Why doesn’t Google use its own cloud?

Credit: Matt Kapko

AWS is the leader in the space and announced that as of late 2010, Amazon.com was running 100% on AWS. It also runs many of its other products, such as Alexa, through AWS and it’s clear that AWS is a core part of how Amazon runs its entire business.

Microsoft is also making use of Azure for its key products. Office 365 uses the Azure Directory Service and Xbox Live runs off Azure. Skype is also running its backend on Azure. This has been proven from past Azure outages that also affected key Microsoft services!

Google seems different. It makes many statements that when you’re using Google Cloud Platform you’re building on top of Google’s infrastructure. This is technically correct because you are using Google’s data centers and networking. However, no Google products actually run on Google Cloud Platform.

The underlying technology is similar (or the same), but what you are buying when you purchase cloud services from Google Cloud is productized, separated versions of the technologies Google uses internally. While Amazon.com runs on AWS EC2, Google Search is not running off Compute Engine.

This is a key difference, as recent outages have shown. You know that when Azure has a problem and it takes Skype and Xbox live offline, that has a major impact on different Microsoft business units. The same can be said of AWS outages affecting Amazon.com – there’s a big incentive to fix the problem! However, when Google had its recent 12-hour outage that took Snapchat offline, it didn’t impact any of Google’s real revenue-generating services. Google Cloud Platform likely produces an insignificant amount of revenue compared to Adwords. What would the impact have been if Google Search was down for 12 hours?

Why is using your own products so important? Does this “dog fooding” actually matter? My latest InfoWorld blog post goes into more detail.