Google burst-Google recently held its annual Next conference where it made a large number (>122) of both major and minor announcements as it provided guidance on where its cloud platform is headed. The specifics of the announcements have already been covered extensively in the media, but there’s been a less clear idea of the overall strategy they represent.
Enterprise, not consumer
Google knows it has a perception problem when it comes to enabling cloud in the enterprise. With its past and almost singular focus on consumers, it needs to convince more organizations that it is a real competitor to AWS and Azure for deploying corporate apps and providing collaboration. To that end, several focal points emerged as it showed a growing inclination to compete head on with rivals in the enterprise space.
Google made several pointed references to the high-level security of the Google Cloud Platform at the conference, including the ability for any customer to essentially lock Google out of looking at any corporate data. The real message it was trying to broadcast is that its enterprise cloud won’t be like the consumer side, where all data and interaction is subject to “data mining” by Google. Corporate data in the Google Cloud Platform has been separate and distinct from the consumer cloud all along, but Google needs to combat the perception that your data is not safe, which has driven some potential users away from the platform. There is still more to do in this area, as I still hear comments about data privacy, but Google is making progress.
Google understands that not all companies will port all of their applications to its cloud, or for that matter to any single cloud platform. Indeed, I estimate that 75-80 percent of enterprises have a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy and will continue to do so. But Google would like to provide the unified management infrastructure across all of those clouds so that eventually, it hopes, customers will port more of the apps onto its cloud. To that end, it announced Anthos, a management and migration tool that works on virtually all clouds so that companies can cross manage app instances from one place, and as a side benefit, it allows porting apps easily to Google’s cloud platform. This “Switzerland” approach has many benefits as it provides Google a way to be neutral in what cloud apps it manages, while also enabling easy transport across cloud environments. Multi-cloud management is a major headache for organizations, and this may be a real advantage for Google in getting a foot in the door at many companies. It touted HBC, Siemens, and Cisco as adopters. And vendors such as VMware, Dell EMC, HPE, Intel, and Lenovo have committed to delivering Anthos on hyperconverged infrastructure to their customers.