Googles Cloud Platform, Now Called Anthos, Plays Nicely With AWS, Azure

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Google announced today the launch of its new cloud platform, called Anthos, which it described as the friendliest platform available to organizations with hybrid and multicloud strategies. With Anthos, a business can easily move workloads between cloud and on-premises data centers, and from one cloud platform to another, without rewriting code.

“Nothing excites us more than solving a problem, except maybe solving a problem at scale,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “We’ve always had the ambition to use tech to serve as many people as possible. Cloud is one of the largest business units at Google – we’re truly on this journey and we’re on it for the very long term.”

Google made its announcement April 9 in San Francisco at Google Cloud Next ’19, the company’s annual conference for developers and users of its Google Cloud Platform. The event is being attended by some 30,000 tech professionals.

“We built Anthos to be simple, flexible, and secure — all the things you want in a great tech partner,” Pichai said.

SEE MORE: Get help sorting through the dizzying array of cloud and on-premises computing options.

Google Anthos Will Work with Any Cloud

Workloads built on Anthos will run anywhere, including other cloud platforms such as those owned by Amazon and Microsoft. It has been testing its updated platform with customers large and small for some time, but company officials said that Anthos is now “generally available for everyone.”

For all the buzz around cloud, most businesses are still experimenting with it. David Goeckeler, executive vice president of Cisco Systems, described cloud as the “seminal technology solution of our era” but said that technical complexity is forcing many businesses to move slowly. That’s why about 80 percent of workloads continue to run in on-premises data centers, Google executives said.

The kind of cross-platform technology that Google announced with Anthos is a key step toward simplifying cloud deployments, Goeckeler said.

Google’s customers are telling the company the same thing, said Thomas Kurian, the new CEO of Google Cloud. Kurian, who took over 10 weeks ago after the retirement of longtime Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, said Google was determined to build the open-source platform after countless conversations with customers, in which they made clear that “they wanted a single programming model that gave them the flexibility to move around from one cloud to another without any changes, and to secure their data in multiple clouds in a single, consistent way,” he said. 

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How Businesses Are Using Google Cloud

A number of well-known companies are onsite to describe the work they're doing with Google Cloud to transform their own businesses and drive new experiences for their own customers. Darryl West, the group CIO of international bank HSBC, told BizTech in an interview that while his bank continues to run much of its workloads, including its core banking systems, on-premises, it’s adopted a cloud-first strategy in which it will determine whether new applications can be built in the cloud natively.

HSBC has already moved much of its data-intensive workloads to the cloud. For example, processing time for its daily global liquidity reports — essentially a daily accounting of its cash position required by regulators — dropped precipitously thanks to Google Cloud’s data-crunching power. A report that used to take up to 14 hours to produce now takes three, he said.

“We’re committed to moving big data and heavy and data analytics workloads to Google Cloud,” West said.

The department store chain Kohl's said it would soon be running about 70 percent of its workloads in the cloud, something that's providing crucial flexibility in an industry as seasonal as retail. 

"For us, the big thing is the holiday season — Black Friday," said Ratnakar Lavu, chief technology officer for Kohl's. "Before the cloud, we had to have all this capacity that would sit idle in our data centers for most of the year. Now we can scale up quickly."

As it manages its ongoing cloud transition, Lavu said Kohl's will determine which remaining on-premises applications are currently cloud-ready, which would need to be made cloud-ready and which should be retired altogether.

And Reggie Chambers, chief administrative officer at JPMorgan Chase, said Google’s cloud platform is allowing his bank to rethink its strategy with retail branches. Its branch of the future will be less about mere financial transactions and more about bringing communities together to learn and innovate, he said.

“We want them to be destinations where people can get advice and guidance on everything from how to do your taxes to how to write code,” Chambers said. JPMorgan Chase said it would soon open a model of such a branch in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem.

Keep this page bookmarked for complete coverage of Google Cloud Next '19.