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Can Google Win the Cloud War?

Hard to imagine Google as the David, but this might just be a David versus Goliath matchup.

Everyone starting projects in 2017 continues to assess the most appropriate cloud platform on which to work. Historically, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure have been the default choices. But in 2017, we think we’ll be seeing the emergence of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as a serious contender, and who knows, it might just steal a march on the incumbents. Let us explain.

Amazon Web Services did an excellent job of sneaking up on the enterprise market and becoming the de facto enterprise cloud platform around the world. Microsoft Azure was also something of a surprise – while everyone was writing off Microsoft in the desktop and Office space, it came back strongly with Azure and Office/Exchange in the cloud. Loyalty in enterprises for the Microsoft platform still runs deep, not least of all because IT teams are comfortable and familiar with developing apps in the Microsoft environment.

Gartner’s August 2016 Cloud IaaS Infrastructure as a Service Magic Quadrant is a comprehensive overview of the Cloud IaaS space. It places AWS in the leadership position, closely followed by Microsoft Azure. Google’s offering is lower on ability to execute, but it is also the only one placed in the visionary quadrant. And this is exactly where we see the Google Cloud Platform having the ability to break out.

Google has always been known for its consumer products focused around searching through extensive amounts of data. Penetrating the enterprise is less of its forte unless you count the reasonable popularity of Gmail and Google Docs as Microsoft alternatives. But usually, this is an individual, rather than an enterprise-wide choice.

However, in the world of digital transformation, Google Cloud Platform starts looking extremely attractive to enterprise players planning to build applications for the new digital generation, where search and big data are at the core. Take Google Maps, for example. It offers substantial possibilities, making APIs to these data stores and their search/integration functionalities available as cloud-based services. Another very attractive proposition from Google is in enabling “AI First” as the strategy, powered by its AI and machine learning services. Enterprises are looking to AI and ML to reduce resources and costs allocated to call centers, help desks and IT, and this is where Google will score over others. Google now has AI even burned in the hardware.

The real challenge will be Google’s ability to adapt to selling to the enterprise, something it has historically not been very good at. Engaging to solve enterprise-type problems requires a very different approach than needed to address the “shoot for the sky” problems Google has typically solved. Partnering with companies such as Persistent Systems is one way to help take its Cloud platform to the enterprise – quickly.

Here’s why we are very bullish about the Google Cloud Platform:

  • Launched only in December 2013, it has a fresh perspective to cloud-based infrastructure.
  • As the Gartner report says, Google is leveraging its expertise and experience with big data to build strength in analytics and machine learning. Google ALSO distinguishes itself with excellent price/performance value, exceptionally fast VM provisioning, and per-minute billing.
  • The Gartner report also points to the smaller feature set and scope of services. While AWS and Azure may be the feature-rich (read expensive) solutions for enterprises, Google Cloud Platform might actually be very attractive to a clientele that does not necessarily need all the bells and whistles – or cost.

We are looking forward to see how Google Cloud Platform changes the game on how enterprises build out their cloud-based solutions. 2017 is going to be interesting for the cloud wars!

Siddhesh Bhobe, Head – Innovation & Marketing, Digital (@siddheshb)
Mayur Jain, Head – GCP Practice (@mayurjain)