why most people think Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is new to the game. Well, it is not new. It is just a rebuild of an existing platform. So, Google Cloud Platform is a cloud computing service — a landlord — owned by google. As at the time I was writing this, there wereover 10 cloud computing service providers. I can’t start thinking of them now, Google it!
Follow me on twitter @mmdafegbua and I might just follow back.