Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash, 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
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to connect your brand strategy with the right consumer. 24Notion ranked #12 on Corporate Social Responsibility - Book of List.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of companies worldwide-from publishers and broadcasters, to enterprises, marketing agencies and household-name brands. Building on its established design leadership, Adobe enables customers not o...