Last week, Google announced details of Always Free, a free tier of Google Cloud Platform services that allow users to obtain familiarity with the Google Cloud Platform’s suite of offerings. The free tier of services allows users to take advantage of 15 Google Cloud Platform services that include Google Compute Engine, Google App Engine, Google Cloud Datastore, Google Cloud Functions, Google Stackdriver, Google BigQuery Public Datasets and Google Container Engine. In the case of Google Compute Engine, users have access to one 1 f1-micro instance each month, with the additional constraint that they can run a maximum of 8 cores of virtual CPUs concurrently as noted below, by the Google Cloud Platform:
You can have no more than 8 cores (or Virtual CPUs) running at the same time. For example, you can launch eight n1-standard-1 machines, or two n1-standard-4 machines, but you can’t launch a n1-standard-16machine. For more information about the types of virtual machines available and the number of cores they use, see Machine type pricing.
The availability of Google Cloud Platform is limited to U.S. regions and a 30 GB-months HDD and a 5 GB-months snapshot. As part of its Always Free tier, Google also elaborated details of a $300 credit that customers can apply to the usage of Google Cloud Platform products to further augment their ability to experiment with the capabilities of GCP services. The $300 credit applies to all Google Cloud Platform products and spans a duration of 12 months.
Announced by Sam Ramji, VP of Product Development at Google Cloud at the Google Cloud Next conference on Friday March 10, the Always Free Tier and the $300 credit represent an important sales and marketing initiative designed to lure new customers intro trying the features and functionality of the Google Cloud Platform. As enterprises increasingly leverage a multi-cloud strategy characterized by the use of multiple public clouds in an effort to minimize threats posed by vendor lock-in and the effects of cloud outages, Google Cloud Platform’s Always Free tier promises to increase its market share in a field dominated by Amazon Web Services but that additionally includes Microsoft Azure, Oracle and IBM. Meanwhile, Google’s ability to onboard new customers via its Always Free tier raises the obvious question around its ability to retain those customers in collaboration with an aggressive sales and customer satisfaction team capable of eliciting and responding to the needs of its growing customer base.