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Google Moves Aggressively Into Enterprise IT With Comprehensive Cloud and Big Data Solutions

As any IT professional knows, the world of enterprise IT is undergoing a whole series of changes. From Big Data requirements, to BYOD to Cloud computing, IT managers are facing a number of new issues within their enterprise. IT Specialist remains committed to bringing high quality information and different perspectives to IT managers and developers, and in this regard, we wanted to highlight one company that is now competing aggressively against the traditional IT vendors in the enterprise market. 

As any IT professional knows, the world of enterprise IT is undergoing a whole series of changes. From Big Data requirements, to BYOD to Cloud computing, IT managers are facing a number of new issues within their enterprise. IT Specialist remains committed to bringing high quality information and different perspectives to IT managers and developers, and in this regard, we wanted to highlight one company that is now competing aggressively against the traditional IT vendors in the enterprise market. 

While many of us probably associate Google with their search platform and other consumer services, they actually have developed a complete suite of enterprise products, including a Cloud computing offering that provides a comprehensive suite of products for enterprise IT departments, including a fully integrated Cloud and Big Data offering. In that context, I am pleased to introduce Brian Goldfarb from Google. Brian is the Lead Marketing Director for Google's enterprise Cloud division, and he has kindly agreed to answer some of our questions today. 

IT Specialist: Brian, thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions. To start with, could you provide a short overview of your role within Google's Cloud organization?

Brian: Thanks for having me. I am responsible for making sure that developers and IT professionals around the world know about Google Cloud Platform and what they can do with it.

Gartner recently estimated that just 1% of IT infrastructure has moved into the cloud, so this is early days for our industry. What my team works on is making sure that people are aware that Google has a great cloud offering and that we continue to communicate the potential that cloud computing offers to a wide variety of users - whether you’re a start-up, a systems integrator, a mobile app developer, or managing the IT architecture for a large company.  At the same time we are constantly collecting feedback from customers and the market and helping direct our product engineers to deliver what customers need and want.

IT Specialist: One thing I have learned Brian is how comprehensive Google's suite of products for the enterprise has become, especially in the Cloud space. Can you provide a brief list of all of your Cloud products? I myself see Google Compute Engine, which I gather would be your IaaS offering; Google Cloud SQL; Google BigQuery, your Big Data in Cloud BI tool; Google Prediction API, your Machine Learning tool; Google App Engine for Developers to build applications in the Cloud. Have I enumerated all of them correctly or have I missed any?

Brian: We provide a complete collection of services that developers and IT professionals can use for building software in the cloud with a focus on compute, storage, analytics, and app services.  Uniquely, PaaS and IaaS are the foundations of our offering, and we have a comprehensive Platform-as-a-Service offering with Google App Engine. Google Compute Engine is our Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering providing linux virtual machines with industry leading performance and consistency.  

Supporting these compute offerings we have a variety of storage offerings like object and file with Google Cloud Storage and our Persistent Disks. In addition we provide both a fully managed MySQL service with Google Cloud SQL as well as one of the most powerful NoSQL solutions in the market with Google Cloud Datastore - built on an implementation that does over 4.5 trillion transactions per month with 99.95% uptime.  Google BigQuery is a robust big data analytics and querying solution making it simple to process terrabytes of data in seconds. And lastly, we have a complete set of App Services like Google Prediction API, Google Translate API, and Google Cloud Endpoints, which provides a simple way to turn any code into RESTful APIs that can be used by a variety of web and mobile application platforms like iOS, Android, and Chrome.

Each of these products takes advantage of the same infrastructure and network that we use internally within Google to power Search, YouTube, and other web-applications used by people around the world every day. Fundamentally, our goal is to provide developers with a comprehensive solution that spans beyond traditional IaaS and PaaS distinctions and enables developers and IT Professionals to solve their technical challenges using a variety of flexible architectures that best suits their needs.

IT Specialist: Just to bring us all up to speed, do you mind providing a brief description of each one of these products and how they benefit enterprises?

Brian: Let me provide an overview of each one of our products:

Google Compute Engine lets users run customizable virtual machines hosted on Google’s data centers. This is great for running large-scale computing workloads while having the flexibility to customize the machines to a greater degree than would be possible with a PaaS offering, like Google App Engine. Google Compute Engine lets you deploy a virtual machine quickly and run just about anything with extremely consistent performance and ultra-fast networks.

Google App Engine is a development platform that allows you to focus on building web applications without needing to worry about any of the underlying infrastructure. All you have to do is build your application, and we take care of the rest. This is great because it means that you can focus on your code, while Google automatically scales applications across multiple servers to meet variable demand. We’re currently supporting Java, Python, Go, and PHP.

Google Cloud Storage is our cloud object storage offering. It offers a simple, programming interface for you to upload or retrieve as much data as you need at any time from anywhere in the world. It is scalable, quick, and offers strong read-after-write consistency.

Google Cloud Datastore provides a schemeless, non-relational datastore with built-in query support, ACID transactions, automatic scaling, high availability and already supports over 4.5 trillion transactions per month with 99.95% uptime.

Google Cloud SQL is a web service that allows you to create and maintain relational databases in Google’s cloud based on MySQL. Once again, this is a fully-managed service, so you just have to focus on your applications and services and leave the maintenance and administration of the database to us.  

