Recently, I spent some time with Google to understand their Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in more detail. Everyone knows that the leaders (in adoption terms at least) in this space are AWS and MS Azure so I thought it would be interesting to hear about GCP and Google’s own cloud journey.
GCP was started in 2008 and like with AWS, Google’s objective was to bring best practices used internally to the external market. According to Google, most of their internal tools are very engineering focused so their challenge was to ensure that GCP was fast and easily consumable for an external market.
Here are my key observations:-
GCP is focussing on enterprises entering on their 2nd wave cloud journey
The IaaS space is a competitive market and Google acknowledges this. Google’s messaging is that cloud is all about what you can do with the platform and a key objective for GCP is to process large volumes of data quickly (like the Google Search Engine). They don’t really like the term ‘big data’ as they see all things as data. Their view it’s the speed at which you can process data that’s their real USP, leveraging GCP services like BigQuery and Cloud Bigtable. Google’s view is that innovation comes from what you can do with the data. For enterprises sitting on large volumes of data, GCP gives the ability to improve internal processes and it provides a new opportunity to develop and sell new services.
Containers are the way forward for new modern application development
Google has been using the containers for many years. Everything in Google runs in containers (managed via Kubernetes) and they see this as the future for improving application development efficiency for enterprises. However, they understand the huge gap between the sophistication of what they do internally and enterprises.
When developers at Google code, they do not think about servers, as it is more of a “serverless” computing environment. Scaling up is no longer an issue, so their focus is about functionality and innovation. This is where enterprises want to be for infrastructure and new services, but it’s going to be a long journey.
Do enterprises want to be like Google?
In short, yes – in terms of speed and innovation. However, most mature enterprises have at least decades of legacy applications, infrastructure and strict governance so therefore it is difficult to be agile. Google understands that enterprises cannot operate in their unique manner either technically or culturally. GCP isn’t about turning your enterprise into Google – it is simply about enabling enterprises to leverage services in a more efficient way.
An example given during the presentation was that many years ago there were multiple search engines (Yahoo, Altavista, Excite etc). However, Google’s USP was to process data accurately and quickly using a simple UI. This was disruptive in the market place as they changed the way data was queried, processed – and how it was managed.Therefore, a lesson for enterprises is that new digital initiatives will always require new ways of thinking (forget the 20 years of legacy infrastructure and process) and using cloud platforms to develop new services could be game changing in their markets
GCP is still in battle for the enterprise market with other cloud providers
Cloud is all about innovation and this is GCP’s play!
With enterprises going “all in” with AWS or Azure, another cloud platform may just make things more complex; however I can see the value of GCP in its speed, machine learning and data processing capabilities. Google may find it challenging to persuade enterprises to use GCP if their workforce is already trained in Azure or AWS. Enterprises like to remain with a platform just because their workforce has the skills – inertia is a powerful force.
Unlike Microsoft, Google do not currently have the enterprise relationships. However neither did AWS and they are making great progress in that portion of their market. Therefore, Google’s partner channel needs to broaden out to help drive adoption. Google are also hiring people with more of an enterprise background so they can better understand the psyche of these customers.
Questions around Google’s ability to support large-scale enterprise customers will remain however; some years back the same questions were asked about AWS and now look at their portfolio of enterprise customers. Currently, GCP may not have the market share of AWS or Azure though it definitely has a platform rich in interesting features, which will help Google narrow the gap within the enterprise market. An open question is whether their focus on relatively niche innovation features will present a broad enough portfolio of services to enterprise customers so that GCP is seen as a credible “all in” choice, or just a niche big data service provider.
What do you think? Leave a reply below or contact me by email