Google Cloud Platform: The AWS Challenger?
Google Cloud Malaysia recently hosted a cloud briefing session at their office, for members of the IT community. IT heads and managers from different industries, and even rival and cloud providers in coopetition; IBM and Oracle; came together with the Intention to be Transparent and Share Knowledge, at Level 20, Axiata Tower.
Despite it being Yuletide season, and the Intent being to share knowledge and experiences, it was Google which was the biggest giver. In one attendee’s opinion, IBM and Oracle were literally under the radar during the event.
He also opined that the other cloud vendors, Oracle, IBM, AWS, Microsoft, have been too business-minded when approaching the local IT user community, as opposed to listening and trying to understand the different industries’ unique business problems, and coming up with solutions.
“I have to give credit to Google for sharing, and for being humble enough to say they had failed in the early days. After this, I’m warming up a little towards them because they had an enterprise-level talk, and also shared how they are going about it,” the attendee also said.
Google has come a long way from 18 years ago, when it tried to index the World Wide Web. Today it has a total of over 7 billion users, spanning across seven cloud products like Search, Gmail, YouTube, Chrome browser and so on.
As all of this is happening, it is getting closer and closer (if not already) to making all of that Internet traffic traverse only through their own global network of 8 submarine cables; this comprises of up to 40-percent of the world’s Internet traffic today. So, when one thinks about it, Google’s aim to control everything about their services from chip to cloud, is very viable.
Google has its own proprietary network layer with network switches that are 100 times the speed of typical data centre networks, and a purpose-built Titan computer chip that would validate boot loaders among other things.
Google has had to adapt the way they do security, to be able to respond to cyber threats with speed and agility.
And the word ‘planet-scale’ attack surface comes to mind, when one thinks of the over 1 billion users Google has, using each of their seven cloud services.
One of the force multipliers that Google employs is containerisation, and some of the things this approach has achieved for Google, for example, is being able to block 10 million (spam) emails every minute.
This speaks to the size and scale of Google’s infrastructure, services and capability.
Google Cloud’s business story
But besides the technologies and solutions that Google Cloud is bringing into enterprises like HSBC, Boeing, and Schlumberger, Google Cloud has a compelling story in terms of the leadership that is steering its helm now.
For the past three years, Google has invested up to USD29billion into their cloud platform, so that it is able to extend to serve Google’s enterprise customers.
But, still Google’s cloud business unit was below the radar. This carried on until November 2015, when it hired VMware’s founder, Diane Greene, to be its CEO. She in turn, managed to snatch Intel’s data centre leader, Diane Bryant, to be Google Cloud’s new chief operating officer.
Last April, Greene also declared that Google Cloud would catch up to current cloud leader, AWS, in 2022. Her opinion is that Google Cloud has a huge advantage, in terms of its data centres, infrastructure, availability, security, and how they automate things.
Just a few months ago, she also claimed Google has over 100, 000 miles of fibre optic cables, and that it adds a new data centre region, about once a month.
Despite having ambitions to be a data centre hub for the region, the big cloud players like Google have shied away from building data centres in Malaysia.
A local expert had commented before, that global cloud players have requirements, “that are far higher than what most data centres in Malaysia can handle.”
To date, no truly global cloud player has come to Malaysia, except for Alibaba Cloud, last November.
However, things are taking a turn for the better, and Alibaba Cloud may be joined by one or two more global cloud players (AWS?), in the near future.