Google Cloud Platform

Readers’ choice: Top Google Cloud Platform stories of 2018

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We’re wrapping up a busy year here at Google Cloud. As you head into a new year, take a minute to catch up on what happened in 2018—and get some ideas about what you might do in 2019. Here’s what was most popular this year on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) blog, based on readership, and organized generally by key areas of cloud.

Building the right cloud infrastructure for your business

The many ways to build a cloud infrastructure keep expanding. Container tools like Kubernetes continued to grow in popularity, and we started to learn more about serverless computing possibilities.

On the container front, this year brought news of the gVisor sandbox for secure container isolation, so you can run a bigger variety of workloads. Plus, Jib came out this year: It’s an open-source Java containerizer, so you can build containers using familiar Java tools.

And at Next ‘18 we announced the Cloud Services Platform, a consistent development framework for your IT resources that gathers together cloud services to automate away tasks across on-prem and cloud infrastructure. The beta release of GPUs attached to preemptible VMs also came this year, making it more affordable to run large-scale ML workloads. And Cloud TPU hardware accelerators arrived (and continued to mature) to speed up and scale ML workloads programmed with TensorFlow.

Developing cloud apps on that infrastructure

Along with solid cloud foundations, cloud app development made strides in 2018.

News of support for headless Chrome for Google Cloud Functions and Cloud Functions for Firebase got attention. And the newly revamped Cloud Source Repositories made a splash—it’s powered by the same underlying code search infrastructure that Google engineers use every day.

Now that you’ve found cloud, what are you gonna do with it?

Cloud technology infrastructure really started to mature this year, especially for emerging use cases like machine learning (ML) that need powerful back-end tools.

News of the Ethereum cryptocurrency dataset on BigQuery was a hit; it’s publicly available to use for analysis. A partnership with NASA’s Frontier Development Lab brought in Google Cloud to work on simulating and classifying the possible atmospheres of exoplanets.

Also popular on the blog this year: We added a PyTorch 1.0 Preview VM image to GCP so you can easily conduct deep learning experimentation with the newest PyTorch framework. Cloud Text-to-Speech made Google’s internal technology, powered by DeepMind, available for uses like call center responses, IoT device speech, and converting text into audio format.

And don’t forget the fun that’s powered by cloud, too. A post on the new open-source Agones project got a lot of attention; Agones uses Kubernetes to host and scale dedicated game servers. OpenMatch arrived this year too—this open source project lets game developers bring their own logic to a common matchmaking framework when building multiplayer games.

Building the future cloud IT team

Cloud technology hasn’t just changed IT infrastructure; it’s changed IT teams and processes as well. Concepts like site reliability engineering (SRE) bring some new ways of thinking about structuring these processes.

This popular SRE vs. DevOps blog post laid out the details of how SRE is similar and different from DevOps and describes its availability targets, risk and error budgets, toil budgets and more. Then, there was the Accelerate: State of DevOps 2018 research report, with lots of takeaways based on survey results from DevOps professionals.

Managing the modern cloud

Some essential cloud management basics also stuck out among all the future-oriented, big-idea projects that got attention this year.

The guide to best practices for user account authorization was a useful read for anyone creating, handling and authenticating GCP user accounts. Choosing strong database consistency also struck a chord, with details on why and how it’s important, with a particular focus on Cloud Spanner. Titan Security Keys became available in the Google Store this year. These FIDO security keys include a hardware chip with Google-engineered firmware for strong two-factor authentication.

That’s a wrap for 2018! We’re looking forward to seeing what you build (and read) next.