Click here to close now.


Release Management Authors: Jnan Dash, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Release Management , @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Google’s Enterprise Problem

Should enterprises change the way they think in order to take full advantage of the Cloud?

Compared to the insanity of today’s political environment, the world of Cloud Computing seems downright placid. The calmness on the surface, however, often hides turbulence underneath.

Take the hullabaloo surrounding comments that Greg DeMichillie, Director of Product Management, Cloud Platform at Google made on a recent GigaOM podcast – or more precisely, comments that he didn’t make. GigaOM’s Derrick Harris asked DeMichillie whether Google Cloud Platform might go the way of, say Google Reader, an example of a product Google killed in spite of its market traction because Google felt that Reader didn’t fit into its strategy. DeMichillie replied that essentially developers didn’t have anything to worry about, because Google Cloud Platform externalizes what Google uses internally. “There’s no scenario in which Google suddenly decides, ‘Gee, I don’t think we need to think about storage anymore or computing anymore’,” DeMichillie said.

However, what he didn’t say was that Google was committed to the Google Cloud Platform long term. This omission caused various analysts and pundits to pounce, leading to Google’s PR company walking back DeMichillie’s comments – that is, if it’s even possible to walk back something an executive didn’t actually say. Enterprises want futureproofed technology, say the pundits. Enterprises are in IT for the long haul, after all. There’s no way they’d go for a Cloud the service provider wasn’t fully committed to!

Ever the contrarian, ZapThink doesn’t agree with these pundits. Google’s reluctance to commit to the Cloud Platform long term isn’t an indication that Google doesn’t understand the enterprise Cloud buyer, or that Google isn’t committed to serving their enterprise customers long term. Rather, it’s more of a cultural difference between Google and typical enterprises. Fair enough – but won’t a cultural disconnect be a problem for Google as they ramp up their enterprise Cloud offering? The answer is no, but understanding why requires understanding the broader context of enterprise Cloud Computing.

Google’s Cultural Context

In an earlier ZapFlash, I explained how Google’s and Amazon’s lack of cultural baggage positioned both companies to compete well against the telcos. The story in today’s ZapFlash, however, is more about the culture that Google champions, rather than the cultural baggage it lacks. Over the years, Google has revealed its culture in many ways:

  • Google’s willingness to try anything. Not only are Googlers expected to spend a sizable chunk of their time on pet projects, but they love to run many of those pet projects up the flagpole to see which customers will salute. Some ideas take off, others founder, and many find themselves in a seemingly never-ending beta state. True, there are products like Google Reader or iGoogle that gain traction, only to be pulled from the market. But many more ideas take off and remain lucrative, adding to Google’s already impressive bottom line.

  • Google’s Silicon Valley, millennial-centric culture. The idea of two forty-somethings interning at Google is so ludicrous, Twentieth Century Fox actually produced a feature comedy based entirely on this premise. Need I say more?

  • Don’t be evil. More than an informal motto, don’t be evil is one of Google’s core values. While this principle calls for integrity and honesty, those characteristics don’t differentiate Google from millions of other organizations who also champion such traits. What makes this motto special at Google is how people within the organization actually act upon it as Google has grown into the global powerhouse it is today. By all accounts, this motto encourages Googlers to make decisions based upon what’s best for the customer, where “the customer” refers to an idealized notion, rather than necessarily referring to specific paying customers. For example, Google fastidiously tweaks their search algorithm to frustrate the efforts of search engine optimizers, whose goal in life is to game the system. Such optimization is better for search users in general, as well as for the Internet overall. In this context, all users of the Internet are Google “customers.”

  • The culture of scale. The reason Google is a Cloud player in the first place is because they figured out how to scale their infrastructure. But there’s more to Google’s culture of scale than the infrastructure story itself. Everything they bring to market must leverage this scale, which means that everything they work on must have massive scale as a core enabler. This trait gives new meaning to the maxim think big.

Roll up these cultural characteristics and DeMichillie’s perspective begins to make sense. True, the Google Compute Engine and Google App Engine began as experiments that leveraged Google’s massive scale. Now that enterprises are taking advantage of these tools, Google clearly won’t leave such customers out in the cold, since doing so would “be evil.” But will these products remain essentially unchanged five or ten years out? Nobody knows. From Google’s perspective, DeMichillie’s comments were right on target. Enterprise developers shouldn’t have anything to worry about, right?

The Bigger Picture

There’s more to this story, of course – and the larger story is a drum that ZapThink has been beating for a while now. At its core, Cloud Computing is a phenomenon  of the Internet and the broader world of Web scale. It’s no mistake that companies like Amazon and Salesforce have defined the Cloud marketplace, as both vendors were born of the Web and live and breathe horizontal scalability, basic availability, eventual consistency, and decentralized, hypermedia-oriented architectures. Such Web scale environments are inherently dynamic.

Legacy enterprise IT environments, in contrast, focus on vertical scalability, high availability transactionality that requires immediate consistency, and centralized, middleware-centric architectures. And while such legacy environments have managed for the most part to meet the needs of global enterprises, they are inherently static, inflexible and expensive to maintain.

Cloud Computing is bringing the world of Web scale to enterprise legacy environments one way or another. Nobody wants the Cloud to be more like enterprise legacy. On the contrary: everyone wants enterprise legacy to be more like the Cloud.

Google understands this bigger picture with every fiber of its being. The world of Web scale is Google’s culture and its foundation, both its technical foundation and its raison d’être as a business. But more importantly, the world of Web scale is at the core of the value proposition it brings to customers – including its inherently dynamic nature. It doesn’t make sense to Google to bring a “futureproofable” offering to the enterprise. Instead, they are living their “don’t be evil” mantra by expecting and even encouraging enterprise customers to move to the world of Web scale, even though it’s inherently dynamic.

The ZapThink Take
Analysts love chopping up broader markets like Cloud Computing into ever-smaller market chunks like IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. In fact, the whole Cloud Computing market itself is a somewhat arbitrary construct. Analysts take this divide and conquer approach, of course, so they can write about individual markets.

When markets have matured, such slicing and dicing often makes sense. But as I’ve discussed before, because Cloud Computing is an emerging market (or set of markets), it doesn’t fit well into the spreadsheet-driven market models the analysts use. Nevertheless, most vendors try to shoehorn themselves into the various analyst buckets even in emerging markets, if for no other reason than to encourage analyst coverage.

Google, however, doesn’t like playing this game. In fact, when DeMichillie discussed Google Compute Engine and Google App Engine, he didn’t use terms like IaaS and PaaS. Instead, he discussed application hosting, storage, and development platform as the core elements of Google’s Cloud Platform – a categorization that makes sense to Google, but doesn’t necessarily line up with analyst market models.

This phrasing on his part had a deeper meaning. Google isn’t committed to IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS – or even the Cloud itself – as market categories. Instead, Google is committed to running many things up the flagpole to see what meets customer needs in a scalable, non-evil manner. If the market categories end up different in ten years, then so be it. What matters is that Google’s innovation is customer-focused – yes, even on enterprise customers.

So, should we expect futureproofed offerings from Google? Absolutely not. But more importantly, we don’t want futureproofed offerings from Google. We want innovative offerings with a laser focus on delivering customer value at scale. Can Google learn to tell this story better to enterprise buyers? Absolutely. But don’t let their culture-driven approach to market messaging interfere with your understanding of Google’s core value proposition.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@ThingsExpo Stories
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.