Cloud Network Service Tiers Overview

With Network Service Tiers, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) enables you to optimize your cloud network for performance by choosing Premium Tier or for cost with the new Standard Tier. See Using Network Service Tiers for configuration instructions.

Premium Tier Standard Tier
  1. High performance routing (Google's network)
  2. Unique to Google Cloud
  3. High performance, global SLA
  4. Global Load Balancing, Cloud CDN
  5. Performance is main consideration
  1. Lower price and performance than Premium
  2. Comparable to other public cloud offerings
  3. Lower performance, no global SLA
  4. Regional Load Balancing
  5. Cost is main consideration

Premium and Standard Tier optimize for different use cases.

  • Premium Tier delivers traffic on Google’s global network with unparalleled quality. If you use Google Cloud today, then you already use the powerful Premium Tier.
  • Standard Tier offers an attractively priced network with performance comparable to that of other major public clouds.

Use Cases

Here are real world customer use cases and how they map to network service tiers:

Network Service Tier use cases (click to enlarge)
Network Service Tier use cases (click to enlarge)

Premium Tier is the default tier and should be used for applications that require high performance and availability and are delivered across the globe.

Standard tier is typically useful when:

  • You want a lower priced option for workloads that are not latency or performance sensitive.
  • You need network service level comparable in price and performance to other major public clouds.
  • You are cost constrained and your deployment is only in a single region.

Premium Tier

Premium Tier delivers traffic over Google’s well-provisioned, low latency, highly reliable global network. This network consists of an extensive global private fiber network with over 100 points of presence (POPs) across the globe. By these measures, Google’s network is the largest of all public cloud providers.

Premium outbound and inbound traffic delivery (click to enlarge)
Premium outbound and inbound traffic delivery (click to enlarge)

In Premium Tier, inbound traffic from your end user to your application in Google Cloud enters Google’s private, high performance network at the POP closest to your end user, and GCP delivers this traffic to your application over this network. Similarly, GCP delivers outbound traffic from your application to end users on Google’s network and exits at the POP closest to them, wherever the end users are across the globe. Which means that most of this traffic will reach its destination with a single hop to the end user’s ISP, so it enjoys minimum congestion and maximum performance.

Standard Tier

Standard Tier is a new lower-cost offering. This tier provides network quality that is comparable to other public cloud providers (but lower than Premium Tier) and regional network services such as Regional Load Load Balancing with one VIP per region.

Standard outbound and inbound traffic delivery (click to enlarge)
Standard outbound and inbound traffic delivery (click to enlarge)

Standard tier is priced lower than Premium because your traffic between GCP and your end-user (Internet) is delivered over transit (ISP) networks instead of Google’s network.

Standard Tier availability

Premium Tier Standard Tier
Plain VM instance Yes - Global Yes - Regional
HTTP(S) Load Balancing Yes - Global Yes - Regional
TCP/SSL Proxy Load Balancing (non-HTTP traffic) Yes - Global Yes - Regional
Network and Internal Load Balancing Yes - Regional IP
(client can be anywhere)
Yes - Regional IP
(client needs to be in same region)
Google Cloud Storage, Google Kubernetes Engine Yes Yes - Regional, but only via load balancing
Cloud CDN Yes No

For the beta launch, Standard Tier is initially available for configuration in the us-central1, us-east1, and europe-west1 regions only.

Network redundancy in Network Service Tiers

The performance and reliability characteristics of Premium and Standard tiers are different.

Premium Tier uses Google’s network for routing packets and the Google network is capacity planned to tolerate multiple failures so that packets will continue to flow between any pair of locations even under large disruptive events. For customers with users in multiple parts of the world who monetize their traffic well, the extra reliability and performance of the Premium Tier can provide the confidence of uninterrupted operation.

Standard Network only leverages the double redundancy of Google’s network on the short hop between datacenter and Peering Metro. Once the packets exit Google’s network then the availability and performance the customer is expected to experience is that of the transit provider carrying their traffic to its final destination.

Cloud Load Balancing in Premium vs. Standard Tier

A load balancer configured with Premium Tier will globally advertise a single anycast IP from all of Google’s entry points around the world and traffic coming to that IP would enter Google’s network closest to the user and ride Google’s backbone to the region in which the instances serving the request are located.

For HTTP(S) LB and TCP/SSL proxy, one important performance benefit of the Premium Tier is that your client’s TCP connections will be terminated close to the user at the edge of our network.

Premium edge delivery (click to enlarge)
Premium edge delivery (click to enlarge)

Google Global Load Balancing reduces latency for users by:

  • Terminating user connections close to users at the POP closest to them
  • Delivering proxied traffic from LB to backend over Google’s high performance backbone
  • Re-using LB to backend instance connections
  • Serving cacheable content from the edge (via Cloud CDN)

Premium Tier provides Global Load Balancing. You not only get the management simplicity of a single anycast IPv4 or IPv6 IP, but can also expand seamlessly across regions, and overflow or fail to other regions as well.

