Google’s Cloud outage could cast a pall over the IoT platform


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Google experienced an outage to its cloud computing network over the weekend that took down a range of its services, and those of its customers, according to TechCrunch. The issues that caused Google Cloud to go down for more than four hours – primarily network congestion – have since been resolved, and the service is up and running.

But as the company continues to try to build up its presence in the IoT platform space on the back of its cloud service, it faces questions about its reliability that could be difficult to answer.

Here’s what it means: Google’s been trying to sell its cloud business based on a few different points of emphasis, including reliability and uptime, which could very well be undercut by this high-profile outage.

At a Google Cloud event in April, Google SVP of technical infrastructure Urs Hölzle highlighted the service’s reliability. He pointed out that Google Cloud had been down for only 208 minutes in 2018, compared to 312 minutes for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and 2,033 minutes for Microsoft’s Azure.

But with this weekend’s cloud outage – which impacted not just Google’s cloud business, but also its popular services like Gmail, YouTube, and the Nest smart home platform – that reputation for reliability could go out the window.

Reliability is a key factor for companies deciding on a cloud platform to house and analyze the data streaming from IoT devices and other monitoring systems. When systems go down, any automation or alerting that helps operations continue smoothly go down with them, which can have a cascading effect and cause all sorts of headaches and mayhem.

The bigger picture: As Google and Microsoft claw to close the gap between them and cloud market leader AWS, neither can afford mistakes that might push them further behind the dominant service.

AWS accounts for about a third of the public cloud market, commanding a greater market share than Microsoft and Google, the second- and third-largest providers, combined. Its overall cloud revenue likewise outstrips its two primary cloud competitors combined, with AWS bringing in $7.6 billion in Q1 2019, compared to $3.4 billion for Azure and $2.3 billion for Google Cloud.

The latter two have found more success in IoT, where the gap between market leader AWS is significantly smaller. But if Google is unable to deliver on its promises for uptime and reliability, it could lose the momentum that it’s built up and remain stuck in its trailing position in the valuable IoT cloud market.

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