Today's guest post comes from our friends at Tableau: Jeff Feng, Product Manager & Ellie Fields, Vice President of Product Marketing. Tableau, a Google Cloud Platform partner,  is a leader of interactive data visualization software.

“It’s a beautiful thing when best-of-breed technologies Tableau, Google BigQuery and Twitter come together to operate seamlessly in concert with one another.” - Jeff Feng

Next, a Google Cloud Platform Series
Over the month of June, the Tableau team traveled around the world with the Google Cloud Platform team as a proud sponsor of Next, a Google Cloud Platform event series. The teams made stops in New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, London, and Amsterdam where attendees learned about the latest services and features on the platform, and fellow developers and IT professionals shared how they are using Google Cloud Platform to move from idea to an application and/or decision quickly.
Ellie presented a joint demo on Twitter during the Data & Analytics Talk at Next, New York City (Left).  Jeff discussed the activity of Tweets around #GCPNext in Amsterdam (Right).

Visualizing Streamed Tweets with Tableau, Google BigQuery & Twitter
As a part of our presence at the events, we wanted to develop a live demo that highlighted and showcased our technologies. Google BigQuery has the ability to process petabytes of data within seconds and ingest data rapidly. Tableau’s live connectivity to BigQuery enables users to create stunning dashboards within minutes with our drag-and-drop interface, extending the usefulness of BigQuery to all users. For this demo, we decided to visualize  real-time Tweets from Twitter about the #GCPNext conference series.
Overall architecture for visualizing streamed Tweets in BigQuery using Tableau.

We worked together with our friends at Twitter (@TwitterDev) who developed an open-source connector called Twitter-for-BigQuery that streams Tweets directly into BigQuery.  Additionally, the connector can retrieve the last 30 days of data for the defined Tweet stream.  The APIs for the connector are provided by Gnip, which offers enterprise-grade access and filtering for the full Twitter stream. The connector enables users to define the filters for certain hashtags and usernames, and consequently streams tweets matching these filters in real time directly into BigQuery using the Tabledata.insertAll method. For the purposes of our demo, our Tweet stream included hashtags such as #bigdata, #IoT, and #GCPNext as well as usernames such as @Google.

Once the data lands in BigQuery’s tables, the data may be accessed using super-fast, SQL-like queries using the processing power of Google’s infrastructure. Google provides a console with a command line interface that’s great for analysts and developers who know how to write SQL. Tableau enhances the joint solution by providing a drag-and-drop visual interface to the data so that anybody can use it. Plus our live native connector to Google using the BigQuery REST API means a user can leverage our interface while optimized against Google’s massive infrastructure.  Additionally, Tableau and the Google BigQuery team have co-published a best practices whitepaper to help you maximize the value of our joint solution.

Using Tableau Desktop, we connected to the data and built the dashboard below, enabling users to search for keywords within the filtered Tweet stream. Then we published the live data connection to BigQuery and the dashboard to Tableau Online, our hosted analytics platform. Tableau Online is the perfect compliment to BigQuery because the solution is completely no-Ops and maintenance-free. It also supports a live connection to Google BigQuery.

Not only does the dashboard show the overall number of Tweets in the stream and the percentage occurrence of the keyword by date, but you can also visualize the actual Tweet itself by hovering over the marks in the scatter plot below.
Interactive Tableau Online dashboard visualizing live streamed Tweets in Google BigQuery.

In the video below, Ellie shares how you can interact with the Tableau Online visualization we created as well as build a new visualization using the live data connection to BigQuery directly from Tableau Online.
Demo video featuring Tableau Online visualizing live streamed Tweets in Google BigQuery.

What’s Up Next?
At Tableau, we believe that the future of data is in the cloud. We love how Google is innovating on cloud infrastructure and building the cloud services of tomorrow today. That’s why we recently announced a new named connector to Google Cloud SQL. The connector moves Google Cloud Platform and Tableau Online customers one step closer to being able to both host and analyze data completely in the cloud. This connector also compliments our existing native connectors to Google BigQuery and Google Analytics. In the future, we are committed to building broader and deeper integrations with Google to delight our users.

Try It For Yourself!
The beautiful thing about this demo is that the technologies used in the solution are easy to use. To learn more and try it for yourself, please see the following links below:

- Posted by Jeff Feng, Product Manager, and Ellie Fields, VP of Product Marketing, both at Tableau.

