Live at Google Cloud Next '19
Google Cloud Rolled out a host of new products to further amplify CEO Thomas Kurian's vision of cloud computing: "to provide global scale, distributed infrastructure, a digital transformation platform and industry-specific solutions that facilitate digital transformation".
"To bring you this technology, we at Google are committed to expanding our go-to-market teams, our work with partners and deepening our industry and product focus", Kurian said during day two of Google Cloud Next '19 in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Google Cloud partners - and an Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure partner - weighted in on the products, some of them still in beta, and the "Kurian effect" on the No.3 cloud platform company.
"In the first three months of his CEO tenure, Thomas has brought increased focus on priority workloads, industries and geographies", said Thomas Galizia, senior technology partner and lead commercial partner for Google at Deloitte, a Google Premier Partner. "His commitment to partners and enterprise clients is absolutely clear".
"With Thomas (Kurian) now heading Google Cloud, this is really act two that begins for Google in the enterprise space, "said Rivard, noting former CEO Diane Greene laid groundwork in terms of products and infrastructure. "Now Thomas is going to sell that story to enterprises with a beefed-up sales force and a strong ecosystem of enterprise partners. Now if only they would bring back the Google Enterprise name -- that would be awesome."
Click through to read the partners’ thoughts on the new Google Cloud products and Kurian’s data privacy commitment to customers
Google Cloud's Privacy Commitment
Speaking to the issue of data privacy, Kurian stressed that Google Cloud takes its customer trust extremely seriously.
"It's very simply put: Your data is your data and no one else's", Kurian said. "Your AR (augmented reality) models are your AR models and no one else's. No one at Google will access your data without your permission. We do not have a backdoor to allow any agency to access your data without your permission. You can encrypt the data at rest or in transit into our cloud. You can use your own encryption keys to encrypt that data."
"If you want Google to help you access that data for a support purpose, we will stream, in near real-time, the logs of every operation our people are doing to help you with a support request," Kurian said. "No other cloud provider provides you these facilities. And for us, that's the measure of providing you the comfort and trust that Google will never, ever use your data for any other purpose outside of delivering you the services in GCP (Google Cloud Platform) that you use."
That commitment will be reassuring to customers with data privacy concerns who are hesitant about migrating their workloads to the cloud, said Tom Bausemer, vice president of cloud solutions at Boston-based HYCU, a Google Cloud strategic technology partner.
"(With) this public assurance, supported by the fully integrated data privacy technologies, Google is making it easy for partners to convince customers to have a secure, reliable and scalable cloud journey, said Bausemer, whose company is an enterprise software company specializing in data backup, recovery and monitoring for multi-cloud environments.
Cloud SQL And Managed SQL Server
For the Microsoft Windows ecosystem, Google Cloud announced that it's expanded Cloud SQL, its fully managed relational database server, to support Microsoft SQL Server, which is widely used by enterprises.
HYCU this week became the first native GCP backup-service-as-a-service vendor to announce support for Google Cloud SQL.
"We are excited that Google CloudSQL team is extending to fully support Microsoft SQL also as part of the platform, and we are looking forward to extending our Cloud SQL Support to Microsoft SQL," Bausemer said.
Having one of the "world's most popular databases provided as a managed service on GCP opens GCP to an entire new population of users", said Kartick Sekar, solutions architect at Pythian, an Ottawa, Canada-based information technology consultant, managed service provider and Google Cloud Premier Partner.
G Suite Updates
Many companies are using AI to transform their businesses, but Google Cloud is poised for the next wave of collaboration with updates to G Suite, according to Kurian. G Suite tools include Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Google+, Drive, Docs, Sheets and others, and is used by more than 5 billion businesses.
"Our vision is very simple: Enable collaboration for everyone in the world", Kurian said. "Not just white-collar workers, but the 2.2 billion people in the world who are the frontline workers -- nurses, pilots, aircraft technicians, repair workers. All of them now have a digital device called a smartphone, allowing them to collaborate from everywhere. Using the devices they have, using all of their senses, they should be able to speak to people instead of having to type, see things using the camera instead of having always to enter things in just text. They should be able to collaborate in context and, using AI, we should be able to augment how they collaborate. We have an amazing new set of capabilities with G Suite."
Google Assistant will be able to access G Suite Calendar under a new update in beta that will allow users to ask Assistant to tell them when and where their next meeting is and to stay on top of scheduling changes.
Third-party connectivity in Cloud Search also is now generally available to eligible G Suite customers.
Cloud Search will now index data sources like SAP, Salesforce and SharePoint in addition to G Suite, enabling employees to search and find every digital asset and person in the company", said Amy Lokey, Google Cloud's vice president of user experience for G Suite.