Load balancing with single global IP (click to enlarge)
Load balancing with single global IP (click to enlarge)

We provide only regional Cloud Load Balancing in Standard tier. In this tier, your Load Balancing Virtual IP (VIP) will be regional, similar to load balancing from other major public cloud providers, and will add management complexity compared to Premium Tier Global Load Balancing, if you require multi-region deployment.

Load balancing with IP per region (click to enlarge)
Load balancing with IP per region (click to enlarge)

A load balancer configured for Standard Tier advertises a regional IP from only the region the load balancer is configured in and all backends for that load balancer must exist in the same region as the load balancer itself. Traffic to that load balancer Standard Tier IP will traverse the Internet until it comes to a transit peering point at the region the load balancer is located in, and then enter Google’s network. TCP termination will occur at that region closest to the load balancer, and potentially far away from the client.

Choosing Premium or Standard Tier

Choosing a tier (click to enlarge)
Choosing a tier (click to enlarge)

If you are unsure of which tier is right for you, we recommend that you default to Premium Tier. In fact, the configuration defaults to Premium Tier so no specification is needed from your end if you want to use the Premium network tier.

You also have the option of using both tiers where you can run your high-value workloads using Premium network tier and the remaining workloads using Standard network tier.

Configuring Premium or Standard Tier

You can enable Standard Tier for instances and load balancers by configuring the tier at the resource level:

  • Resource-level (Default: Premium Tier)

    • Load Balancing: Enable for a forwarding rule
    • Instance: Enable for a VM or instance template
    • If you need to enable Standard Tier for Google Cloud Storage, you will need to configure HTTP(S) Load Balancing with a backend bucket and then enable the tier on the load balancer forwarding rule

You can also configure the network tier at the project level in addition to the resource-level.

Tier configuration level (click to enlarge)
Tier configuration level (click to enlarge)
  • Project-level (Default: Premium Tier)

    • Specify tier at the project level
  • Resource-level (Default: Premium Tier)

    • Load Balancing: Enable for a forwarding rule
    • Instance: Enable for a VM or instance template
    • Other resource-level knobs in the future

The final tier for a resource is determined as follows:

  • If a tier is configured for either a resource or the project in which the resource resides, then that tier applies to the resource.

  • If tiers are configured for both the project and the resource, then the resource-level tier takes precedence for that resource.

Enabling Standard Tier for Google Cloud Storage

For the Network Service Tiers beta release, you must configure your storage bucket as the backend of the cloud load balancer to enable Standard Tier for it. The cloud storage bucket must be in the same region as the forwarding rule. If they are in different regions, requests to the bucket produce an error. Multi-regional cloud storage buckets are not supported with Standard Tier.

Google Cloud Storage and load balancing (click to enlarge)
Google Cloud Storage and load balancing (click to enlarge)

Upgrading resource from Standard to Premium Tier

We designate separate pools of public, external IP addresses for Premium and Standard Tier. Each pool is a separate contiguous range of IPs.

When an IP address is configured for an instance or load balancer, it is allocated from either of these two pools based on the Network Service Tier in effect for that resource.

Two separate pools for Premium and Network Service Tiers entail the following:

  • if you want to change the IP address of an instance or forwarding rule IP of a load balancer from Premium Tier to Standard Tier (or vice versa), you need to create new instance or load balancer with a different IP and then switch to using the new resource.
  • An IP from one pool cannot be moved to the other pool.
  • IP addresses in the Standard tier in one region can not be moved to another region even if the tier remains the same.

Configuring Standard Tier for load balancing

Configuring Standard Tier for TCP/UDP Network Load Balancing

To configure a network load balancer to use the Standard Tier, specify the Standard Tier when creating the address and forwarding rule for the load balancer.

If you want to change an existing load balancer from Premium Tier (the default) to Standard Tier, or vice versa, you must delete the existing load balancer forwarding rule, then create a new one that points to the existing target pool. You must also use a Standard Tier address with the Standard Tier forwarding rule.

Configuring Standard Tier for HTTP(S) LB and TCP/SSL Proxy

If you do not specify a network tier, your load balancer defaults to using the Premium Tier. All load balancers which existed prior to the introduction of Network Service Tiers use the Premium Tier. The Premium Tier enables global load balancing, where a single IP address can point to backends in regions around the world. The Standard Tier is a regional service only. In order to use the Standard Tier, your load balancer must meet the following criteria:

  • it must use a Standard Tier regional IP address
  • it must use a Standard Tier regional forwarding rule
  • it can have backends in the region that contains the forwarding rule only.
Premium Tier global load balancer (click to enlarge)
Premium Tier global load balancer (click to enlarge)

Setting up Standard Tier for your load balancer:

Standard Tier regional load balancer (click to enlarge)
Standard Tier regional load balancer (click to enlarge)

When creating a regional address resource in the Standard Tier, you must specify the network tier of the regional external IP as Standard. Once the network tier is set to Standard, it cannot be updated to Premium. To change a load balancer to Premium Tier, you must reserve a new Premium Tier address.