Do you want the power and flexibility of public cloud, but are concerned about losing control over data security? We can help. Security is at the core of Google’s architecture - we’ve spent years developing one of the world’s most advanced and secure infrastructures.  We’re committed to providing you great security, and giving you more control over how you manage security on Google Cloud Platform.

Today, we are adding Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys for Google Compute Engine in beta, which allow you to bring-your-own-keys to encrypt compute resources. Google Compute Engine already protects all customer data with industry-standard AES-256 bit encryption. Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys marries the hardened encryption framework built into Google’s infrastructure with encryption keys that are owned and controlled exclusively by you. You create and hold the keys, you determine when data is active or at rest, and absolutely no one inside or outside Google can access your at rest data without possession of your keys. Google does not retain your keys, and only holds them transiently in order to fulfill your request.

Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys are now available in beta in select countries. Starting today, you can access Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys through our API, our Developers Console, and our command-line interface, gcloud. This new functionality is currently rolling out to the Free Trial and will be available soon.

Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys provides you unprecedented control over encryption in the public cloud:

  • Secure: All of your compute assets are encrypted using the industry-leading AES-256 standard, and Google never retains your keys, meaning Google cannot decrypt your data at rest.
  • Comprehensive: Unlike many solutions, Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys cover all forms of data at rest for Compute Engine, including data volumes, boot disks, and SSDs.
  • Fast: Google Compute Engine is already encrypting all of your data at rest, and Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys gives you greater control, without additional overhead.
  • Included Free: We feel that encryption should be enabled by default for cloud services; we’re not going to charge you more for the option to bring your own keys.

"Google Compute Engine gives us the performance and scale to process high-volume transactions in the financial markets. With Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys, we can independently control data encryption for our clients without incurring additional expenses from integrating third-party encryption providers. This control is critical for us to realize the price/performance benefits of the cloud in a highly regulated industry."  
Neil Palmer, CTO of Sungard Consulting Services

Security is as much about control as it is about data protection. With Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys, we are giving you control over how your data is encrypted with Google Compute Engine. Keep in mind, though, if you lose your encryption keys, we won’t be able to help you recover your keys or your data - with great power comes great responsibility!  

Retain control while taking advantage of the cloud. Try Customer-Supplied Encryption Keys and let us know how it’s going on the Google Compute Engine forum. We love hearing from you.

- Posted by Leonard Law, Product Manager

At our NEXT events series this summer, I had an opportunity to talk with developers all over the world about what they’re struggling with, and one of the issues that’s always top of mind when evaluating cloud is cost. Not just list prices or discounts — what customers really want to understand is the long-term view of true cloud economics and the fiscal ramifications attached to the myriad of different ways you can build systems today. 
It turns out that even seasoned experts with years of infrastructure experience under their belts can often find the flexibility and performance/price ratio of cloud services extraordinarily difficult to compare to what they’re familiar with on-premise. There are a lot of very standard behaviors (capacity planning, supply chain management, real estate/facilities operations, decommissioning, etc) that are simply irrelevant in a cloud environment, and it can be difficult to recognize the degree to which unlearning these behaviors changes the game. 
My team has taken several approaches to help customers understand their costs in the cloud. What these efforts focus on is providing context and clarity. For example: Google Cloud Platform’s finely-grained, on-demand, pay-as-you-go, zero lock-in model is just different than other clouds, and helping customers understand those differences helps them make better choices. Or another: Google Cloud Platform provides cutting edge technology built on the incredible power of distributed software, machine learning, and fast, fast, fast gear, which delivers spectacular performance, and helping customers harness that performance for their applications is what my team is all about. We combine these two, a great model and great tech, at an outrageously low total cost of ownership; now that’s a design for success.
We’ve built an easy-to-use Pricing Calculator to help you estimate your monthly Google Cloud Platform bill and TCO tools for both compute and storage. We’ve also written several blog posts diving into specific examples where we can really compare and see how nuanced changes to implementations can make a big difference in TCO. And we’re not done: we’re continuing to update our pricing page and build tools that help customers optimize their systems for cost. Keep the feedback coming!
But our approach to price/performance goes well beyond just ensuring we have incredibly competitive list prices. We focus on delivering technical leadership in cloud economics, with innovations like automatic sustained use discounts, per-minute billing and flat-price preemptible VM’s.
I play sousaphone, so I suppose it’s not too surprising that from time to time I’ll toot my own horn, but we definitely know that third party validation of these facts is crucial for any wise business or technical decision maker.  Do not take all of your car advice from the Tesla engineer! 
Enterprise Strategy Group, an independent analyst firm with years of experience evaluating the price/performance of technology systems took a close look at the tools we’ve built and the statements we’ve made about TCO on Google Cloud Platform.   These aren’t easy things to evaluate, but they took a very painstaking, deliberate, systematic approach to digesting our service, and following their own modeling and assumption setting (TCO evaluations are as much an exercise in constructing a justified framework of assumptions as they are in doing the math) have delivered a whitepaper analysis of TCO for Google Cloud Platform. For clarity, we commissioned and paid ESG to do this analysis but the method of evaluation was decided by them.
Google Cloud Platform InstaGraphic June 2015.png
In many of the ways that we originally asserted our TCO advantage — and in a few new ones that ESG Lab has highlighted — this analysis validates our earlier work, which frankly is a big relief!  It’s always nice to have bright, inquisitive folks check your work and give you the two thumbs up. 
I encourage folks wrestling with understanding the complexities of cloud TCO to take a look at ESG Lab's work; I found it easy to understand, clear, and factually dense.  Let us know what you think, and what other kinds of comparisons and evaluations would be useful for your decision-making process.

