Google Clouds Amazon's Advantage

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Amazon ( AMZN) may be feeling a bit more defensive of its cloud business now that Google ( GOOG) has released its Google Compute Engine to the masses.

The key areas where Google can attack Amazon are performance consistency, boot times and its pricing model. Amazon should be able to fight back on all these fronts because the company has a huge lead - by years - over Google on services breadth and eco-systems, but that doesn't translate into complacency when it comes to protecting its flagship EC2 service.

"Regardless of what else AWS Amazon Web Services brings to the table, they have to have a robust compute offering," said James Staten, principal analyst at Forrester. "This is what Google is questioning and so it will cause some doubling down by AWS on this service."

Google is clearly garnering a lot of attention from cloud developers and cloud native companies, given the company's size and strong credibility around its cloud services. However, it remains unclear whether Google views Google Compute Engine as anywhere near as critical to Google's success as Amazon views EC2. "They are a search and advertising company first and foremost," Staten said. "Most of this will be kicking the tires to determine if there are clear advantages to GCE. So it's a bit of wait and see at this point."

Rackspace Hosting ( RAX) will also be watching this rivalry closely given that the company's revenues have been trailing forecasts partly driven by Amazon's aggressive price-cutting. Google's cloud endeavors present a greater threat towards Amazon, which is also a pure play, rather than Rackspace, which offers a mix of managed services, traditional hosting and colocation.

"Rackspace is a managed services company first and foremost," said Staten. "For Rackspace, they're best off not acknowledging Google at this point and instead continuing to talk hybrid cloud and openness."

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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