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Google Espresso: A Shot at Amazon Cloud

Google details technology used to speed up cloud performance at the network edge.

Mitch Wagner

April 4, 2017

3 Min Read
Google Espresso: A Shot at Amazon Cloud

Seeking to grab market share from Amazon, Google on Tuesday gave the public a taste of Espresso, the software defined networking architecture it uses to improve performance at the edge of Google Cloud Platform.

Espresso optimizes the network path between cloud applications and client endpoints. Instead of using conventional Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Espresso dynamically routes data, reconfiguring the transport path based on changing network conditions, Google Fellow Amin Vahdat tells Light Reading.

"Let's say some router in the middle of the network breaks," Vahdat says. "Not on our network or even the customer's network. These conventional protocols take some time to take a new path. Connectivity on the Internet is very rich -- lots of ways to get from A to B. How do you pick your route?"

Figure 1:

He adds, "Standard protocols pick one route and stick with it. We are evaluating in real time how the options are behaving, and pick the best one."

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has been using Espresso internally for two years, both for its own products and for Google Cloud Platform.

The service is useful across all Internet applications, Vahdat says. Video and emerging Internet of Things applications require low latency, and cloud applications such as webmail and customer relationship management need to perform well to deliver on enterprise needs. But even conventional web pages require fast performance; people can detect even milliseconds of delays and may go elsewhere rather than wait.

Espresso routes 20% of Google's traffic to the Internet, according to a post on the Google blog by Vahdat and his colleagues.

Espresso is a follow-up to previous software-defined networking platforms from Google. These include Jupiter, a datacenter interconnect capable of supporting more than 100,000 servers and 1 petabyte per second of total bandwidth; B4 for data center interconnect; and Andromeda, a Network Function Virtualization (NFV) stack for Google-native applications, containers and virtual machines. (See Google's Andromeda Relieves Cloud Strain.)

Espresso helps speed connections with Internet service providers in 70 metros, comprising 25% of all Internet traffic, Google says.

Google is a challenger in public cloud, where Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) is the market leader. AWS accounts for 40% of the public cloud market, with Microsoft, Google and IBM combined taking just 23% market share, according to Synergy Research. (See AWS Maintains Its Public Cloud Dominance.)

But Google has been serious about building its enterprise cloud business, hiring VMware Inc. Founder Diane Greene to head up the Google Cloud Platform business unit in late 2015 and pursuing enterprise customers. Google sees itself as a guide on every step on the path of enterprise cloud migration, including cost-cutting, business transformation and leveraging technologies only practical in the cloud, such as AI, machine learning and big data analytics.

To find out how well Google is succeeding in its enterprise journey, read Enterprise Cloud News' special report: Google's Big Enterprise Cloud Bet (registration required, but it's easy and you only have to do it once to get access to this report and other membership benefits).

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— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Friend me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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