- Miles Ward, Global Head of Solutions, Google Cloud Platform

As software engineers, you want to transform your ideas into product development as quickly as possible, and not be hindered by cumbersome infrastructure. That’s why Google Cloud Platform is designed to help developers build, test and deploy applications on Google’s highly-scalable and reliable infrastructure.

At Google, we understand that tasks like signing up for a trial, creating virtual machines, or even just launching a Wordpress application should be easy and readily available at your fingertips. Therefore, we rounded up our team of developer advocates and put together a how-to-guide on some of the most common tasks and questions asked by users who are starting on the Google Cloud Platform.

Conducted in the form of a step-by-step demonstration, we are pleased to invite you to join our webinar on Getting Started with Google Cloud Platform, available in 3 time zones to developers around the world.

Webinar: Getting Started with Google Cloud Platform
Duration : 30 minutes

1. Setting up your Google Cloud Platform Account
2. Using the Cloud Launcher to quickly deploy Wordpress
3. Using the pricing calculator to estimate pricing
4. Configuring Firewalls and Networks
5. How to setup a custom stack
6. Backups, Increasing Disk Capacity, and Upgrading Servers
7. Turning off the lights

We are hosting the same webinar content in the following time zones:

Tuesday, 28 July 2015
11:00 AM PT

Europe, Middle East and Africa
Wednesday, 29 July 2015
10:00 AM (UK), 11:00 AM (France), 12:00 PM (Israel)

Asia Pacific
Thursday, 30 July 2015
10:30AM (India), 1:00 PM (Singapore/Hong Kong), 3:00PM (Sydney, AEDT)

Also, if you want to follow along with Sandeep in your own Google Cloud Platform account, you can start your Free Trial here. It’s absolutely free, and gets you up and running immediately. We look forward to showing you what Google Cloud Platform can do for you.

The goal of Google Cloud Storage Nearline is to provide organizations with a simple, low-cost, fast-response storage service with quick data backup, retrieval and access. Given the increased amount of data produced by users, it's no surprise that organizations are becoming “data hoarders" as they can no longer afford to throw data away. Indeed, it’s critical for organizations to conduct analysis against this data to gain market intelligence and stay competitive.

When we first introduced Google Cloud Storage Nearline, it was widely recognized as the storage solution that eliminates the concept of cold storage. But we didn't stop there. To further improve users’ experience, Cloud Storage Nearline and Cloud Storage Transfer Service are going into general availability today with a 99% uptime SLA, on-demand I/O, lifecycle management and a broadly expanded partner ecosystem. In addition, to help you get a headstart and reduce the costs of your migration to Google Cloud Storage Nearline we’ve created the switch and save program.

