Google is continuing a push to create a big business from its growing cloud-computing unit.
The search giant said Tuesday that it would roll out several new data features specifically targeting the needs of businesses as well as tweaking its service for archiving data so that customers can get their old data more quickly.
The move comes as Google tries to compete against cloud computing rivals like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft (MSFT). In cloud computing, companies sell data center computing resources to customers on-demand, freeing those customers from having to buy data center hardware and software for their own data centers.
Google said three of its database services—Cloud SQL, Cloud Bigtable, and Cloud Datastore—are now available to businesses on-demand. The paid services were previously available only as test versions.
Cloud SQL is Google’s cloud version of a MySQL database, a popular type of open-source database typically used for managing web app data. Database giant Oracle (OCLCF) has a similar database that it inherited through its $7.4 billion acquisition of business technology company Sun Microsystems in 2010.
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Cloud Bigtable is Google’s answer to a so-called NoSQL wide-column database that it previously said is used by businesses like financial services company SunGard to process huge quantities of data for financial auditing, among other things.
Cloud Datastore is another variant of a NoSQL database called a document database that is used to store data that doesn’t fit into conventional rows-and-columns. Startups like MongoDB and Couchbase have gained momentum by marketing their own free versions while selling paid services on top of them.
Google is also making it easier to run Microsoft’s competing SQL Server database on its cloud computing service, and added a new encryption feature for its cloud data storage service to protect company data. Google said that its customers can now use their own encryption keys to lock down files in Google’s cloud storage service.
It has also reduced the time it takes for companies to retrieve their data from Google’s archival data service.
The decision to speed customer access to archived data was due to increased demand by companies to quickly analyze all their old data instead of having it sit in a repository, explained Dominic Preuss, Google’s lead product manager for storage and databases. What used to take seconds to access a certain file now takes milliseconds, Preuss explained.
“We are taking on additional costs to deliver more value to the customer,” Preuss said.
The new database services and features are just another example of how Google is trying to build its cloud computing business against stiff competition. A recent research report by Gartner said that Amazon is by far the leading the cloud computing provider in terms of delivering computing capacity. Amazon also has 1.6 times the amount of customer corporate data in its facilities than those of all other cloud players combined.
Although Google has been investing heavily in its cloud computing business and brought in VMware (VMW) co-founder and Silicon Valley veteran Diane Greene to lead its cloud unit, the latest Gartner research said that the search giant has slipped on Gartner’s latest report in relation to both Amazon and Microsoft.
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One way Greene is trying to get more customers is by forging partnerships with more traditional business consulting companies that recommend the kind of technologies their customers should use. Preuss highlighted Google’s partnership with Accenture as a way it is trying to court more customers who purchase technology packages in addition to services from consulting firms.