At the Google Cloud Next conference this week in San Francisco, Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, and other executives will tout Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as ideal for running big business applications.
These computing, storage, and networking services run in Google data centers can be used by corporate customers as an alternative or supplement to their own data centers. And in this race, Google (GOOG). must challenge Amazon (AMZN) Web Services and Microsoft Azure which are generally seen as the two largest public cloud providers.
Here’s some of what people in the tech industry want to hear from Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, senior vice president Diane Greene and vice president Brian Stevens at the event, which kicks off Wednesday.
Big, old-fashioned Fortune 500 customers
Google often touts younger Internet companies like Snapchat and Evernote as cloud customers. But it also claims more traditional, older customers like Coca-Cola (KO), Home Depot (HD), Whirlpool, and Disney.
But the Internet search and advertising giant needs more of these established customers on board to show that GCP is a safe choice for manufacturing, banking, and insurance companies. These more venerable businesses, after some hesitation, are now willing to shift to public cloud-based services like Google, but are still anxious about it.
In this race, Google has to catch up with Amazon Web Services, which started blazing the trail in 2006 and wooing big customers soon thereafter and Microsoft Azure. AWS and Azure are generally seen as the largest and second largest public clouds. AWS has first mover advantage and Microsoft (MSFT) has tons of corporate relationships already in place since nearly every company of any size already uses Windows and Office. That makes it easier for customers to add Azure to their existing contracts.
More (and easier) database options
A managed version of PostgreSQL, a popular open-source database is atop many most-wanted lists among the Google cloud faithful. Google (GOOGL) already offers a managed version of MySQL, another open-source database that it calls Google Cloud SQL. But PostgreSQL has definitely become the “go-to” database for many business customers.
To be clear, companies can run PostgreSQL on Google Cloud now, but a managed service would automate software updates, patches, and other time-consuming tasks. In theory, it frees up database administrators to do other work.
If Google adds a managed version of PostgreSQL, it would follow in the footsteps of AWS which long supported both MySQL and PostgreSQL but then added fully managed versions of both databases over time.
A Google spokeswoman would not comment for this story other than to say that supporting open standards is important to Google’s cloud effort. “Developers should be able to work with any standard that they choose, so they are able to focus on application development, rather than infrastructure management or operations,” she noted via email.
Easier ways to manage lots and lots of cloud services
Google must make it a lot easier for customers to run, track, and manage many cloud services. For example, companies like music streaming service Spotify, which announced plans to move to Google Cloud in February, often run hundreds of cloud services at once. The sheer size of the undertaking can be a pain for any cloud user to manage and any tools that can help in that regard would be welcomed.
For more on Google’s cloud push, watch:
Also needed: better and easier to understand billing that lets customers pull out useful reports about what cloud services they’re using and how much they are paying for them instead of having to dissect raw usage data.
To prove the need for such tools,a slew of smaller companies like Cloudability, CloudCheckr and Cloudyn have sprung up to help customers track and manage their cloud spending.
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Business web conferencing
News about Google Meet, a new, business-focused version of the existing Google Hangouts video conferencing service, leaked last week. This service reportedly will allow up to 30 users to share a high-def video conference room. The current Hangouts is limited to 10 simultaneous users, according to technology news site TechCrunch, which first spotted the new app in the Google App Store. (The app has since been removed.)
The leak came a few weeks after AWS announced Amazon Chime, its own video and web conferencing service that challenges Microsoft Skype for Business and Cisco (CSCO) WebEx and Spark, and Google Hangouts.
Reliability, reliability, dependability, oh and reliability
Timing of last week’s big AWS outage, is tricky not just for Amazon but for Google and other cloud providers as well. That snafu took down popular web sites including Trello, Quora, Github, Chef, and Slack for several hours. Even AWS’s own status page—which displays how well its cloud services are working (or not working)—was affected. The issue was apparently triggered by human error (some called it the typo that took down the Internet), but expect Google to talk about things like its own live migration capabilities that it says minimizes downtime during software upgrades and other maintenance.
And, perhaps a fail-safe way to prevent killer typos.