Google adds load balancing, SQL-like queries in hot pursuit of more cloud business

Google (s goog) added a few features to its cloud services Wednesday, including load balancing for Google Compute Engine and SQL-like search inside the NoSQL Cloud Datastore.

The SQL-like language GQL, which stands for Google Query Language, has been in place for five years now for the Google App Engine’s datastore. So developers familiar with it will find it easier to use the Cloud Datastore, which was revealed three months ago.

Prior to this point, the Google Cloud Datastore could only be queried manually with more complex commands through its application programming interface (API), a spokeswoman wrote in an email.

Implementing SQL-like capability on NoSQL databases is a road many others in the database world have gone down. Facebook (s fb) kicked off SQL-like querying on Hadoop with Hive. Cassandra has a SQL-like query language, and Couchbase came out with one of its own, too.

Aside from introducing GQL querying, Google said the Cloud Datastore can supports applications written in Ruby, not just Java, Node and Python.

Google is also adding to its Platform as a Service (PaaS), the Google App Engine, with new functionality for PHP applications and a bunch of solutions to problems users had encountered when running applications written in Python.

Load balancing in particular is a valuable feature, letting applications easily scale out in response to traffic spikes. it’s available for free for the rest of the year.

These are important moves for Google to make as it takes on Amazon Web Services and others in the busy and growing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) market. But it was already clear Google was working on such a feature. The company announced as much at Google I/O during a talk about advanced routing features for Google Compute Engine.

A report from two TBR analysts last month suggested significant revenue growth from Google’s cloud services, including the Google Cloud Platform. They estimated the growth will only continue this year. These sorts of announcements — and probably also more price cuts — will help propel the young Google IaaS to contribute its fair share to top-line cloud growth and expand its user base.