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Wrapping up Next, Google pushes multiclouds to top of customers’ IT strategies

Google LLC made an impressive showing at its annual Cloud Next conference this week in San Francisco. In the arena for hybrid and multicloud computing, it differentiated its value proposition in several respects:

  • Strong multicloud offering: Google’s general-availability release of Anthos signaled its deep commitment to helping its customers blend on-premises IT assets with the hyperscalable compute, memory, storage and data in diverse public clouds, including but not limited to Google Cloud Platform.
  • Solid AI workbench: Its beta release of AI Platform signaled that Google has truly entered the market for team workbenches designed to drive development, training, and serving of machine learning applications into multiclouds. This new solution is an integrated development environment for modeling, training and serving containerized AI applications. Its scalability as an enterprise data pipeline was bolstered by a range of new fully managed enterprise database subscription services on Google Cloud Platform that were announced this week.
  • Pacesetting serverless development framework: The vendor showed that it understands the emerging shape of cross-multicloud DevOps. Google did so both through its Cloud Run announcement, which places hybrid serverless environments at the forefront of multicloud development, and through its announcement that it’s working with various technology partners to build multicloud-spanning CI/CD pipelines using the Kubeflow open-source project.

Multiclouds are beginning to shape enterprise IT strategies

Google Cloud now has the most open multicloud environment among leading cloud players. On theCUBE at the event, several high-level Google representatives discussed where multiclouds fit into enterprise customers’ strategies, and how the vendor’s solutions are evolving to address these growing requirements. Here are excerpts of the most interesting comments on these trends:

  • Enterprises are evolving toward multiclouds: Alison Wagonfeld, chief marketing officer, Google Cloud: “Most companies are choosing a multi-cloud strategy. This morning we announced a major product, Anthos, that really enables the multi-cloud strategy, so it enables Google to really be at the center of that multi-cloud and provide the services using containers and a lot of the biggest, best advances right now. And so as we scale or go to market, we can really bring this technology that we hear over and over again is the best technology in the business. Yet we hadn’t really had to go to market in place to bring it to customers, and this is really where we’re taking it so we can help get this awesome technology. It’s so fun as a marketer, to then bring it to everybody.”
  • Helping customers along the road to the multicloud: Aparna Sinha, group product manager of Kubernetes, and Chen Goldberg, director of engineering, Google Cloud: “Anthos is a Google operated solution that lets you right once, deploy anywhere. Really, the key thing about Anthos is choice. What we’ve been hearing from our customers, how much they appreciate choice in their journey to the cloud and modernization in general….When thinking about choice, we’ve added new capabilities and one choice that customers are thinking about, ‘Do I need to choose a single cloud provider?’ The second thing that talks about choice, is ‘How do we start?’ One thing we are hearing from our customers is the importance that they want to innovate with what they have. So Anthos Migrate lets them take their existing applications, package applications that are running today on VM’s and onboard to Anthos automatically and see value.”
  • Customers require choice in how to implement multiclouds: Amit Zavery, head of platform, Google Cloud: “I think if you look at what’s going on and I talk to a lot of customers and developers and IT teams and clearly, I think, they are overwhelmed with different things, you said, going on in this space, so how do you make it simple? How do you make it open? How do you make it hybrid so you have flexibility of choices? It’s becoming top of the mind for many of the users nowadays. The lock-in, which many vendors currently provide, becomes very difficult for many of these users who kind of keep moving around and meet the business requirements. So I think having a solution and a technology stack, which is really understanding the complexity around that and making it simple enough to adopt, I think is important.”

AI is becoming a dominant enterprise workload in multiclouds

Google is building out a scalable hybrid-data portfolio to integrate well into multicloud environments. On theCUBE at the event, Google representatives discussed the vendor’s evolving AI, analytics, and data management strategy in the context of customers’ multicloud strategies. Here are the most noteworthy excerpts:

  • Customers can build complex hybrid-data environments in Google Cloud: Dominic Preuss, director of product management, storage and databases, Google Cloud: “There are hundreds of database technologies out there today, and there’s really been a proliferation of new technology, specifically databases for very specific use cases, whether it be graph for time series All these other things as, ah, hyper cloud vendor, we’re going to try to do the most common things that people need. We’re going to do manage MySQL and Postgres and SQL Server. But for other databases that people want to run, we want to make sure that those solutions are first class opportunities on the platform. So we’ve engaged with seven of the top leading open source companies to make sure that they can provide a managed service on Google Cloud Platform that is first class. So what that means is that as a Google Cloud Platform customer, I can choose a Google-offered service or a third party offered service. I’m going to have the seamless, frictionless, integrated experience. I’m going to get unified building. I’m going to get one bill. I’m going to have unified support. I’m going to reach out to Google support. They’re going figure out what the problem is without blaming the third party. We’ll take ownership of the issue and we’ll go and figure out what’s happening that make sure you get an answer and then thirdly, a unified experience so that the juicy customer can manage that experience inside a cloud console.”
  • Customers don’t need to be data scientists to build power AI in Google Cloud: Sudhir Hasbe, director of product management, Google Cloud: “BigQueryML is basically a SQL interface to creating machine learning models at scale. So if you have all your data in BigQuery, you can write two lines of SQL and go ahead and create a model for, let’s say, clustering. We announced matrix factorization. We also have an amazing technology in AutoML. So we had our AutoML Table and AutoML Vision available for customers to use on different technologies….with AutoL tables, what we’re enabling is customers can literally go in AutoML Table portal say, Here is a BigQuery table. I want to be able to go out and create a model on. Here is the column that I want to predict from. Based on that data, and just a click of a button will create an automated the best model possible.”
  • Google is using its own AI for closed-loop data-center optimization of Google Cloud in more complex deployments: Joe Kava, vice president of data center operations, Google Cloud: “We’ve really invested in our machine learning and artificial intelligence both on the data center operations. We have now ML running some of our cooling systems in fully autonomous mode and doing a much better job of matching the cooling needs to the workloads at the time. And we took that same learning with our DeepMind group, partnered with them, and we’ve applied that to a wind farm now as well, so that they can better predict what the output of the wind farm is going to be 36 hours in advance. That allows the operators of the grid to better bring on more energy and get higher value out of that that wind energy.”

