It’s fashionable in certain tech circles these days to diss Google’s cloud efforts as being too little too late, while Amazon soars ahead, and Microsoft nips at its heels.
But the folks inside Google aren’t listening to the naysayers, particularly Google’s cloud chief, Diane Greene. Over the last year, she has revamped the company’s cloud organisation so that it gets invited to the table when corporations choose a cloud provider.
And to make sure Google has the stuff to win the deals.
She could soon be chalking up a giant win: PayPal is considering going with Google’s cloud instead of rival bidders Amazon and Microsoft, sources told CNBC’s Ari Levy.
Sources warned that the deal isn’t final and none of the companies would comment on it. Still, given PayPal’s underlying technology, it seems appropriate that Google would be top on the list of potential winners. And if Google wins, it could be a harbinger of many more such wins to come.
The OpenStack payoff
That’s because, as Business Insider originally reported, a few years ago PayPal quietly made the unusual decision to go with a technology called OpenStack in its data centres. OpenStack now runs its 8,500 servers and another 180,000 pieces of data center assets (computer storage, network equipment and the like), InformationWeek reported last year.
OpenStack is a cloud operating system. An enterprise can install its own data center and then can choose among many OpenStack cloud services, moving apps and data between them all, never being locked into to a single cloud provider. It was created to be the anti-Amazon Web Services.
Google joined the OpenStack Foundation in 2015, and has been working on bringing one of its hit cloud technologies to OpenStack, an open source container manager named Kubernetes.
In other words, Google is closely aligned with OpenStack in a way that neither Amazon, nor Microsoft, is.
And for a company that just placed most of its eggs in the OpenStack basket, like PayPal, that would make Google an attractive cloud partner, even if Google doesn’t yet offer the breadth of services that Amazon offers.
Then, once Google can claim PayPal as a marquee customer, other OpenStack users will start inviting Google to bid for their contacts as well.
And there are a lot of OpenStack customers. The 451 Group says OpenStack generated $1.2 billion in revenues in 2015 for various vendors, reports eWeek.
All of this means that Google’s grand strategy to become a giant cloud player could be working as planned.