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Google's biggest cloud challenge? Serving enterprises

Matt Asay | March 30, 2016
Google's transformation into a cloud leader is as much about company culture as it is about tech -- and probably more

Balanced against such progress, however, is Google's scattered approach to projects, generally. As Knorr summarizes, "Outside of its search and advertising business, Google has often seemed all over the place, spinning up quirky projects and pulling the plug on others that people relied on." That's not the right way to win friends and influence people in the enterprise.

Nor is it a matter of technology -- it's a DNA thing. That same quirky and frenetic innovation that could land us in a future of self-driving cars is exactly the wrong way to win over more conservative enterprises.

Even on technology, however, it's worth noting that Google Cloud Platform has a ways to go. As Cockcroft spotlights, "For new server-less computing and machine learning applications Google have a compelling story, but they don't appeal to the kind of mainstream enterprise applications that are currently migrating to AWS" -- you know, the far less sexy but much more pervasive applications that power the enterprise.

He continues:

I think GCP is making good progress, but it has a long way to go -- and if anything, the platform is falling further behind AWS and Azure rather than catching up. They are able to leverage the innovations and scale of the Google mothership for new applications in analytics and machine learning, but AWS is innovating faster in more areas and has huge scale itself, so that's not enough.

All fair points (even if Google's Miles Ward strenuously disagrees), but ultimately I don't believe the cloud battle comes down to technology. Rather, the winner will be the company that makes it easiest for conservative enterprises to unshackle themselves from their servers and trust the public cloud.

Gartner analyst Lydia Leong hints at this in suggesting why Microsoft Azure has been so successful despite lacking the technology chops to compete head-to-head with AWS. ("Azure almost always loses tech evals to AWS hands-down, but guess what? They still win deals. Business isn't tech-only.") For Microsoft, which already owns the affections of the CIO, the company has to show it can innovate in the cloud. Google has limited history with the same CIOs, so it needs to not only show it can build cool tech, but also execute according to enterprise requirements.

That means being a bit boring -- predictable, safe.

Amazon has managed this transition. Google, filled with some of the world's smartest, most talented engineers, can, too. But let's be clear: This transformation into a cloud leader is at least as much about company culture as it is about tech, and probably more.

Source: Infoworld 


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