University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Google Cloud Platform service comes to campus

In August, the UW–‍Madison DoIT Cloud Services and Research Cyberinfrastructure teams quietly rolled out a new service, Google Cloud Platform (GCP). GCP is a set of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses for many of its applications. Those services include computing, data storage, data analytics and machine learning, as well as management tools.

Why GCP?

With cloud services like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure already offered on campus, why add GCP? 

Research Cyberinfrastructure member Chris Lalande:

GCP has some strengths that motivated us to include it in the portfolio of IaaS Cloud offerings…  

  • GCP is on track to become the first UW supported cloud provider that is eligible for HIPAA workloads, pending review and signing of the risk letter
  • It has strengths in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, which we are seeing some significant interest in among researchers.   
  • It has strong Genetics & Biomedical data focused offerings.   

The primary difference is that the GCP platform grew out of tooling and enhancements driven by software developers, while AWS and Azure have more operations focused roots, so it can be particularly effective for those looking to develop innovative solutions to problems.

Advantages to UW–‍Madison’s GCP Implementation

UW–‍Madison faculty and staff with current GCP implementations of their own, or those considering one may want to know the advantages of using the UW–‍Madison implementation of GCP:

  1. Cost and Potential Discounts. While a final price model for GCP is under development, services provided through UW contracts are generally available at or below commercial rates.
  2. Support. Accounts created through the central Cloud request process have access to the DoIT Cloud Team via email, office hours, and in-person/video consultation by appointment, in collaboration with your departmental IT colleagues.
  3. Security. Accounts created through the central Cloud request process offer NetID authentication capabilities and an initial configuration that meets baseline Center for Internet Security benchmarks.
  4. Potential Liability. Accounts created through the central Cloud request process are protected under the enterprise UW agreement, relieving individuals who aren’t empowered to sign contracts on behalf of the UW of the individual responsibility they’d otherwise assume.  See Can I sign this agreement for more details about this issue. 
  5. Cost Management. Cost controls like billing alerts and access to the CloudCheckr cost management tool are available to accounts created through the central Cloud request process. The Public Cloud team can also advise and consult on how to best control your costs. (GCP – Tracking Costs Associated with GCP Projects)

Learn More

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is supported by UW Cloud Services, a CIO-sponsored initiative to deliver public cloud computing services to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and departments. These offerings focus on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) in the form of AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. To learn more about GCP and to request an account, visit the Google Cloud Platform page.