At its Next conference in San Francisco. Google outlined some of the ways it is using a $30-billion investment to increase its footprint in the enterprise cloud sector.
There's little question that Google has brought its enterprise focus and concentrated spending to its Google Cloud Platform late in the game. Before, it was banking on reputation, a minimal offering of its preferred technologies and its basic infrastructure to lure web-based companies and startups to Google Compute Engine and App Engine.
But minimal effort is a thing of the past. Google pulled out its big guns and big customers in San Francisco this week to try to convince the business world that it's serious about serving the enterprise. The shift in that direction started with the hiring of VMware co-founder and former CEO Diane Greene in November 2015. Greene addressed about 10,000 attendees at the Moscone Center or four times as many as last year as Google's Next 2017 conference got underway March 8-10.
Google appeared to understand it's playing catch up to the rapidly growing Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, came on stage after Greene's opening keynote Wednesday to say Google has spent $30 billion on Google's cloud infrastructure. "I know because I approved it," he said. In the usual Silicon Valley numbers game, that means all of Google's search infrastructure and cloud platform rolled into one absorbed that amount, but still $30 billion is a piece of change that many companies would prefer not to have to spend.
Given that Google has made the investment, here are four ways that it plans to capitalize on that investment.
Google claims that it's the first cloud service provider to upgrade to servers based on Intel's latest chip, Skylake. With the performance improvement that it affords, Google can pass on the efficiencies in selected lower pricing, which it plans to do. Sam Ramji, VP of product for development and cloud, explained in an interview that, Google will give its customers who make extended, continuous use of its cloud an automatic discount. They won't need to apply for it or sign a term of usage contract, as they do with AWS Reserved Instances. They'll just get it after a continuous period of use. In some cases, Sustained Use discounts will be as high as 20%. "You tell us the RAM and CPU you need, we'll take care of the discount," he said.
Google Cloud Functions, its bid to garner a share of the serverless application market, has gone into public beta from what was previously a technology preview phase. Cloud Functions competes with AWS Lambda event-driven, code activation service and Microsoft's serverless architecture, Azure Functions. The idea is to embed specific functions in the public cloud and use them when needed, with the need being triggered by a software event somewhere else. Multiple functions make microservices begin to look a lot like a serverless application. Developers never have to think about the server or how it might scale. The cloud does that for them.
Google Cloud Dataprep will make it easier to move enterprise data into the cloud through its ability to detect schema, data types, and data distribution. It can check for anomalies, such as mismatched values in supposedly similar sets and spot missing values. It can utilize machine learning to suggest the right corrective actions, said Brian Stevens, the former CTO of Red Hat and now VP of cloud platforms at Google. Dataprep will help Google compete with AWS Data Migration Service, which also performs enterprise data schema detection.
Google keeps tying its Google G Suite end users closer to its cloud platform. It has added Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat to the Google G Suite, which includes Docs, Gmail, Drive, and Calendar. Meet and Chat will allow Google to better compete with Facebook and other group communications platforms, allowing users to exchange views through instant messaging, VOIP, emojis, and video messaging. In May, it will make Jamboard generally available, according to the investor site, Seeking Alpha. Jamboard is an active white board, presentation screen that can be simultaneously updated by groups in different locations.
Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio
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