Low-code programming, automated AI and DevOps are the future of multicloud app development

Google sent a clear signal that it’s targeting a new breed of developers who rely on low-code, automated, embedded tooling for continuous integration and continuous deployment of cloud-native applications on multiclouds. On theCUBE at the event, Google representatives discussed the vendor’s evolving strategy for reaching developers who are building tomorrow’s serverless, edge, mobile, Web, SaaS, robotic process automation and other apps Here are the most noteworthy excerpts:

  • Developers need powerful workbenches for building cloud-native apps: Pali Bhat, vice president of product and design, serverless, Google Cloud: “As we were talking to customers, we kept coming back to three things that they wanted from us. So as we talk to them about these three things, we came back to the drawing board and said, ‘Hey, what are the products that we can build to make their journey to be more cloud-native, and more agile, much more seamless, and future-proofed, that much better?’ So we came back to the drawing board and came up with three products. The first was, we looked at developers and their journeys. We said, ‘Look, they’re building in traditional IDEs, like IntelliJ or VS Code, optimized for local development. And they’re not writing a lick of YAML there, for Kubernetes.’ And we said, ‘How can we take those environments, and have those development teams build cloud-native apps really easily?’ So really, just double-charging the cloud-native development. So we built Cloud Code, which extends their local IDEs and lets them deploy to remote clusters. So they can get full debugging full deployment building, it’s integrated in the cloud build, and they get the full Kubernetes development environment right in place.”
  • Browser management is a key DevOps practice for Web and edge applications: Menaka Shroff, global marketing head, emerging business, Google: “One of the patterns we’re seeing is this trend of cloud workers, where these are employees that spend almost four hours a day using SaaS applications using the browser as you just mentioned, that you do as well. And we’re seeing this pattern actually, not only with digital natives but also with frontline, you know, back of the office front of the office where they’re sort of skipping the traditional PC era and moving straight to a clouds-based model. And so today we’re actually announcing our Chrome browser cloud management. So it’s one central place to manage your browser deployments across, you know, a segmented workforce that’s using Windows or Mac or Linux, and Chromebooks. And what you can do is have them obviously manage the Chrome browser extensions and all of the deployment, but also have this IT collaborating and delegation within the same console. So of course if you’re using G Suite, it’s all in the same console, it’s very easily available.”
  • API management is the key to productizing data apps: Ed Anuff, director of product management, Google Cloud Platform: “Data is products and APIs are products and so now we see the emergence of API product managers. You know, this idea that we’re going to go, and build a whole ecosystem of products and applications that meet a whole set of customer needs that you might not even initially or ever imagine. I’m sure you folks see all the time new applications, new use cases, the idea is can I take this capability, or can I take this set of data, package it up as an API that any developer can use in any way that they want to innovate and build new functionality around it. It’s very exciting time, it makes developers way more productive than they could’ve been in the past.”

But for all the value and differentiation in Google’s announcements this week, Wikibon still has the following concerns about the company’s long-term prospects in the cloud computing arena:

  • Google still remains far from the lead in public cloud, though its push into multicloud might win some business with the small but growing range of enterprises that have committed to two or more public clouds, including its own.
  • Google’s general-availability release of its multicloud management solution will help it close deals in this niche, though its lack of a hardware-based on-premises appliance will hamstring its growth potential.
  • Google’s lack of credible software-as-a-service business application portfolio has been counterbalanced by the growing range of partner and ISV applications built for its public cloud, but it still doesn’t have the broad range of core enterprise apps that an Oracle or SAP can boast.
  • Google’s failure to announce any AIOps capabilities in for Google Cloud or Anthos is mystifying, considering that feature is now table stakes with rivals such as AWS, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, and is utterly essential for Google Cloud and Anthos to achieve scale, efficiencies and services levels on a par with the competition.
  • Google’s rollout of a full-featured AI pipeline DevOps workbench, incorporating AutoML, was essential for the data science teams that are its core developer customer, but it still has a long way to evolve its workbench before it can rise to the functional breadth of AWS SageMaker in such emerging use cases as AI robotics.

For more commentary and insights, check out all the interviews that took place on theCUBE mobile livestreaming panel this week at Google Cloud Next.

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