Three Things You Need To Know About The Google Cloud Platform

By Christopher Wilder - March 21, 2016
Googleplex (Photo source: Pixabay) Over the past two years we have seen the market for public cloud become hyper-competitive. The field of players has expanded and retracted exponentially. Industry stalwarts like Inc.’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Inc. Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Corporation Azure have solidified their dominance in this space. Others have entered this market only to retreat and focus on either hybrid, private, co-locating/hosting, or any number of cloud service machinations. Each public cloud provider has its strengths and weaknesses. For example (and a gross over-simplification), AWS is strong on compute and infrastructure, Microsoft Azure on applications and OS, and Google in the data analytics and storage. This article is the first in a series of profiles outlining the value propositions, strengths, weaknesses, positioning, and insights into the key players in public, private, hybrid, cloud & managed service provider (CSP/MSP) markets. Below are three things you need to know about the Google Cloud Platform.
  1. Google is a data company that happens to have a cloud platform. At the heart of Google’s DNA are big data analytics and management. I believe Google’s entry into the public cloud market was largely defensive and to support demand from their customer base to extend their services. The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a solid solution for companies that require more sophisticated data-centric solutions. As the market settles on three main players (Google, Microsoft Azure, and AWS), Google’s Cloud Platform will need to become more strategic and integrated with their core offerings. Even with Oracle's lackluster announcement of their public cloud entry, I believe Google will remain as a one of the top three players in this space.
  1. Google has struggled to gain credibility and mindshare within the enterprise. Even with the VMware partnership and the hiring of VMware’s co-founder Diane Greene Google continues to struggle with credibility in the enterprise business. I believe Google will follow-suit with Cisco and begin an aggressive acquisition strategy to augment their lacking enterprise functionality. Areas of initial interest should focus on data-intensive enterprise applications like customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), field service automation (FSA), enterprise asset management (EAM), and human capital management (HCM). Successful vendors in each respective space are pursuing data-intensive business strategies such as IoT/wearables and analytics that would benefit from a data-centric cloud platform. Google could also benefit from acquiring top cloud-based enterprise applications vendors like Workday (HCM), ServiceMax (FSA) or Netsuite (ERP/CRM).
  • From a datacenter and infrastructure perspective, it would not surprise me to see Google make a run at a major acquisition target like VMware (if Dell is willing to get rid of a cash-cow), or an up-and-coming infrastructure play to help manage VMs, cloud migration or a solid management solution to show how serious they are as a player in this space.
  • Further, I expect to see partnerships, much like the ones with AWS and Azure, with large hybrid providers like Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Rackspace Hosting would also make an interesting partner, as they are finding success helping their customers migrate to the cloud on not just AWS and Azure but with Red Hat's OpenStack too.
  1. Google will continue to find success within retail, mobility, IoT, and SMB. With the explosion of the data-driven business, Google will continue its success within established and emerging information intensive organizations. Further, as Google builds dominance in mobility, I anticipate Google to bring leadership to the WebRTC market, extend their mobility dominance, and create a marketplace for the development of IoT applications starting with the SMB and eventually moving to the enterprise—all predicated on point number 2. The keys to strong advertising are rooted in good data and analytics. Google is the best in this regard and they will continue to thrive.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all cloud provider, and Google knows this. Google’s position as number three in the public cloud market, behind AWS and Microsoft, gives them the ability to take risks and do things their larger competitors will not. That said, it is unclear if the public cloud is something that will become strategic enough to take a “go big or go home” stance. Google has positioned themselves as a viable option and alternative to having all your proverbial eggs in one cloud. It will be interesting to see where the chips fall.
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