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Why Google hasn't taken off in the cloud yet

Brandon Butler | Jan. 14, 2016
And what the new head of Google’s cloud is going to do about it.

What’s more, Google is committed to price-competitiveness with AWS and Azure.

Realistically though, it will come down to products and service offerings targeted at enterprises. Schachter says enterprise customers have found success using Google’s cloud to manage data at scale, for example, by using the company's Big Query analytics-as-a-service offering. “We have an appreciation for big data,” he says. Customers also frequently use Google in no-ops (no operations) environments where developers employ the company’s advanced application development and container platforms App Engine and Kubernetes to quickly create and run massively scalable apps without provisioning infrastructure components.

No one questions the technical boldness of Google’s cloud, but some believe the company still needs to build up core infrastructure services to make them “enterprise-ready.” Independent cloud analyst Kurt Marko says Google could focus on features like data warehousing, application migration and integration services, single sign-on, authentication, virtual private networks and case studies of large organizations running “enterprise apps” on GCP. “[The company] needs to make Google Cloud look like a seamless extension of the enterprise in the way Microsoft does with Azure and Windows Server,” Marko says.

Google could mimic a successful Microsoft cloud strategy to appeal to enterprises. Microsoft has packaged IaaS Azure with its even more popular Office 365 cloud email and collaboration SaaS tools. It uses SaaS to sell IaaS. When Greene was hired to head Google’s cloud, she was given purview over not just Google Cloud Platform IaaS, but Google for Work and Google Apps too – which includes popular SaaS tools Gmail, Docs and Drive. Schachter, the Google for Work vice president, says the company will increase its cross-selling of these offerings.

“It’s incumbent upon us to bring that right blend of products and services, to expand the ecosystem and help organizations make that migration,” Schachter says.

Some users think Google has an opportunity. Brian McCallion, an independent consultant who helps large enterprises work with AWS’s cloud, says there is no shortage of customers clamoring to sign on with AWS. But, he does think there is room in the market for more than one provider.

Microsoft, he says, has rubbed some customers the wrong way with a culture over the past two decades of proprietary lock-in via Windows. Some people are just against using Azure for that reason.

That presents an opening for Google, McCallion says. Amazon has such huge demand across so many industries, that Google could find a way to offer some niche services to specific vertical markets – say finance or health care. “It would be hard for Google to offer everything Amazon offers,” he says. “But it could make some strategic investments in certain areas.”

When evaluating providers, Google is included in the conversation, McCallion says. If all Google really needs is more attention brought to its Google Cloud Platform, then the hiring of Greene could do just that.


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