How Did Loop End Up Picking Google Cloud Platform As Our Cloud Computing Service Provider?

Building Loop
Aug 15, 2021
/
4 min read

Published by Melkis Espinal, Software Engineer

Context

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition of cloud computing states that:

"Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

As stated above, cloud computing must contain five equally important traits. These are:

  1. On-demand Self-Service: There should not be any human intervention when getting resources.
  2. Broad Network Access: Resources can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
  3. Resource Pooling: The provider shares resources to customers.
  4. Rapid Elasticity: Customers can get more resources quickly as needed.
  5. Measured Service: Customers pay only for what they consume.

Now that cloud computing has been properly defined, let's focus on how it is a game changer for startups like Loop.

Business Perspective

Environmental Responsibility

As disclosed by Google, the Google Infrastructure became Carbon Neutral in 2007. In 2017, Google became the first company of their size to match 100% of their global, annual electricity consumption with renewable energy. Most importantly, Google is currently moving towards decarbonizing their electricity supply completely and operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy, globally, by 2030.

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Figure 1: Google's energy journey. Source: https://sustainability.google/progress/energy/

Loop is deep-caring at its core, which is why it was formed as a B-Corp. Being mission-driven and giving back to the community is just part of Loop's DNA (and legal foundation). And what best way to give back to the community than by running Loop's IT infrastructure in a cloud computing provider that cares for our planet. Loop has a strong commitment in protecting our environment so that our people are also safe.

Budget

This section really applies to all cloud providers. But since Loop uses Google Cloud Platform (GCP), that will be the focus here.

Startups have a limited budget to work with and they must be careful when allocating such resources. Cloud computing is a no-brainer for startups since IT infrastructure costs are significantly low compared to having an on-premise data center.

These are some benefits of using GCP in terms of budget:

  1. No need to buy, configure, and maintain hardware to run the IT infrastructure since Google does this for you.
  2. Customers only pay for what they use (as mentioned in the cloud computing definition above, #5). This is very convenient because customers can rapidly scale the resources they need, without having to make a big upfront investment (that startups usually don't have).

Technical Perspective

Loop GCP Computing Architecture

For the most part, Loop has adopted the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Serverless Logic architectures in GCP.

  • PaaS bind application code you write to libraries that give access to the infrastructure your application needs. This way, you can exclusively focus on your application logic. With this architecture, you only pay for what you use and you can scale out very quickly and with no hassle. At Loop, App Engine is used as the GCP PaaS solution
  • Although PaaS can be considered serverless, you do have some sort of power when it comes to configuration. For example, you can set the scalability range of your application and other configurable parameters. But when it comes to a full micro-service architecture (where services are fine-grained and the customer gives up 100% of the server configuration, except for RAM allocation), Loop uses GCP Cloud Functions. This is great when you need to ingest a lot of messages and analyze or process that data as they come in. With Cloud Functions, Loop does not need to worry about scalability or server configuration since it is automatically done by Google

With these approaches, the Loop tech team can focus in writing applications rather than in configuring and managing servers, which is very beneficial at this stage and size of the company.

Google's Network

As mentioned in an article in Forbes, Google's network carries as much as 40% of the world's Internet traffic every day. Currently, this makes Google the largest network of its kind. Google's network has 100,000s of kilometers of fiber cables and as of June, 2021, Google has investments in 16 subsea cables.

In addition, as of the writing of this article, Google is available in 200+ countries and territories, has 146 network edge locations, 82 zones, and 27 cloud regions (source).

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Figure 2: Google's availability. Source: https://cloud.google.com/

At Loop, leveraging this networking power is a no-brainer. This will allow Loop to provide its customers a top-notch IT infrastructure with super fast response times and high availability at a global scale.

Petabyte-Scale Services

For context, a petabyte is equal to 1,000 terabytes and a terabyte is equal to 1,000 gigabytes.

GCP allows the ingestion, storing, and analysis of petabytes of data. This gives companies peace of mind knowing that scaling will not be a problem if needed. Here are some GCP services with their corresponding superpowers:

  • Pub/Sub: A messaging service that offers on-demand scalabilities to 1 million messages per second and beyond. This is all controlled by quotas, of course
  • BigQuery: A fully-managed data warehouse with petabyte-scale analytics capabilities
  • BigTable: A fully-managed big data database service. This is the same database that powers Google Analytics, Maps, Search, and Gmail. It also has petabyte-scale capabilities that can scale into billions of rows and thousands of columns

Security

Security is a topic that is in every company's mind. Rest assure that the data collected at Loop will be secured in Google Data Centers. Data in most of the services that GCP offers (e.g., Cloud Storage, Cloud BigTable, etc.) are encrypted at rest.

Google also helps companies with best practices, templates, products, and solutions related to Security.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

GCP services and data availabilities have an SLA to comply with, which are of enterprise-grade. This makes sure that data and services are accessible even when unpredictable events happen.

Conclusion

I hope that this article has helped you understand a bit more about why did Loop end up with GCP as their cloud computing service provider. GCP allows Loop, in part, to comply with its mission-driven business model. In addition, I hope that it was clear that in terms of availability and security, future Loop customers have nothing to worry about. Thanks for reading!

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