If you want to change an existing load balancer from Premium Tier (the default) to Standard Tier, you must do the following:

  1. Remove any backends that are in regions other than the one that will contain your forwarding rule the existing load balancer
  2. Delete the existing forwarding rule and address, then create new Standard Tier regional ones that points to the existing target proxy.

Upgrading large volumes of traffic from Standard to Premium tier

It is important to correctly identify and use the tier that best suits your requirements.

Here are two important restrictions you should factor into your selection:

  • You cannot use Premium networking as a backup for Standard. If, during an outage for Standard networking (e.g., due to a fiber cut), you reclassify your traffic as Premium, it will be treated as Standard for the duration of the outage.
  • If you plan on moving significant amounts of traffic (>5Gbps) from Standard to Premium independent of an outage, you will need to contact your account manager.

Premium and Standard Tiers Recap

Premium Standard
Use Case Performance optimized
Global Network
Global Network Services
Cost optimized
Regional Network
Regional Network Services
Network Routing Inbound: Traffic across the globe enters Google's Global network at a location near your user.

Outbound: cold potato
Your traffic rides Google's high quality global backbone network to egress at Google's global edge POP closest to your user.
Inbound: Traffic enters Google's network via peering or transit only in the region you have deployed the destination GCP resources in.

Outbound: hot potato
Traffic is sent to the internet via peering or transit that is local to the Cloud region where the traffic originates.

Network SLA 99.95% Global. Any region in the world is accessible with that availability. 99.95% Regional: Only the region in which the datacenter is located has a 99.95% SLA.

No Global SLA
Network Services HTTP(S) Load Balancing
  • Global
  • Global Anycast - single IP used globally
  • Terminate TCP close to the user across the globe
  • Regional (new)
  • Requires DNS Load Balancing to support multi-region (1 LB IP per region)
  • Terminate TCP in the region the traffic is sent to
TCP/SSL Proxy
  • Global
  • Global Anycast - single IP used globally
  • Terminate TCP close to the user across the globe
  • Regional (new)
  • Requires DNS Load Balancing to support multi-region (1 LB IP per region)
  • Terminate TCP in the region the traffic is sent to
Network TCP/UDP LB
  • Regional Network LB + Premium Tier
  • Regional Network LB + Standard Tier (new)
Internal TCP/UDP Load Balancing Regional No Standard Tier available for Internal LB
CDN Only Premium Tier No Standard tier available for Cloud CDN
Pricing $/GB based on usage


Premium costs more than Standard

Pricing details

$/GB based on usage


Standard is priced lower than Premium

Pricing details

FAQ

Q. Which Network Tier does Google recommend using for my network services on GCP?

We recommend the Premium Tier so you can deliver your services on Google's high-quality network and leverage premium cloud network services such as Global Load Balancing and Cloud CDN. If you do not explicitly select a Network Tier, you will use Premium Tier by default.

Q. How can I switch from Standard Tier back to Premium Tier for my load balancer?

You should first create a new Load Balancer forwarding rule using a Premium Tier IP. You can then use DNS to slowly migrate traffic from your current Standard Tier IP(s) to the new Premium Tier IP. Once the migration is complete, you can release the Standard Tier IP(s) and the regional Load Balancer(s) associated with them. You do not need to change your backends since you can have multiple Load Balancers pointing to the same backends.

Q. What are the relative costs of using Premium Tier vs. Standard Tier?

Standard tier is priced lower than Premium Tier for $/GB. Review pricing details here.

Q. Which regions is Network Service Tiers beta available in?

Standard network tier is being launched in regions in a phased manner for beta.

Standard Tier is currently available in:

  • us-central1
  • us-east1
  • europe-west1

Q. You have launched Premium and Standard tiers. Will there be additional tiers in the future?

We will keep you updated if we decide to launch additional tiers.

Q. I want to test the performance of Premium and Standard. Which configuration do you recommend testing with?

For beta and beyond, you can test performance with any configuration.

Q. Can I apply Standard Tier to RFC 1918 traffic?

Standard Tier can be enabled only for Internet-facing traffic and public IPs. It is not possible to select Standard Tier for traffic internal to Google Cloud Platform. All RFC 1918 traffic between VMs always uses the Premium Tier.

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