San Francisco, California—host city of Google Cloud Next 2017. © 2017, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

Our Data From Space Lives in Google Cloud


As our constellation in space grows, we’ve been preparing down here on Earth for a deluge of imagery. While it is a huge accomplishment for us to have gotten our sats into space and taking lots of pictures, that is only half the job. Fully realizing our “Mission 1” means preparing for 7 to 10 TBs of data a day – every day – from here on out. The resources required to handle all of this satdat (as Planeteers call it) are immense. We spent the last year evaluating lots of options and today we’re pleased to announce that Google Cloud Platform (GCP) powers this critical Planet infrastructure.

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Planet hosts its 7 petabyte satellite imagery archive and data processing pipeline on Google Cloud Platform

We completed the migration last week and Google Cloud now hosts our growing imagery archive and our data pipeline processing.


Given the amount of work involved and the data rates we were forecasting, we knew we had to settle on a platform before our recently launched 88 satellites started operating at production rates.

When evaluating our options, we weighed a lot of factors, and reliability and scale were at the top of our list.  We were certain we wanted to leverage the expertise of one of the big, proven providers and focus our team on things that would make Planet unique. While there were a couple of options that would have worked for us, we ultimately decided that Google Cloud was the right platform. We kicked off the actual migration process last December and flipped the switch on our production data pipeline over the past week. We are now processing all of our satellite imagery on GCP.

GCP provides the core storage and compute services we need to manage our pipeline and make it scale-able. Google’s focus on multi-region services fit our processing model well. Philosophically, we are aligned with Google’s focus on services leveraging open source projects like Kubernetes and TensorFlow. We find the GCP pricing model easy to understand and very predictable with their Custom Machine Types and Preemptible VMs, which we use heavily. We are already using new capabilities like Cross-Project Networking (XPN), and Internal Load Balancing (ILB). We are confident GCP will allow us to scale up usage as more satellites (88 to be exact!) come online in the coming months.

With users and customers across the globe, confidence in knowing we’ll be able to reliably and efficiently deliver data through our API and web tools was paramount. Keeping Planeteers focused on managing our unique value proposition while relying on proven partners is a key part of that strategy. As our data and compute infrastructure grows, we’re excited to work with Google Cloud to deliver next-generation geospatial services to users.