Google Cloud will soon have a major new feature to better compete with Amazon and Microsoft

Google/Business Insider screen captureGoogle’s Urs Hölzle
  • Google is making a version of its cloud available for companies to run in their own data centres, otherwise known as “on premises” computing.
  • On premises computing is the old-fashioned way of doing IT. It’s the thing that cloud computing was supposed to change.
  • But because most companies are not ready to unplug their data centres and put all their IT in the cloud, cloud players are finding ways to bring their cloud tech to a company’s data center.
  • This is a major head-bow by Google to do what it takes to win more big cloud customers.

Google on Tuesday announced a new cloud product it is calling GKE On-Prem. It is a version of Google’s cloud that will run in its customers’ own private data centres and it is a major attempt by Google to grab customers away from Microsoft and Amazon.

A company can sign up to use Google’s cloud for some of its IT needs and can use this product for the tech that it won’t, or can’t, move to the cloud. This kind of computing is known as the “hybrid” cloud, in that it is a mix of cloud computing and old fashioned “on premises” computing.

Hybrid is Microsoft’s specialty. And it is the one thing that Amazon’s cloud, Amazon Web Services, isn’t known for, although AWS does dabble in the area through its partnership with VMware and other less prominent projects, like Amazon’s own version of Linux.

“We’re ending the false dichotomy between on premises and cloud,” said Google’s Urs Hölzle on stage to describe this new product.

Hölzle is Google’s top infrastructure engineer. He’s Google employee No. 8, the technical genius who built most of Google’s infrastructure used for things like search and Gmail and is now involved in turning Google’s data centres into cloud products and services.

Google GKE on premiseGoogle/Business Insider screen captureGoogle demonstrates its new GKE On Premise product at the Google Next 2018 conference

He has also historically preached that companies, eventually, won’t need their data centres at all but will do everything in the cloud. That is, they will rent the computers and software they need from cloud vendors and won’t manage it themselves at all anymore.

He’s right, too. A growing number of companies are choosing to do exactly that but they are doing so with Google’s competitor Amazon Web Services. This thanks to AWS’s massive lead in the number of features it offers.

So this new Google on-premises product represents an understanding that baby steps are needed for Google to really compete neck-and-neck with Amazon.

Google believes it has superior technology in a number of critical areas, including security, machine learning/artificial intelligence, and area called containers which is a way to fine-tune the cloud for the needs of different apps. (Google invented a super popular container technology called Kubernetes).

Meanwhile, this product, GKE On-Prem, also lets Google compete better with the acknowledged No. 2 cloud player, Microsoft. Microsoft is known for doing hybrid computing. Microsoft grew up on the era before cloud computing, when the whole IT world was on-premises. Microsoft has since shown that it is a master of cloud computing, too.It’s cloud, Azure, has always been set up to do hybrid.

Google’s GKE On-Prem is expected to be released to early customers for testing in the fall.

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