Why Google Needs Consistency for Enterprise Cloud Customers

Remember Google Buzz? Orkut? Wave? Reader? Google Talk? Then there was Google Picasa…which became photos…so far. There are sites dedicated to what we call the Google Graveyard. This doesn’t even get into the Google Glass, Site Search, Search Appliance and others. I logged into my Google Analytics platform today and found it to be a completely different UI and UX than I have ever seen before…without warning. I used to use Google Hangouts On Air for the Virtual Design Master event every year until this year when HOA no longer works, so I have had to move to using Zoom and pushing to a Youtube Live Event.

The reason that I bring these up is that we have an optics problem with Google which may affect how many potential enterprise cloud customers choose to adopt, or rather to not adopt, Google Cloud Platform. One of the big things that traditional enterprise customers enjoy is the warm embrace of platforms that have consistency. Google has tended to have some challenges around product changes and the public face of those changes. Google most likely has lots of data backing the decision to shift or sunset a product.

Can GCP make Enterprises Greene with Envy?

Diane Greene has come over to Google by way of her most recent startup Bebop being acquired. It’s my opinion that the startup was the packaging in which they could acquire the real value, which is Diane herself. Diane has a proven past success in launching a little virtualization concept into the juggernaut that became VMware. The most recent Google Cloud Next event featured a strong presence of a new focus on the enterprise with an aim to become the number 1 public cloud provider within five years.

A quote that stood out from the event was “I actually think we have a huge advantage in our data centers, in our infrastructure, availability, security and how we automate things. We just haven’t packaged it up perfectly yet.” which highlights the challenge that Google will face. The need for many enterprises is a packaged and neatly consumable product that we know we can adopt and maintain with long support plans and clean deprecation.

There is little doubt of the ability of Google to develop incredible products which will give birth to next-generation application infrastructure that few can rival. The only doubt comes around whether enterprise audiences are going to be ready to adapt to the speed at which Google innovates their product set. If Kubernetes is any sign of how well we are leaning in, then it is very easy to see that Google can take the market on and win a significant share.

Google Cloud Platform will be a juggernaut in the public cloud realm. That is a fact which is being proven out by some major customers moving into the platform already and many more dabbling. Multi-cloud is the new cloud, so GCP will inevitably become a key player in that strategy because of it’s underlying GKE product to support Kubernetes workloads. In my opinion, the multi-cloud approach enabled by containerized workloads with an enterprise-grade scheduler is going to become the goal we should strive for.

The only question is how long it will take before we can all put our trust in one product that Google has lacked in, which is consistency.

OpenStack: The Black Album

This year will signal the shift towards a more enterprise-oriented OpenStack ecosystem. It will come in many ways. At the same time that we see the warmer embrace from enterprise customers, a long sought after market, we also see divisive chatter among the community that OpenStack is at a dangerous crossroads in its direction of development.

Success Divides the Fan Base

metallica-blackWhen San Francisco metal band Metallica released their Black album in 1991, it was met with critical acclaim, but also with disdain and resistance from many long-time fans of the band.

Why did commercial success suddenly signal that the band was no longer the band that had drawn so much of a fan base up to that point? Had they truly “sold out” as the early fans seemed to think? Or, had they just evolved?

With the guidance of successful producer, Bob Rock, Metallica reached 16 million copies sold of their fifth studio album, and an entirely new fan base. This was what allowed them to grow, evolve, and sustain their careers and brand for 24 years more. And there is no sign that they are done either.

In my opinion, OpenStack is looking for its Bob Rock, and will find it this year.

OpenStack Will Move Up the Stack

As the IaaS layers solidify, it opens the door for many of the growing efforts to embrace PaaS and container integration under the big tent.

This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road. Less effort on plumbing, and more of a concerted effort to move to what really matters, which is the application layers.

Let’s be honest, the greatest buildings in the world are only great because they draw tenants. A beautifully designed building that sits empty is one that will fail. The same goes for private cloud and IT infrastructure.

Cloud Management Muddiness

what-exactly-is-a-cmpToo many products are being touted as Cloud Management Platforms. They aren’t. They are mostly orchestration frameworks that enable some workload automation, but the name is misleading.

Cloud Management implies that the cloud itself is also within the control of the platform. None of those to date have bridged that gap. I believe that we need to label the CMP as an AWMP. The Application and Workload Management Platform is one that brings the orchestration closer to self-service.

When I see vRealize, CloudForms, and AWS tools in the same graph, I know that we are using the wrong measurements to classify a CMP.

The need for vendors to be labeled as “Cloud” has forced the vagueness of this category. It’s no better than when every vendor tacked on a 2000 to their product name to seem relevant and forward-leaning.

Success of Private Cloud is up to Us

only-youOpenStack is ready. If anyone believes that it isn’t, then the reality is that they aren’t ready to consume IT in the way that IaaS is offering it.

There are lots of options to buy packaged OpenStack derivatives. It doesn’t need a team of engineers like many would have you believe. That’s just fear mongering. When vSphere made its early gains in the market, most of the admins that I worked with and spoke with had little to no Linux experience. That didn’t stop them from embracing a Linux-backed hyoervisor.

Prepare yourselves, OpenStack is coming. It’s better to be making educated decisions now than to have it suddenly show up and leave you scrambling to catch up to the skills that could make you a private cloud rock star like I know you can become!