Spotify Ends Data Centre Foray With Google Cloud Deal

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Spotify signals the end of its own data centre programme with move to the Google Cloud Platform

Music streaming platform Spotify is moving its back-end infrastructure onto the Google Cloud Platform.

The move is significant as it currently hosts its service in its own data centre facilities.

Cloud Outsourcing

Spotify 1Spotify has for years now established itself as one of the leading music streaming service providers. Over that time, the company has evolved its service. For example last November it launched a service that uses the platform’s recommendation algorithms to alert listeners to nearby concerts that they may like to attend.

It is also developing a feature called Spotify Running that will make custom playlists for users who are exercising whilst listening to music. That feature will apparently access to a device’s accelerometer so it knows whether or not the user is actually physically running.

But now in order to bring out new features and functionality much quicker, Spotify is moving its back-end service to the Google Cloud.

“This is a big deal,” explained Nicholas Harteau, Spotify’s head of Engineering & Infrastructure . “Historically, we’ve taken a traditional approach …: buying or leasing data centre space, server hardware and networking gear as close to our customers as possible. This approach has allowed us to give you music instantly, wherever you are in the world.”

But Harteau admitted that keeping pace with scaling demands required ever increasing amounts of focus and effort.

“Like good, lazy engineers, we occasionally asked ourselves: do we really need to do all this stuff? For a long time the answer was ‘yes’. Operating our own data centres may be a pain, but the core cloud services were not at a level of quality, performance and cost that would make cloud a significantly better option for Spotify in the long run.

But Harteau said that now the balance has shifted, and the storage, compute and network services available from cloud providers are as high quality, high performance and low cost, compared to building their own infrastructure.

“This makes the move to the cloud a no-brainer for us,” he continued. “Google, in our experience, has an edge here, but it’s a competitive space and we expect the big players to be battling it out for the foreseeable future.”

“What really tipped the scales towards Google for us, however, has been our experience with Google’s data platform and tools. Good infrastructure isn’t just about keeping things up and running, it’s about making all of our teams more efficient and more effective, and Google’s data stack does that for us in spades.”

But the move will not happen overnight.

“We have a large and complex backend, so this is a large and complex project that will take us some time to complete,” added Harteau.

Resource Trade-off

Google also took little time to welcome Spotify in its cloud fold.

“It’s not every day you move a 75 million+ user company from a home-grown infrastructure to the cloud,” said Guillaume Leygues, Lead Sales Engineer at Google Cloud Platform. “But if you use Spotify, more and more of your musical experience will be delivered by Google Cloud Platform over the coming weeks and months.

“While Spotify had engineers running its core infrastructure and buying or leasing data centre space, PC hardware and networking gear to provide a seamless experience for users – time and again it asked whether the tradeoff of resources that could otherwise focus on innovative features and software, was worth it.”

“Recently Spotify decided it didn’t want to be in the data centre business, and chose Cloud Platform over the public cloud competition after careful review and testing. What makes us most excited to work with Spotify is their company-wide focus on forward-looking user experiences. Now that they’ve begun using Google Cloud Platform, we can’t wait to see what Spotify builds next.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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