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As a Google Cloud Apps Admin, it's up to you to make sure that everything runs smoothly in your network of users. You're there to deploy new tools, access the latest systems, and explore the hidden depths of Google Cloud Platform. The question is, are you taking full advantage of this incredible environment, or have you missed one of the latest tools that could make your life easier?
Everything on GCP is designed from the ground-up to solve your problems. From Google's state-of-the-art Admin Console to their serverless computing framework that allows companies to deploy code without the pain of underlying infrastructure. Whatever you're building, coding, storing, or implementing, you can accomplish more with Google.
Here are some of the solutions that every Apps Admin needs to know about (if you don't already).
1. The Google Apps Admin Console
Starting with the foundation of the Ultimate Cloud strategy - and one of the best-known Google Cloud Admin Tools, the Admin Console is a hub for your productivity in the GCP. If you're a G-Suite administrator, you can use the console to manage everything you and your team relies on from Google, including G-Suite applications, mobile devices, billing, and even user access.
The Admin Console comes with access to a host of features. If you're just getting used to it for the first time, here's 10 things you need to know about:
- Users: Add and remove users, implement users into organizational units, and make other users administrators if you're looking for help managing your services.
- Company profile: Make changes to everything from your business time zone, to your language, name, and so much more. You can also put your company logo on the system.
- Apps: Manage settings for G-Suite services and apps, including Google Calendar and Gmail.
- Device management: Add and control mobile devices from your Google Cloud system.
- Billing: Implement new payment methods, print unique invoices, upgrade the G-Suite edition your team members use and cancel subscriptions.
- Support: Access Google-level support via phone, chat, search, email, and more for common issues.
- Data migration: Access all of the latest data and database migration tools available from Google, including Google Migrate.
- Reports: Generate numerous reports to understand how your users access their G-Suite services, Google apps and more.
- Groups, add and control company-wide groups, giving them everything they need for collaboration and communication.
- Domains: Verify an existing domain, add new domains, or implement additional domain aliases
2. The Google Cloud Shell
A GCP App Admin doesn't have to have developer knowledge to be successful. However, they should be able to navigate a wide range of resources in the cloud with ease. The Google Cloud Shell is a solution designed to make it easier for administrators to manage GCP projects without installing the developer-focused SDK. Cloud Shell runs on a temporary instance of the Cloud Compute engine so that you can run the gCloud command-line inside your web browser. When combined with your Google administration tools, the shell ensures that you can run and manage a variety of resources within your web browser.
The Google Cloud Shell means that even non-developers can have access to developer tools. Some of the features that you can expect include:
- Manage your GCP Admin resources with the flexibility of Linux shells with access to virtual machine instances in your web console. Built-in authorization is available for access to resources and projects hosted in the Google cloud.
- Keep Tools updated and installed: Your favorite Google command-line tools including Bash, Vim, and Emacs are already updated and pre-installed. Admin tools such as Kubernetes, MySQL and Docker are also configured and ready-to-go.
- Give your developers instant access to pre-configured tools to help with building and enhancing your applications. Python, Java, PHP, and other development tools are prepped within your environment. You can run all of your apps within the Cloud Shell instance and view them easily in your browser.
- Persistent disk storage: The Cloud Shell from Google comes with 5GB of persistent disk storage mounted as your $HOME directory for your virtual instance. Everything stored in your home directory will remain persistent between sessions.
- 3. Google Istio: Google Istio is a highly underrated solution in this list of Google Cloud Admin Tools. It's designed for forward-thinking administrators that want to run distributed microservices architectures. Although Istio is still very young, it comes with a host of fantastic features ideal for companies that are increasingly adopting new and agile cloud platforms.
As developers increasingly architect for portability through microservices, and operators struggle to manage distributed deployments across multi and hybrid cloud environments, Istio minimizes complexity. You can access Istio to secure, monitor, and connect your microservices. What's more, there's the option to manage authorization, authentication, and the encryption of communication between instances too. Features include:
- Istio Security features: Istio Auth ensures that services with sensitive data can be accessed from strongly authorized and authenticated clients. There are high-level authentication policies built-in to suit your needs, and mutual TLS authentication available too. Each service gets a robust and role-based identity to enable interoperability across clouds and clusters.
- Key management: Istio's crucial extensive management system is an excellent accompaniment to your Google administration tools. It automates certificate and key generation, rotation and distribution. There's also backend abstraction to insulate the rest of your Istio solution from the implementation details of your infrastructure. Istio Mixer comes with granular control over all interactions between the infrastructure and mesh backends.
- Low latency and high reliability: The Istio Mixer lives independently from the rest of your Google Cloud system so that it can use larger caches and buffers to minimize latency. What's more, you can expect high availability for each mixer instance. Local caches and buffers are excellent for reducing latency and masking infrastructure failures in the backend.
