Google is forging interconnection links with leading international carriers to help link enterprise customers with the Google Cloud Platform.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is partnering with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), IX Reach, Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), Tata Communications Ltd. , Telx Group Inc. and Zayo Group Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO).
Carrier Interconnect is one of three new connectivity options for enterprises to connect to Google's worldwide fiber network and cloud services. Google is also launching direct peering, "a fast network pipe directly to Google in over 70 points of presence in 33 countries around the world," according to an email statement from Google. And, next month, Google plans to introduce VPN Connectivity, to allow customers to create a secure line directly to Google over the public Internet.
In addition, Google plans price cuts on network egress of 47% for its Asia-Pacific customers, excepting China and Australia (sorry, China and Australia).
It is also integrating with the Fastly Cloud Accelerator to improve performance of Google's cloud apps over the public Internet.
Google Cloud Platform, at the heart of the interconnections, is the umbrella brand for all cloud services. It includes the Google App Engine, its platform-as-a-service offering, as well as the Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and the Big Query data analysis service.
"This is really the first time we're talking about cloud networking," says Morgan Dollard, product lead for cloud networking for Google. "We're talking about networking as one of the core pillars of the Google Cloud Platform -- compute, storage and networking." Compute and storage are becoming commodities, leaving networking as a place to differentiate, Dollard says.
What's missing from Google's cloud interconnect? Other cloud vendors. Enterprise customers aren't just looking to connect to a single cloud provider; they want to choose best-of-breed cloud services and connect to all of them. At least, that's true according to a recent Verizon study. (See Verizon: Cloud Users Seek 'Best of Breed'.)
Naturally enough, Google is focused on connecting enterprises. "Generally speaking, what we're focusing on is our Google Cloud Platform, to give customers the connectivity options they need to connect to the Google cloud," says Dollard. "Customers will have to make their own choices with regard to connecting to any other third party."
That's where Google's carrier partners come in.
Verizon, for example, partners "with other cloud service providers such as Google, Microsoft and [Amazon Web Services] to ensure an optimal user experience for organizations moving workloads to the cloud, with many organizations using more than one cloud provider," Shawn Hakl, who heads up networking platforms and managed services products for Verizon, said in an email. (See Verizon Connects Cloud With On-Demand WAN.)
Likewise, Equinix offers cloud interconnect with Microsoft in 16 markets, Amazon in eight, and now Google in 15.
With the Google deal, "the customer gets quick activation, dedicated capacity, predictable performance, as well as normalization of all the IP connectivity from us to get to Google in 15 markets globally," Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi said in a phone interview.
The deals with cloud partners help Equinix's enterprise customers move from pubic clouds with Google, Microsoft, Amazon, to private clouds hosted at Equinix, to hybrid clouds that move back and forth and between different cloud providers as demand requires, Tarazi says. (See Equinix Brings Exchange Model to Cloud.)
The deals with carriers help Google catch up with its competitors, particularly Amazon and Microsoft.
"Google's Cloud Interconnect is similar to Amazon's Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure's ExpressRoute," Gartner analyst Lydia Leong said in an email. It's also similar to many other IaaS offerings. "Google needs this capability not just competitively, but in order to enable a broader range of use cases. This is a 'catch up' move, not a groundbreaking one."
The initiative allows Google's customers to use their choice of carrier, Leong said.
In addition to the carrier relationships and connectivity options, Google is also rolling out version 1.5 of its Andromeda SDN software stack for Google Cloud Platform, connecting networks across the Google Cloud multi-tenant environment. Version 1.5 improves TCP throughput and connections per second. (See Google's Andromeda Relieves Cloud Strain.)