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Monday, March 28, 2016
The tech behemoths Amazon, Microsoft & Google are established players in one of the battes that will change the future of customers view and investments of computing. This is an area with a potential hundred billion dollars plus that can be secured for the vendors – a lucrative space that each one wants to corner : the cloud. For a quick recap of the dollars under consideration - read here. Cloud lets business tap on demand the processing, storage and software over the web. Tall, powerful and cool servers with gargantuan memory onboard installed inside enterprises now are gradually giving way to tap on need model –use when needed and shut them down in other times. The vast data centers and governance brought in by these tech behemoths make them ideal partners for business to tap such services on a need to have basis – whenever and wherever required.
Amazon is by far the well-established leader here with a revenue that far exceeds the combined revenue of all competitors put together. Amazon partly achieved this by bringing a single-minded focus to this space to scale up and win and it paid back handsomely. Amazon’s first-mover advantage coupled with slow reactions from competition has now made Amazon an almost insurmountable lead in business in this space. That’s the focus and attention of the next two players. Microsoft has been pushing Azure extensively last 2-3 years and clocking impressive success. The lesser known of the trio in this space – Google is now flexing its muscle and is now focused on striking it big here. Google is recognized primarily as the early proponent of cloud computing – after all, Google built huge date centers in its early days and ran services like search, gmail and maps , available around the world and with unthinkable scale in action. Alongside, developers build other applications on top resulting in an expanding google universe. Google has the strong reputation of running scalable, secure services and recognized as one delivering successfully for a long time. By being late and remaining indifferent to this space, Google lost out on big time opportunities that were out there and Amazon happily grabbed these. Now, Google wants to get back aggressively and be counted as large player in this space and is increasing its investments, market messaging and outreach efforts. Last week the company hosted an event to talk about their upcoming plans around the Google cloud platform and talk loudly about some notable success that they have notched thus far. I listened to the webcast and followed the announcements keenly to see how Google is planning to move things here and I heard good actionable things.
Google’s overall messaging shows that the momentum in the business continues and the focus to scale this platform with enterprise as a key segment to focus on for adoption. Google positioning is getting better to take a sizable chunk of business in the ever growing public cloud space over the next few years. The overall market is projected to have 50% of the enterprise workloads moved into overtime. Google paraded customers/customer stories – the likes of Spotify, Coca-Cola, Disney etc. as proof of successful adoption of their services.
The emphasis on a move forward basis is positioned around:
A. Machine learning as a cornerstone of their approach and hence drive the attendant benefits for customers.
B. Monetization/Commercialization of native security tools used within Google to make these available to customers.
C. Make ease of deployment and migration more easy.In terms of upcoming innovation, consistent with its focus on enterprise adoption, Google talked about the lofty vision of No-ops goal for enterprises. This will be an ideal demonstration of the power of cloud computing and if Google and others are able to make it happen everywhere, it’s a true sign of the changed paradigm here.Another important facet of the evolution of the cloud revolved around the extreme emphasis on machine learning and the Google cloud platform’s leverage of this. A new product called Tensorflow has been open sourced by Google and it is their core belief that embracing machine learning will become a non-negotiable for innovative startups focused on scaling globally and offering sophisticated services.Add into the mix cloud monitoring tools working across clouds – enterprises can hardly resist massive cloud adoption with these. And in order to keep helping enterprises adopt and scale faster, Google wants to focus on the three important aspects of cloud computing – data centers, security and containers.
I drilled into these a little more to find what could be differentiated in offering such services and what I could recollect from the conference webcast included the following, which Google finds as the drivers for increasing enterprise adoption of their services.
1. Better value: GCP can cost up to 50% less than competitors. Google provides automatic discounts as customers consume higher volumes. And GCP also offers custom machine types (i.e., cores or gigabytes), which helps save customers versus static instance types from other vendors that often lead to overprovisioning.
2. Accelarate innovation: Google’s approach here is to allow customers to run applications with no additional operations staff needed. For example, Google showcases Snapchat here - grew from zero to 100mn users without hiring an operations team (just two people).
3. Risk Management : Google shall be focused on providing best-in-class security for customer’s data and digital assets, protect privacy and help in conforming to compliance and regulatory needs.
4. Open Source adoption –leading to better management by customers for products like Kubernotes( focused on managing data containers).
I got the feeling that the GCP was comparable to Amazon’s fabled AWS services for the purpose of enterprise adoption. While the engineering and under the hoods battle is one part of the equation, the real determinant of success and also ran lay in shaping market forces – GTM, Solutions, Partnerships, support and ease of doing business – an area that Google will have to heavily focus on. With Google’s stated plans to triple their data center regions and with some good early demonstrated success, the market should begin to warm up for Google.Enterprise success depends not just on what’s available from a service provider – determination of what and how to move to cloud, transforming IT landscape, flipping over the governance model and change management – all these have a say in the eventual success of any cloud initiative. With substantial progress and focus on this space with the tech giants competing aggressively for their pie in this fast growing space, the competition expands the market, services get more sophisticated and yet mature fast and the industry improves and courtesy of Moore’s effect, the customers get superior services at a lower cost. It’s a win-win situation for all.
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