Google: 'Dead Serious' About Enterprise Cloud
SAN FRANCISCO -- Google on Wednesday launched cloud tools it claims will be critical to every business that has a major initial public offering in the future.
Rapid evaluation, cloud, machine learning and crowdsourced data "will be the basis and fundamental to every huge IPO win in five years," Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said at a keynote for GCP NEXT 2016, the Google Cloud Platform Global User Conference Wednesday.
These new technologies, says Google, will create huge new platforms, companies, IPOs and wealth in the same way that the transition to apps created modern corporations such as Uber and Snapchat.
Google is positioning itself as toolmaker to this new generation of big business, and to that end introduced new services to enhance its Google Cloud Platform.
Google is opening access to its Cloud Machine Learning tools used in Google Now, Google Photos and voice recognition, to allow developers to incorporate machine learning capabilities such as voice and image recognition in applications using REST APIs, built using Google's open source TensorFlow machine learning library.
The Cloud Speech API available from Google does speech-to-test conversion in more than 80 languages. By opening those APIs for public consumption, Google is challenging Nuance, which dominates voice recognition.
Google is also enhancing its big data toolkit with long-term storage, and other capabilities.
It's all part of Google's drive to dominate in an industry segment where it has had limited success: the enterprise. Google has a long history of enterprise products -- at the outset of the conference here today, CEO Sundar Pichai namechecked the Google Search Appliance, the company's first enterprise product, introduced in 2002. It's had some success with Google Apps.
But even though Google recently achieved the largest market capitalization of any company in the world -- $508 billion as of Wednesday afternoon -- it has to prove itself to enterprise and cloud customers. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is by far the market leader in public cloud, with 31% market share; Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is a distant second at 9%; IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is third, at 7%, and Google is a distant fourth at 4%, according to 4Q 2015 research from Synergy Research Group.
Diane Greene, the Google SVP heading up the cloud business, is a powerful weapon for Google in its latest attempt to win the enterprise cloud market. Greene, who previously co-founded VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), was named head of the Google cloud business in November.
"We are dead serious about this market," Greene said during a press Q&A Wednesday morning.
Urs Hölzle, Google senior VP technical infrastructure, agreed. "I've been quoted publicly as saying this could be larger than ads, and I very seriously believe it," he said. The addressable enterprise cloud market is much larger than the ads market. (See Google Makes VMware Co-Founder Cloud Boss.)
At a sales meeting this month, Greene told Google sales that they weren't taking corporate customers seriously enough and needed to sell harder, be hungrier and less complacent, according to a BloombergBusiness report. The company plans to hire additional cloud staff and expand into less technical markets.
The cloud news for Google isn't all bad. Google is growing gangbusters -- 108% year-over-year growth, compared with 124% for Microsoft, and 63% for Amazon, according to Synergy Research.
And it's not like Google is bereft of enterprise customers -- at the conference today, Walt Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, along with, Coca-Cola took the stage to issue brief endorsements of working with Google Cloud. Netflix -- a longtime AWS headline customer -- did a presentation on developing Spinnaker, a tool for deploying software objects in the cloud that it uses with AWS, in conjunction with Google.
As a challenger, how does Google differentiate from the market leaders? By being unique -- in particular, supporting a combination of open source and its own proprietary technology. Google also offers 50% better price/performance than its competitors, according to Greene.
Scale is another differentiator. Google offers service around the world, and can help enterprise multinationals extend internationally, Hölzle said. Google offers load balancing that makes workloads location-independent; developers don't have to be aware of where their applications are running.
Extending that global reach, Google said Tuesday it plans to add two new regions -- a US western region in Oregon, and East Asia region in Tokyo, with ten new regions coming online through 2017.
And Google is working hard on partnering with other companies to sell and support cloud services to the enterprise, Greene said.
A third differentiator is ease of management -- "NoOps" deployment, Google VP product management Brian Stevens said.
Like Greene, Stevens brings enterprise experience to Google. Prior to joining Google in 2014, Stevens served as EVP and CTO at Red Hat for 14 years, beginning in 2001.
Snapchat, one of Google Cloud's headline customers, went to 100 million users without hiring an operations team. "The VP of engineering says 'it's just me and one other guy.' It just works. It scales up," Greene said.
"We think it's important that developers are just focused on code. They're dealing with their customers and solving business problems," rather than configuring servers in data centers, Stevens said.
As part of Google's cloud management tools, Google announced beta for Google Stackdriver on Wednesday, a service for monitoring, alerting, and visualizing cloud deployments. Recognizing that companies use multiple cloud services, Stackdriver supports both Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services. Google acquired Stackdriver in 2014. (See Google Buys Cloud Monitoring Startup.)
Next, Google plans to integrate support for virtual machines for on-premises technologies.
Google is undecided whether to offer Microsoft Azure support to Stackdriver, Stevens said. Typical workloads for Google customers have been on Amazon and AWS.
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— Mitch Wagner, , West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading.