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Google Pursues Enterprise, Targets Windows and SQL Server Workloads

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Google recently announced increased support for Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server in the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Google now provides pre-configured images for Windows Server Core and SQL Server Enterprise Edition. In addition to SQL Server Enterprise Edition support, Google is also providing support for High-availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) scenarios through SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups and persistent disk snapshots integrated with Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) on Windows Server.

Google initially announced support for SQL Server Standard Edition back in August 2016 and now provides support for pre-configured Enterprise Edition images, in Beta, for:

  • SQL Server Enterprise 2016
  • SQL Server Enterprise 2014
  • SQL Server Enterprise 2012

For customers that implement these images, they will pay by the minute, similar to Microsoft Azure’s pricing model. Customers can also bring their own licenses (BYOL) where Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) contracts can be utilized.

For customers who may struggle with the idea of running a Microsoft SQL Server workload in another cloud, Chris Sells, a former program manager at Microsoft, now senior product manager at Google, offers the following:

In the Google world, we are much more open. At Google, instead of locking you into doing things a certain way, we try to be the best place to run your workloads. We also feel there are a bunch of things in our platform that are just better [Big Data and Machine Learning]. I think the Google Cloud Platform is a fabulous choice whether you are Linux developer or a Windows developer.

High Availability and Disaster Recovery

For customers interested in enterprise HA or DR capabilities, Google is supporting Windows Server Failover Clustering and SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups. Google has provided guidance on how customers can configure SQL Server Availability Groups, including using different isolated zones to provide fault tolerance.

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Backups and Snapshots

Microsoft provides the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), in the Windows Operating System, as a way to provide volume level snapshots while applications continue to write to disk volumes. These snapshots are read-only and point-in-time copies of the volume.

VSS is a Microsoft supported method of performing snapshots. Google provides support for VSS as it is a

Feature that is useful when you want to take a consistent backup for VSS-enabled applications like SQL Server and Exchange Server — without affecting the workload running on the VMs.

Administrators can create VSS snapshots using the Compute Engine admin console or through the gcloud SDK and API.

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Google is not leaving its investments in Microsoft technologies with just Windows Server and SQL Server. Google has also announced investments in supporting .NET applications by providing Google Compute Engine VMs with support for IIS and ASP.NET 4.x, Google service libraries in NuGet, Cloud Tools for Visual Studio, Cloud Tools for PowerShell and is currently working on providing support for ASP.NET Core.


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