Even though Google is one of the pioneers in Cloud Computing, they were late to enter the enterprise market. In the last couple of years, they started focussing on enterprise customers and, in the recent Google Cloud Next Conference at San Francisco, they showcased their determination to go after the enterprise market. Compared to last year, this year’s event was a big affair with a slew of announcements on new products and features being the highlight of the event.
Targeting the enterprise
In this conference, Google tried to appease enterprise customers by attempting to speak the language they like to listen. Whether it is talking about multi-cloud or partnering with SAP or talking about the engineering support options, Google tried to appeal to enterprises moving to cloud. One of the criticisms about Google Cloud was they appeal to vendors like Snapchat and Evernote but not much to traditional enterprises. They tried to negate this by lining up vendors like HSBC, Colgate, Schlumberger, Disney, The Home Depot, etc.. Listening to all these customers, I saw a common thread on their interest with Google Cloud. It is about the potential for Machine Learning workloads aided by powerful big data offerings from Google.
Google’s enterprise push focussed on
- Large datacenter footprint: They announced support for new regions worldwide such as California, Montreal, and Netherlands.
- Security: With the announcement of Identity Aware Proxy and Data Loss Prevention API, along with making other security features in GA, Google is promising enterprises that they can trust Google cloud.
- Infrastructure reliability: Google highlighted 99.999 percent uptime to give confidence to enterprise customers on the robustness of their infrastructure. Rishidot Research strongly advises their clients to focus on resiliency in their application architectures rather than worry about infrastructure reliability.
I have long been advocating that Google’s path to relevance in the cloud is through Machine Learning and AI. I heard the same from various enterprise customers in this conference. One of Google’s strengths is in big data and, with the announcements related to Machine Learning, they are positioning themselves as the go-to cloud for ML workloads. Google’s machine learning engine and Google Vision API is now generally available. As a part of Vision API, Google is exposing the metadata as a service so that it helps app developers to use the API to gain Google Photos like detection capabilities. This along with the Video Intelligence API puts them as the top cloud destination for ML and AI workloads. Expect to see more startups and enterprises flocking Google Cloud for their ML and AI needs.
- Data Center investments is their asset and the fact that their regions are connected by a private network gives them an edge and enterprise credentials
- Machine Learning and AI are their strengths and will give them an edge over both AWS and Azure
- Google is well positioned to offer the best in class security with their assets and expertise. But jury is out on whether it is enough to convince enterprise customers
- They are yet to gain widespread enterprise traction. We would love to see customers moving “all in” with Google cloud
- Even though they have beefed up Google App Engine, it is yet to attract significant attention
- Their multi-cloud pitch shows their weakness in the cloud market. Even though multi-cloud is fast becoming a reality, a public cloud provider using the pitch in high decibels is more indicative of their challenges in the market
- They are still in a weak spot compared to AWS when it comes to Functions as a Service. After seeing the success of all the AWS Lambda sessions in the last re:invent, I expected Google to come out swinging. Even though their announcement regarding Firebase integration with Google Cloud Functions offers promise, they have a long way to go before they can catch up with AWS Lambda
- Even though AWS has the runaway lead, the infrastructure market is huge and tons of legacy targets available for both Microsoft and Google. Google is positioning themselves to gain significant portion of the remaining cloud market
- With the success of Tensorflow in the community, Google has the potential to attract a significant share of Machine Learning workloads. With their advantages in AI, they have an opportunity to become the cloud of choice for not just ML and AI focussed startups but also the enterprise customers
- Their inter-region network and security focus will help them gain credibility with the enterprises
- Google’s go to market strategy to attract enterprise customers is still not very convincing. Yes, Google cloud’s top leadership is packed with proven enterprise leaders from VMware, Red Hat, etc. but there is a lack of clarity on their approach. They are neither taking the AWS approach to enterprise customers nor taking a traditional enterprise path. They seem to be playing a middle ground and it runs the risk of not being attractive enough for enterprises
- I love their Engineering Support announcement and how they are trying to incorporate AI into customer success. But some of the requirements for their support model could be upsetting the enterprise customers and may come back to bite them. I fully understand why these requirements are needed from a support logistics point of view but we will have to wait and see if it works
Google has started its journey to lure enterprise customers to their cloud. They are definitely growing up in this path but they still have to go a long way before emerging as a strong player. The next two years will be critical for Google Cloud to convince enterprises to trust their cloud. The key to their success lies in convincing enterprises that they are the destination for most of their workloads than giving a message that they are one of the providers in the multi-cloud era. We will have to wait and watch whether they can be a credible contender to AWS and Azure
Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, Oracle Cloud, Digital Ocean
Disclosure: Google paid for my travel and stay during the conference
SWOT Analysis Source: https://github.com/rishidot/SWOT/blob/master/Google/Google-Cloud.md