Why I distrust Google Cloud more than AWS or Azure.

Photo: Peter John Maridable


As of April/2021 for people planning on integrating deeply with a Cloud provider services (not going for cloud-agnostic-solutions) choosing to depend on Google Cloud instead of AWS or Azure will more often than not prove to be an expensive mistake.


You should be careful with who you will depend upon. Most business can't rationally avoid picking a cloud provider option - and that often means choosing between AWS, Azure or Google Cloud.

For any substantial deployment, planning on having a hard dependency on numerous Google Cloud services should in my opinion make you very unconfortable - the smart way of taking advantage of their offering is to focus on base VMs and other services from which you can easily migrate away if needed. I listed the key reasons below.

Google assumes it is ok to force developers to rebuild working solutions.

The often brilliant Steve Yegge on this - make sure you read it entirely - it is both fun and very informative: https://steve-yegge.medium.com/dear-google-cloud-your-deprecation-policy-is-killing-you-ee7525dc05dc [ archive ].

Choice quote where Steve translates a Google Cloud communication from PR-Speak into English:


Fuck yooooouuuuuuuu. Fuck you, fuck you, Fuck You. Drop whatever you are doing because it’s not important. What is important is OUR time. It’s costing us time and money to support our shit, and we’re tired of it, so we’re not going to support it anymore. So drop your fucking plans and go start digging through our shitty documentation, begging for scraps on forums, and oh by the way, our new shit is COMPLETELY different from the old shit, because well, we fucked that design up pretty bad, heh, but hey, that’s YOUR problem, not our problem.

We remain committed as always to ensuring everything you write will be unusable within 1 year.

Please go fuck yourself,

All in all, the situations Google puts developers into remind me of the classic fire and motion article by Joel Spolsky: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2002/01/06/fire-and-motion/ [ archive ]

Google increases prices suddenly and very sharply.

Google is not shy to do price hikes, suddenly and very sharply. In my many years as a heavy AWS customer, and in my more more limited experience with Azure I NEVER had similar problems with either.

Personally, was I affected by / a victim of Google twice:

  • I closely saw how much pain one of the price hikes in the references (Google Maps API) caused in an organization I was part of.
  • They recently (during 2021) DOUBLED the price upon renewal of a > 3.000 seat Google Apps installation. I wish I was exaggerating. The change did not make any difference for the organization, but it did leave me with a feeling similar to the one of being mugged.

This is not a new problem. Below you will find examples ranging from 2011 to 2020…

Exhibit 1: https://geoawesomeness.com/developers-up-in-arms-over-google-maps-api-insane-price-hike/ [ archive ]
Exhibit 2: https://www.informationweek.com/cloud/platform-as-a-service/google-app-engine-price-hike-stuns-developers-/d/d-id/1099933 [ archive ] ; https://www.infoq.com/news/2011/09/app-engine-price-hike/ [ archive ]
Exhibit 3: Google introducing a fee for what was previously free service. [ archive ] (Google Kubernetes Engine introduced a cluster management fee)

Put-a-brick-wall-in-front-of-your-face-style customer service when problems happen.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17431609 - Here is a company that found their cloud service suddenly disabled - with a full outage affecting all customers happening! - because Google payments incorrectly flagged their payment as a possible fraud. To make things nicer they received a threatening communication warning that if this was not resolved in 3 days everything (along with presumably their business) would be erased

While I had my share of trouble with other service providers, such a level of piss-poor customer service is unthinkable coming from serious cloud service providers.

Will Google Cloud even exist a decade from now?

Quote from: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/google-brass-set-2023-as-deadline-to-beat-amazon-microsoft-in-cloud [ archive ]

The clock is ticking for Google Cloud. The Google unit, which sells computing services to big companies, is under pressure from top management to pass Amazon or Microsoft-currently first and second, respectively, in cloud market share-or risk losing funding. While the company has invested heavily in the business since last year, Google wants its cloud group to outrank those of one or both of its two main rivals by 2023, said people with knowledge of the matter.

While this might or not be true, Google does have a strong reputation of wantonly killing products (see https://killedbygoogle.com/ [ archive ]). And even if Google Cloud continues to exist, nothing guarantees the particular service you depend upon will.

The discussion of this article under https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17431609 [ archive ] is also very interesting.

Closing Thoughts

I hope they change direction and we can have a 3rd serious Cloud competitor on the market… They definitely have the technical capabilities to pull this off - whether they will want to is another matter entirely.

<2021-04-24 Sat> Update - on Google Cloud usability

2 days ago I received a few quotes from a friend (6ed731). He is someone who has operated physical Datacenters in the past, knows the major players deeply in a technical capacity and is also experienced with Google Cloud…

What he said:

Based on my experience there, focusing on usability:

  • things in Google Cloud are generally just not intuitive, you must understand how they work because they change how a load balancer works, etc
  • everything is more complicated - an external balancer for instance works very differently from an internal load balancer,
  • the interfaces are so minimalist they induce errors. you will often find yourself forgetting which section you are editing for a given resource
  • great people are not very keen/not happy about working with google cloud, it might be a little bit harder to find talent
  • the documentation is not intuitive, it is twice the work finding stuff there
  • the project abstraction is much worse than creating separate AWS accounts

For people with a lot of experience, operating the AWS cloud is analog to operating a physical datacenter - everything works as it should, while Google reinvented everything in a more complex fashion …