First off, we haven't tested Google IaaS and would be interested to know how you get on. However, we've been using IaaS services for over 5 years now, albeit building our own VMs with FM Server or Citrix/RemoteApp on top of these. We originally chose Amazon Web Services, moved to Rackspace and are currently happy customers with a UK based company Hyve.
Our experience with the 3 really can be summarised by a single word: 'support'. We offer worldwide FileMaker access streaming FileMaker over Citrix/RemoteApp and when all is going well then all 3 IaaS suppliers have been fine. We have carried out speed tests between them and there are variations, our current Hyve supplier's infrastructure is significantly quicker than Amazon's for instance.
When things are not going well, we found the response from both Rackspace and Hyve excellent. With both having UK based offices we were able to have phone support as well as online support. On those very rare occasions where there was a major infrastructure problem (and they do happen!) we were able to keep our customers up to date as to what the problem was and what was being done to rectify it. An informed customer is a much nicer person to deal with than a customer left in the dark.
Hyve provide a fully managed service and will help with the actual VMs, whereas Rackspace and Amazon tend to leave all of the to you. However, as our setups are so bespoke, that hasn't really been an issue.
Our main problem with Amazon WS was this lack of personal communication, which we'd expect Google to be similar to. The only way to communicate with them was to fill in a web form and, invariably, we got very little feedback until any problems had been resolved. The lack of the personal touch was also the reason we left Rackspace as they grew, albeit their online support was still very good.
The other main difference between our current supplier and the previous ones is that we're on a fixed cost, whereas AWS and Rackspace included additional variable charges for storage and network traffic. Do keep an eye out for these with Google, as the hidden costs can significantly increase the monthly spend.
All 3 of our IaaS suppliers offer firewall configuration that can also help with security.
You mentioned that you've not setup backup. Other than the internal backups we also tend to push our data out to another IaaS, say for instance AWS S3 or even Dropbox (running as a service on the servers). If you're using a lot of file storage in containers within FileMaker and run multiple backup schedules, watch out for the repetition of the container storage folders that again can lead to increase costs.
I hope your investigations continue positively and look forward to hearing more in the future.
Points noted. Support is the thing testing doesn't reveal! So I shall have to see. The firewall setup is comprehensive at google. It actually tripped me up as I had to allow the FMS ports in google as well as MS Server.
Yup, we were exactly the same when we started on AWS, but the firewalls are a good option to have rather than just relying on the Windows firewall.
One thing we have to do, which I suspect you won't: As we're connecting FileMaker Pro servers (Citrix/RemoteApp) to our FileMaker Server Servers within the infrastructure (and of course 2 machine FMS deployment), the Hyve network uses VLANs internally and not external IP numbers. Therefore if we need to say, link an FMS Master to an FMS WebDirect worker server, we have to use internal IP addresses, not the public IP addresses.
With SSL we need to use the fully qualified domain name rather than IP addresses, therefore we have to edit the hosts file on each server and make an entry for each machine we need to connect. Might be worth tucking in to the back of your mind in case anything like this creeps up.
So my google cloud trial is over. It didn't get a major work out. It was used mainly for a web direct demo and performance seemed snappy.
The theoretical bill in AUD would have been something like $120 AUD for the google n1 high mem 2 ( 2 cpu with 13gb). Doesn't seem too bad for that horsepower?
I don't know what sort of data gets sent to and fro in a sizable database, but is looks to me like it would not be a major cost compared to the instance and windows server licensing.
I wonder what sort of real world costs developers are seeing with AWS and azure?