Google is upgrading its cloud platform with enhanced storage and data backup features, increased European datacenter support and lower prices.

Google Previews Durable Reduced Availability

Google is offering a limited preview of Durable Reduced Availability (DRA) storage, which lessens the availability of some storage in exchange for lower prices. Fewer redundant replicas of data are offered, but latency performance and durability of the storage are not affected. Google says this option is aimed at batch computing users who can reschedule their data backups. You can apply to participate in the limited preview of DRA.

Google is also releasing an experimental version of object versioning that allows users to maintain a history of all updates to an object to avoid accidental deletions or modifications. Object versioning is currently only supported by the XML API and changes are backwards-incompatible. And to improve data backup functionality, Google is introducing persistent disk snapshotting, which allows users to create disk backups they can move around Google data centers and use to start new virtual machines.

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Other changes to storage include a 20% reduction in standard Google Cloud Storage prices.

A Cheaper, Expanded Compute Engine

Google is also expanding the instances of its Compute Engine with 36 new instance types (joining the existing four) while reducing pricing by about 5%. New instances will include instances designed for high memory, high CPU (less memory required at a lower cost) and diskless configurations.

In addition, Google is expanding support for its European datacenters to allow users of Google App Engine, Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud SQL and in the near future Google Compute Engine to deploy applications, data and virtual machines to Google’s European datacenters.

Google Prepares for Cloud Maturity

Google’s upgrades to its cloud platform are its latest step in preparing for the maturity of the cloud as a standard enterprise storage platform. Last month, Google unveiled a new Cloud Platform Partner Program intended to provide partners with tools, training and resources. Setting up formal partner relationships with its Platform customers will help Google as cloud platforms mature into new and continuing relationships with outside developers and services, and as customers for other big players in this field, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure, increase their tie-ins with those platforms.

Google Takes on ‘Goliath’

Competing with Amazon Web Services, the “Goliath” of cloud computing, is the main objective of Google’s cloud platform upgrades according to gigaom. A gigaom posting points out that Google announced the new features and price cuts one day before the Amazon AWS: Reinvent conference began and also quotes a Google spokeswoman as saying DRA is “directly competitive with Amazon’s reduced redundancy storage.”

Gigaom concludes that “Google is serious about providing cloud infrastructure services for business users” but still the “underdog” in this area compared to Amazon, despite being the “kingpin” of Internet search. New services are the best way for mature, dominant companies to achieve growth, so look for more Google activity in the cloud space.