In addition, Hangouts chat, Google Cloud's messaging platform built for teams, is being incorporated into Gmail so that companies' communications can be in one place.
"As much as we rely on chat and email, sometimes the easiest way to connect with people is just to pick up the phone," Lokey said. "I'm excited to share... that Voice, the cloud telephony service built for G Suite, is now generally available. Voice gives each employee a phone number that works from anywhere, on any device, and it's easy for admins to manage and provision. And with our text-to-speech technology, it's easy to set up a welcoming, interactive menu to greet the people that call your business."
Google Cloud's investments to make AI and business intelligence accessible to business users is "huge", according to HYCU's Bausemer.
"We love the integration that Google has made between their analytics and G Suite," he said. "This also brings in great opportunity for partners to help customers as part of their digital transformation journey, i.e., instead of just doing a lift-and-shift, now they can transform and make their business more efficient and agile".
And as Google opens up Google Search for additional data sources, Bausemer sees tremendous opportunity for technology partners to leverage it and make the data accessible to businesses, he said.
Cloud Data Fusion
Google Cloud's Cloud Data Fusion -- a fully managed and cloud-native data integration service -- is now in beta.
"It's got a broad library of open-source... transformations and over 100 out-of-the box connectors for all sorts of systems and data formats", said Julie Price, a big data specialist at Google Cloud.
Cloud Data Fusion is a "game-changer" in data transformation and moving data analytics workloads to Google Cloud, according to Pythian's Sekar.
"It is... providing a faster, easier, low-friction way to load your data into the cloud and then a managed way to leverage and derive insights from the data faster," Sekar said. "This is something we have been waiting for a while. It significantly accelerates data migrations and data analytics on GCP."
Managed AD On GCP
In another Microsoft Windows ecosystem announcement, Google Cloud said customers will soon be able to use Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory (AD) -- a highly available, hardened Google Cloud service running actual Microsoft AD -- to manage cloud-based, AD-dependent workloads, automate AD server maintenance and security configuration, and extend their on-premises AD domain to the cloud.
"This significantly reduces complexities in cloud migrations and provides a significantly better security posture for hybrid deployments", Sekar, of Pythian said.
"(It's) a technology that the enterprise is most comfortable with".
Google Cloud AI Platform
"Google has invested many years of work in AI/machine learning (ML)," Kurian said. "We have focused on building an AI platform that provides a very deep understanding of a number of fundamental kinds of data: voice, language, video, images, text translation. On top of this platform, we have built a number of solutions to make it easy for our customers and analysts around the world to build models. To speed how companies and organizations can use AI and ML to transform their business, we're delivering a number of business solutions that can be very quickly adopted and can change how your organization uses AI and ML to run its business.
AI Platform, which is in beta, helps teams prepare, build, run and manage ML projects using the same shared interface.
"The AI Platform is what happens when every step of the API (application programming interface) development process meets the best of Google -- everything from robust end-to-end machine learning pipelines, from data all the way through to production, to things like samples and tools for everyone, hosted Jupyter notebooks and a hosted environment to make deployment and management of machine learning easy," said Rajen Sheth, Google Cloud's director of product management for AI. "And importantly, we believe that empowerment means giving you the most flexible hybrid cloud so that you can deploy machine learning in our cloud, on-premise on other clouds and at the edge."
Google Cloud continues to push the envelope by getting more organizations into ML -- and now AI -- in a more intuitive fashion, said Justin Ritchie, data science director at Minneapolis-based digital consultancy Nerdery. "Google has launched products like Cloud AutoML -- and now AI Platform -- that enable organizations to get over steep technical barriers (and) give an easier-to-use set of tools with pre-build modeling and AI," Ritchie said. "Google gives users the ability to have models automatically tuned and select the best algorithm for the project at hand, and also lets developers choose from very popular frameworks like Tensorflow, PyTorch and Keras if they want to develop a custom AI solution on GCP. This service is building its toolset on existing tools like Jupyter Notebooks to give data scientists a similar look and feel to their existing workflow."
Auto ML Updates
Google Cloud announced several updates to AutoML, its suite of ML products that allow developers with limited ML expertise to train high-quality models specific to their business needs. The updates include beta versions of AutoML Tables, AutoML Video Intelligence, AutoML Vision Edge, object detection and AutoML Natural Language custom entity extraction.
"The AutoML updates will bring a one-of-a-kind simple, faster and business-focused AI solution,” said Sim Sabharwal, global platform director at Ensono, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based managed service provider that's partnered with AWS and Microsoft Azure. "The biggest challenge that the industry is facing right now is the complexity involved with the creation of an ML model that is nimble and simple to deploy."