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Google takes aim at AWS - now it must prove it is right cloud for the enterprise

Matthew Finnegan | March 24, 2016
Google announces Disney, Coca Cola and Home Depot as customers

Alongside the noise around machine learning and artificial intelligence, the message was clear at Google Cloud Next this week: Google intends to take on Amazon Web Services by attracting more large enterprises.

The user conference saw customer announcements, new features and expansion of its data centre regions all targeted at luring big businesses.

diane greene
Former VMware CEO Diane Greene is leading Google's cloud strategy. Image: Google

It is an area Google has lagged in so far. While it undoubtedly has some of the most advanced technologies - typically created to run its immense internal data centre operations - Google Cloud Platform has generally been more attractive to startups and the most technology-centric businesses.

Simply put, Google's main selling point has been access to its innovative technologies, but for many IT leaders prioritise other factors such as manageability that AWS has excelled at.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai used his keynote presentation to attempt to change these perceptions.

"We don't think of this as technology just for Silicon Valley," he told attendees. "We want this to be for every developer and every business no matter what size or location."

His ambitions were backed up a string of customer wins in the run up to Cloud Next in San Francisco. Senior execs highlighted Disney, Coca Cola and Home Depot as new customers, though there was no mention of reports of Apple moving some of its systems to Google's cloud.

It also made numerous of announcements at the event to boost its enterprise credentials:

  • Expansion of its data centre network globally. Starting with Oregon, US, and Tokyo, Japan, Google plans to set up 12 new facilities by the end of 2017. 
  • Partnerships with BMC, Pivotal, Red Hat, SAP, Splunk and others to integrate software with GCP, as well as joining up with systems integrators such as Accenture and PwC to help enterprise businesses start to move workloads to the cloud.
  • Audit Logging tools are due to launch in May to help track usage of GCP. Google Stackdriver was also unveiled, offering businesses a unified tool for logging, monitoring and diagnostics for applications on AWS and Google's cloud.
  • Other enterprise feature including identity access management, encryption keys and improved networking functionality.

Ocado Technologies general manager, James Donkin, said there is now greater "alignment to enterprise features" from Google.

"Identity management is hugely important to us and fine grain access control...it is stuff that we have been interested in for a while now," he told ComputerworldUK.

Donkin, who is also an AWS customer, says that Google is having to play catch up with its rival in terms of enterprise features, but is making good progress.

"AWS has the advantage that it had identity management there from very early," he said.

 

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