Google Cloud’s enterprise journey started with Diane Greene and the ‘One Google’ strategy
When Google entered the public cloud market it leveraged the company’s positive reputation among developers as well as technological expertise around machine learning and data analytics from its Search business. However, as a cloud vendor, the company had yet to establish a reputation or a business model that appealed to enterprises. Customer engagements were largely disjointed as G Suite and Google Cloud Platform were sold by different sales teams, making it cumbersome for enterprises to adopt multiple offerings within Google Cloud’s portfolio. To attract and win enterprise customers, Google Cloud hired Diane Greene as CEO in 2015 and created its “One Google” enterprise strategy in which Google Cloud planned to unify its SaaS and PaaS offerings in sales and engineering. Greene’s experience as the co-founder of VMware made her particularly qualified to lead the new strategy, but she was unable to establish the business messaging that large enterprises seek. However, Google Cloud’s value proposition to enterprises has improved over the past three years under Greene’s leadership with a degree of portfolio integration and technology advancement in areas such as machine learning, analytics and Kubernetes.
Incremental improvements are the backbone of Google Cloud’s enterprise-grade platform, Anthos
Over the past year Google Cloud’s momentum has continued to accelerate: Thomas Kurian was appointed CEO, the company partnered with large vendors such as Atos and introduced Google Cloud Services platform, which included hybrid capabilities with Google Cloud’s GKE and its new managed on-premise private cloud, GKE On-Prem. While many of these developments were noteworthy on their own, Google Cloud’s Anthos Platform, announced at Google Next in April, brings together the vendor’s technological advancements and partnerships, as well as new capabilities and infrastructure agnosticism that truly appeals to enterprises.
At its core, Anthos is a rebrand of Google Cloud Services Platform, a multicloud management toolset first announced in July 2018. In addition to GKE On-Prem’s general availability through Anthos, Google Cloud also launched Anthos Migrate, which enables customers to manage workloads running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Anthos Migrate automates the migration of virtual machines from on-premises or cloud environments into containers in GKE, which helps simplify migration to Anthos.
The ability to migrate from — or run workloads on — AWS and Microsoft IaaS in addition to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is vital to Google Cloud’s enterprise strategy, as 30% of enterprises plan to increase the number of IaaS providers in their hybrid environments over the next two years, according to TBR’s 2H18 Cloud Infrastructure & Platforms Customer Research. Further, enabling these organizations to containerize legacy applications on premises in Anthos helps alleviate virtual machine maintenance and OS patching pain points for enterprise IT departments. Migrating to Anthos also enables customers to leverage offerings such as Google Cloud AI in GCP while keeping certain workloads on premises, which is particularly beneficial for organizations facing corporate, government or industry regulations.
Google Cloud’s partner ecosystem will support, sell and augment Anthos to drive customer adoption
Because Anthos is a completely software suite, customers can deploy it on their existing hardware rather than replacing on-premises assets with new infrastructure. For customers that have existing hardware or plan to buy additional infrastructure, Google Cloud hardware partners such as Cisco, and hyperconverged infrastructure partners including Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel and Lenovo are making their offerings compatible with Anthos, enabling customers to configure or purchase the underlying hardware based on their storage, memory and performance requirements.
System integrators including Accenture, Atos, Cognizant, Deloitte, HCL Technologies, NTT DATA, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro are also developing services and solutions to provide managed services for Anthos, helping Google Cloud customers integrate Anthos into their hybrid environments. TBR expects these partners will drive adoption of Anthos, as they bring Anthos to market and sell the suite to their customer bases, helping expand Google Cloud’s addressable market.
IBM’s Kubernetes-based IBM Cloud Private offers a similar value proposition, but Google Cloud’s expertise in Kubernetes may help fend off competition from IBM, as well as Microsoft and AWS
Google Cloud’s most formidable competitor regarding Anthos is IBM and its Kubernetes-based PaaS offering IBM Cloud Private, which is gaining traction in the market as evidenced by the vendor’s 200 customer signings in 4Q18. Additionally, IBM’s tenure as a trusted enterprise provider makes the vendor a favorable choice for many organizations. However, IBM is also seen by many enterprises as a legacy on-premises provider, whereas Google Cloud is a born-in-the-cloud business with a strictly cloud-oriented business model. In the public cloud market, Google Cloud is growing at a faster rate than IBM, showcasing Google Cloud’s superior perception in the market. In addition to its improving perception among large enterprises, Google Cloud can leverage its reputation among developers to outcompete IBM in the small- to medium-enterprise space.
AWS’ Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes and Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes Service are Kubernetes-based PaaS offerings similar to GKE, but the on-premises capabilities for each offering lag behind those of Anthos. Azure AKS will become available on Azure Stack, but the plans to create Azure AKS on Azure Stack were just announced in February. Amazon EKS can connect to Kubernetes apps running on premises, but the capabilities are more limited than those of Anthos as AWS has not yet developed an Amazon EKS on AWS Outposts. TBR expects Google Cloud will be able to fend off competition from IBM, AWS and Microsoft, as Google Cloud — as the inventor of the technology and with a network of more than 20 ISV partners with Kubernetes apps in the GCP Marketplace — has a prowess that may help swing customers in its favor.