- Decouple infrastructure scaling and traffic management: By decoupling infrastructure scaling and traffic management, administrators can access features outside of the application code, such as dynamic routing for A/B testing, canary releases, gradual rollouts, and more. There's also failure recovery with retries, timeouts, breakers, and fault injections.
4. Google Cloud Configuration Management
All GCP Apps Admin professionals need an insight into the way tools and applications are configured in their workplace. To help with this. Google offers DevOps and Admin leaders the Configuration Management tool. Designed to automate the deployment, compliance, and architecture of your servers, the Configuration management tool makes it easier to track everything that's going on within your enterprise, with a little extra help from your development team.
Your developer experts can implement and manage the configuration of your system by creating automated codes that monitor everything from resource usage, to repair needs, versioning, and more. You can even set up policies to automatically push out changes and updates to the other Google Cloud Admin tools you use.
As part of your network of Google Administration Tools, the configuration management system allows you to:
- Collaborate on and implement business-wide changes with your team: Make the most of your application development strategy with codified system configurations. Developers and operators can work together on improvements before the app rolls out to the rest of the workforce. Configuration management also means that you can conduct code reviews with speed, develop enhanced CI/CD pipelines and eliminate mistakes via rollbacks.
- Leverage community resources: To make managing your digitally transformed workforce a little easier, Google Cloud Admin Tools also come with access to community support. You can learn from the insights of knowledgeable operators and developers already reliant on the GCP and access their open-source tools to manage configurations. There are also options to access Google Curated playbooks, cookbooks, puppet modules and more.
- Integrate with Existing Infrastructure and Tools: Administrators and developers can use Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and other configuration management tools on the GCP. In-depth integrations make it easy to consume existing playbooks in the digital environment, manifest solutions on GCP and more. Your on-premise solution should be able to work naturally with the GCP without any issues.
5. GCP Secrets Management
Let's face it; the average App administrator has a fair few secrets to keep track of. You'll need to make sure that when you're managing all of the applications in your business network, the right people are getting access to the correct tools. Secrets Management is a tool for improving security within your organization. You can use the solution to secure, encrypt, and manage secrets through the Google Cloud. If you need peace of mind alongside your app administration efforts, then you'll appreciate the functionality of the secrets management service. Features include:
- Leverage your favorite tools: Along with Cloud HSM and Cloud Key Management services, Google has a team of engineers that are dedicated to making sure that open-source security tools are all equipped GCP support. With well-supported community tooling included in GCP, DevSecOps and DevOps solutions are easier to adopt.
- Share and Collaborate: Use the Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) on the Google cloud to share access to secrets, encryption keys, and other tools.
- Access multi-cloud: If your administration strategy involves accessing a multi-cloud environment, then you can turn the Google cloud into your control panel for secret management. You can also maintain access of your service from other private and public clouds, revoking access and granting it whenever necessary.
Like most Google administration tools and DevOps solutions, the Google Secrets Management service is built according to best practices by a team of security experts. There are even best practice recommendations built-in so you can spend less time on issues like cipher suites, and more time building new services and applications.
6. Serverless Computing
Finally, give your developers the freedom to write and deploy code at their leisure, without having to worry about managing all the infrastructure that's embedded underneath. If you want to make sure that you can take your applications to the next level, without excessive administration or developmental work, Google Serverless computing is ideal for you. The system enhances both developer and administrator productivity by keeping you focused on the creation of great applications and productive workforces.
Google's Serverless computing solution comes with zero server management, no need for any upfront provisioning, auto-scaling solutions to meet with your individual traffic demands, and more. Google believes that serverless benefits should be available to any computing network. With a fully-managed end-to-end serverless platform, you can access everything from:
- The fully-managed, horizontally scalable cloud Firestore for mobile and web
- The Google Compute App Engine for scalable web and mobile apps
- Cloud Functions to easily connect and extent your cloud services
- Cloud storage designed for durability and security
- Data warehousing via BigQuery for analytics that scale with your company
- Cloud DataFlow for batch and stream data processing you can rely on
- Cloud Pub/Sub to inject event streams wherever you are
- Cloud Machine Learning Engine to build incredible AI models on the go
Unlocking the Possibilities of Google Cloud Admin Tools
As a GCP App admin, you don't have to restrict yourself to just the functionality you can find on the Administrator Console. Experiment with your developers on Istio, explore the opportunities of Serverless computing and manage better security with Google Secrets. The options are endless.
No two businesses are ever the same, and the activities that an Application administrator commits to each day are constantly evolving. Taking some time out to explore some of the functionalities of the Google Cloud that relate to your administration position is a great way to make sure that you're prepared for both now, and the future.
Google Administration Tools are growing bigger and better by the day. With the Google Cloud Next Event just around the corner, we may even see the emergence of a range of new solutions for forward-thinking administrators too.
To learn more about app administrations, and the Google Cloud Platform, browse through the blogs on Cool Head Tech, or contact us today!