  1. We’re introducing on-demand I/O to allow you to increase I/O in situations where you need to retrieve data from a Google Cloud Storage Nearline bucket faster than the provisioned 4 MB/s read throughput per TB of data stored. On-demand I/O delivers improved throughput when you need it and you only get charged for what you use. You now can access your data in seconds, while relying on predictable data recovery .During the first three months after launch, on-demand I/O will be offered at no additional charge.
  1. In addition, Cloud Storage Transfer Service (previously referred to as Online Cloud Import) is becoming generally available to all organizations, allowing you to easily import large amounts of online data from HTTP/HTTPS locations, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), into Google Cloud Storage to quickly and cost-effectively reduce your costs. You now will be able to configure one-time data migrations, as well as schedule recurring data transfers. Cloud Storage Transfer Service will also allow you to perform lifecycle management. Google Cloud Storage now offers you a way to simplify the lifecycle management of your objects, including automated archival to Cloud Storage Nearline and scheduled deletions.
  1. We are introducing our Switch and Save program with which you may receive 100PB of free storage in Cloud Storage Nearline for up to 6 months. As a new Google Cloud Platform customer, you will be able to switch from any other Cloud Service Provider or on-premises infrastructure and significantly reduce your storage costs. We’ve also created a TCO calculator to help you estimate your savings on Google Cloud Storage versus Amazon Web Services.
We know that changing your storage platforms and processes isn’t easy and only a strong partner ecosystem can make adopting Cloud Storage Nearline a seamless experience. This is why we have more than doubled the existing number of Cloud Storage Nearline partners since beta to help you take a new approach to data storage in your own environment. In addition to Veritas/Symantec, NetApp, Iron Mountain and Geminare, we have added 5 new partners:

Google Cloud Platform Premier Partners

Actifio lets you capture, manage, and use application data more quickly, efficiently, and simply than ever, across a whole range of business resiliency and agility use cases. Make enterprise data vaulting to Google Cloud Storage Nearline radically simple with Actifio's award-winning enterprise copy data virtualization platform.
Pixit Media connects users utilizing render resources hosted in Google Cloud to their on-premises storage without the need for specialized equipment at either end. In addition, existing Pixit Media PixStor users can use Google Cloud Storage for backup and archive of 'colder' data using Pixit's object plugins. Driven by PixStor policies that reduce backup and archive windows from days to minutes, data can be both protected and migrated in record time with minimal on-premise resources required.

Unitrends Free™ for Google Cloud Platform is free backup software that quickly deploys as a virtual appliance in VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments. Unitrends Free for Google Cloud Platform backs up your data locally and seamlessly integrates with Google Cloud Storage and Google Cloud Storage Nearline to create copies of your backups in the cloud.

Google Cloud Platform Partners

CloudBerry Backup is a cloud backup solution leveraging Google Cloud Storage Nearline. In addition to offering real-time and/or scheduled regular backups, encryption, local disk image, or bare metal restore, CloudBerry employs block level backup for maximum efficiency and provides alerting features to track each backup and restore plan remotely.
Filepicker helps over 60,000 applications integrate cloud drive sources with ease and simplicity.  Applications implementing Filepicker are now automatically integrated with Google Cloud Storage Nearline and enjoy the benefits of low cost and lifecycle management.

In addition to the partners we just listed, we have a growing ecosystem of global storage vendors that  have integrated with Google Cloud Storage and added support for Google Cloud Storage Nearline to enable users to optimize their disaster recovery and backup architectures.

Commvault’s Simpana platform provides simple, seamless and native support for Google Cloud Storage Nearline beginning with the release of Commvault Simpana version 10, service pack 11. Through Commvault’s single platform, customers can utilize Cloud Storage Nearline as a repository for data backup and archiving with full content awareness across all of the different storage platforms leveraged across an organization.
EMC NetWorker 8.2 with CloudBoost and EMC Avamar 7.1 with CloudBoost enable efficient and secure long-term retention of backup data using Google Cloud Storage Nearline, eliminating the need for tape and reducing capital expense.

EMC CloudArray makes cloud storage look, feel, and perform like local NAS or SAN storage, offering a cost-effective solution for organizations looking to keep inactive data accessible online. Both CloudBoost and CloudArray support all three tiers of Google Cloud Storage – Standard, DRA, and Nearline.
Egnyte enable customers to consolidate their file-sharing environments through secure access, centralized control and unified visibility integrating with Google Cloud Storage Nearline and Google Cloud Platform services. End users benefit from an optimized and unified user experience regardless of the application or device they choose.

Get Started
To try out Cloud Storage Nearline, visit our site and documentation. If you’re new to Google Cloud Platform, you should take advantage of our Switch and Save program to receive 100PB of free storage in Cloud Storage Nearline for up to 6 months. You can also visit our Cloud Storage Nearline partners’ page to discover our partners who integrated with our platform to extend its reach and functionality to help you get started faster.

- Posted by Avtandil Garakanidze, Product Manager