A Wall Street analyst says that Google's secret weapon in the cloud wars is right on target (GOOG, GOOGL)


Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian at Google Cloud Next 2019

  • William Blair analysts say that Google Cloud has the most developed product for a multicloud strategy, which is when a company can run applications on clouds from multiple vendors.
  • In April, Google Cloud introduced Anthos, which allows customers to do just that, and customers like Kohl’s are already using it.
  • An open source cloud project called Kubernetes, which was originally started by Google engineers, is key to Anthos’ technology and boosts Google Cloud’s credibility, analysts say.
  • Read more BI Prime stories here.

Google has been playing catch up with its cloud rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, but it does have the best shot in one important area, analysts say.

According to a William Blair report, Google Cloud has the most advanced product today for the so-called multicloud strategy — something that the majority of enterprises are now looking at adopting. Under a multicloud strategy, a company combines services from multiple different cloud vendors to run and store their applications. 

Along those lines, an IDC survey found that 62% of enterprises use one primary cloud, along with multiple other cloud providers.

That’s good news for Google, which just introduced Anthos in April — reflecting the company’s big bet on multicloud as a major way forward for the company’s cloud business.

Essentially, Anthos allows customers to build and manage their applications across not only Google Cloud, but also their own private data centers and even rival clouds like AWS and Microsoft Azure — without having to change any of their code or buying new hardware.

“With Google racing to catch up with cloud market leaders Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure, especially in the enterprise market, it is no surprise that Google is focused on portability,” the William Blair report said. 

‘Bucking the hybrid cloud narrative’

Microsoft and AWS have introduced hybrid cloud offerings, which allow companies to run their applications across both the cloud and their own data centers. However, Google takes it a step forward by also allowing them to use other clouds besides Google’s own. 

“Anthos is being marketed as a multicloud product, bucking the hybrid cloud narrative that many competitors are currently pushing,” the report said. 

Read more: Google Cloud is beating Amazon to the punch with Anthos, a new hybrid cloud offering

What’s more, an open source cloud project called Kubernetes is core to Anthos’ technology. Kubernetes makes it easy to move around data between different clouds and data centers using technology called “containers.” This also allows them to run large scale applications. 

Kubernetes, which has become wildly popular since it started five years ago, was actually started by Google engineers.

With this kind of credibility, analysts say Google has the “best shot” at making it possible for companies to control their data and applications on different clouds. In fact, the report says, Google uses its “mastery” of Kubernetes to differentiate itself from AWS and Microsoft. 

“Google Anthos is perhaps the most developed product today promising a seamless and consistent multicloud experience,” the report said.

That being said, other vendors are trying something similar, like IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, and VMware teaming up with software and services company Pivotal. 

Customer demand

Already, customers like Kohl’s are betting on Anthos to meet high customer demand during peak times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With Anthos, Kohl’s can still use clouds from other vendors, as well as their own private cloud. 

The pharmaceutical company Cardinal Health also picked Google Cloud because it had the technology to easily migrate the applications on its data centers to Google Cloud.

“If Google is able to execute on the go-to-market side in the historically elusive enterprise arena, we believe Anthos has great potential to catalyze mainstream adoption of multicloud architectures,” the report said.

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