Welcome!

Release Management Authors: David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany

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
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CHEETAH Training & Innovation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CHEETAH Training & Innovation is a cloud consulting and IT training firm specializing in improving clients cloud strategies and infrastructures for medium to large companies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and thei...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...