Google BigQuery allows you to run super-fast, SQL-like queries on data that you have moved into Google BigQuery or that is held in Google Cloud Storage. This is a great example of how we are exposing Google’s internal tools to developers through Google Cloud Platform. 15 years ago, when Google started trying to optimize search across the entire Internet, we needed to find better ways to query massive data sets. As we have continued to iterate on this same basic problem, we have developed sophisticated and fast tools to run queries. Now, with Google BigQuery, we are helping make great analytics technology available to the general public.

Google Prediction API is another example of an internal tool that is now available to developers everywhere. The Prediction API allows you to use Google’s pattern-matching and machine-learning capabilities for a broad set of applications and use cases. This can be used to by a retailer to optimize product recommendations, fight spam, develop sales forecasts, or a whole host of other uses.

IT Specialist: Brian, one thing that I found interesting is that you have integrated your Big Data products in your overall Cloud offering.  I mention this because from the perspective of how their solutions are positioned to the enterprise market, some of your competitors actually list their Big Data and Cloud offering as separate products. By contrast is it fair to say that Google is positioning it's Cloud and Big Data products as closely linked? 

Brian: Exactly. One of the things we are trying to do with Google Cloud Platform is break down the traditional industry distinctions between IaaS, PaaS, Analytics, Storage, and everything else. All we care about is creating a great developer and IT experience that allows people to easily do what they want to do for whatever their situation might be.

For people who are just looking for a big data offering, we have that. But for people who want to move more services to the cloud to take advantage of our speed and scalability, we want to make that process as easy as possible. And, most importantly, we want all of our services to work great together.

IT Specialist: There are, of course, quite a number of vendors large and small offering Cloud solutions to enterprises. How does Google see it's Google Cloud Platform differentiating itself versus competitors. To take an example, if a CIO and his team are evaluating Amazon's AWS, Rackspace and Google Cloud, what would be the takeaway you would want enterprise IT professionals to understand about how the Google Cloud Platform stands out?

Brian: Each of the companies that you mentioned have really great cloud computing offerings. What people get when they come to Google is the ability to use and leverage leading computer science advances that have their origins in Google itself. The engineers who work on Google Cloud Platform take these great tools that we have developed to handle Google-scale work and make them available to you. And, as we make advances in computer science, we turn these over to users, so anyone who is using App Engine or BigQuery or anything else within the Cloud Platform suite is going to see new functionality rolling out on a constant basis well before the rest of the industry adopts new technologies based on the papers we regularly release.  

We believe our investments in world leading infrastructure, fast networking, developer tooling, hardware design and software technology will create an integrated offering that will outperform and out innovate the market and give developers and IT Professionals everywhere access to build on Google.

IT Specialist: There has been quite a lot of commentary in the technology world regarding "Cloud price wars" in the IaaS space. Do you agree with this perspective, and does this mean that the Cloud IaaS market is becoming commoditized? If this is true (and maybe it's not) how does the Google respond to this - I would guess you would focus on selling your complete suite of Cloud products enterprises can build on top of your IaaS Google Compute Engine?

Brian: There is no doubt that the innovations and economies of scale delivered by public cloud providers like Google enable very competitive pricing. And, over time, as more and more workloads move to the cloud, prices will continue to fall - both because of more diversity and better utilization but also because advances in technology will reduce operating costs and those savings can be passed back to users.  Getting great performance and value at a competitive price is critical.  But it’s only part of the story.   The raw computing infrastructure itself is just one part of our broader ecosystem of offerings. It’s when you combine that with our platform offering, App Engine, or a whole host of cutting-edge APIs that Google Cloud Platform really stands out.

IT Specialist:  Turning to the future, how do you see Cloud technology evolving, and more specifically, what are the issues and challenges IT managers can expect to face vis-a-vis this evolution?

Brian: As I mentioned at the beginning of this interview, we are in the very early days of cloud computing. It’s estimated that just 1% of IT infrastructure has moved to the cloud at this point. But the case for migration for so many uses is going to become much more compelling. And, as cloud ecosystems become more robust, it will be easier to build exactly what you need. That’s the exciting evolution that is going to take place. Right now, you can use sophisticated tools like BigQuery or Prediction API or Cloud Endpoints with relatively little start-up cost or time. As we continue to build out new tools, the number of great applications is only going to increase.

The biggest challenge?  Being able to adapt quickly to the changing technology landscape and making sure your business is ready.  Google Cloud Platform is here to help with that.

IT Specialist:  Brian, has Google acquired - or are you looking at acquiring - any technology companies that offer a particular enterprise technology that you might want to integrate into the Google Cloud Platform? I say this with the full caveat that I am sure you would not want to publicly comment on any future acquisition plans!

Brian: Well you know I can’t say what’s on the horizon for us!  But rest assured, we are constantly asking ourselves “What’s next?”  We always look to innovations inside Google that we can externalize as well as amazing ideas and talent in the industry that we can acquire, integrate, and improve upon for our users.  Pushing the boundaries of what cloud can do is where we start every day, and there are many ways we will push the envelope even further.

IT Specialist:  Finally, are there any additional points that you would like to highlight about the Cloud market and the Google Cloud Platform specifically?

I think that that we’ve covered a lot of the highlights. I would encourage anyone who is interested to give Cloud Platform a try. You can get a simple application up and running really quickly and if you have any feedback, let us know. In fact, to help you get started, anyone reading this can have $2000 in credits to use on Google Cloud Platform on me.  Redeem it with code itsi-pub.

IT Specialist:  Thank you for your time Brian, and we certainly look forward to future updates from you.


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