Enterprise in the Cloud: Q&A with Google's Rishi Chandra - InformationWeek

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7/21/2008
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Enterprise in the Cloud: Q&A with Google's Rishi Chandra

As product manager at Google Enterprise, Rishi Chandra is responsible for spreading search appliances, Google Apps and a growing portfolio of services into the business world. Continuing a series of interviews on cloud computing, Intelligent Enterprise asks Chandra about Google's plans for applications, underlying infrastructure and meeting the demands of the enterprise.

Many people are familiar with Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs, but can you explain the underlying Google App Engine platform and your plans for the enterprise market?

Rishi Chandra Rishi Chandra
The App Engine platform gives you the option of allowing third parties to use your data. Maybe you want to take the data that's inside a Google Spreadsheet, for example, and expose it to another application that can do more in the way of intelligence than Google Spreadsheets can handle. We can go the other way as well, because the Spreadsheets API lets us pull data from different sources. The App Engine platform layer gives us a very compelling opportunity. We can use it across CRM applications, ERP applications — whatever it might be — and third parties are going to be able to work with the data in the apps.

Your partnership with Salesforce.com is probably the best example of what you're talking about. Can you describe that integration?

The Salesforce.com integration is at the application layer. We have a variety of APIs that allow Salesforce.com to integrate with our systems, and we can go both ways because Salesforce.com exposes APIs as well. It makes it a fairly seamless experience for customers to navigate between the two products. The great thing about that integration is that it was all done working with the existing, publicly available APIs, although they also helped us improve those APIs so they can do a lot more than third parties could do previously.

Will we see enterprise apps actually running on the App Engine rather than just drawing data from it?

The App Engine is still in preview release, but the basic intension is that any third-party provider can build onto Google infrastructure and gain the same capabilities and scalability. For enterprises the story will be, "you have tons of custom applications. Rather than hosting inside your company, why not take advantage of our scalability and build it on top of Google App Engine?"

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