Google's Schmidt Tells Enterprises Don't Delay Cloud Migrations

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said his company has invested $30 billion cloud computing infrastructure and is capable of providing a full range of cloud services.

google cloud next

SAN FRANCISCO—With most of its product news slated for day two of its Google Cloud Next conference here, the opening keynote March 8 focused mainly on new customer announcements and the growth of the Google Cloud Platform.

Google is widely considered the number three player in the cloud and a relative late-comer, trailing Amazon and Microsoft—a distant number two. Known primarily for its consumer services, Google has made major investments in cloud computing services for the enterprise.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, had a blunt message for the enterprise: “Leave the infrastructure to us. Just go there—go to the cloud.”

Schmidt admitted that as recently as a few years ago Google didn’t have a full cloud service offerings, but said that’s no longer the case. “We have the reference customers, the system integrators and partners like Accenture and PwC, solutions architects and professional services teams to help you,” he said.

He also noted that Google has invested $30 billion in cloud computing. “I know, because I approved it.”

While a full transition to cloud computing can take enterprises a year or two, Schmidt said Google is working to reduce that to one or two months. 

Diane Greene, senior vice president of Google’s cloud business, recalled that Disney spoke at last year’s conference “when they were just dabbling in the cloud. Now they’re ahead of schedule. It’s a lift and shift to the cloud.”

Michael White, Chief Technology Officer at Disney, said the entertainment giant is counting on the cloud to transform the way it develops software.

“We currently have 500 projects in the cloud and we’re using it for all new apps. We’ve had the luxury of being able to re-architect our legacy systems for the cloud and we have a true partnership with Google.”

R.J. Pittman, eBay's chief product officer, gave the one live demonstration in the two-hour keynote, showing how eBay integrates with the Google Home device, a voice-activated assistant that competes with the Amazon Echo.

He asked Google Home “What’s my camera worth?” Google Home responded with a few follow up questions about make and model and told him what it’s worth on the resale market.

“We have tens of millions of sellers and this is going to bring more into the eBay marketplace. And there’s so much more to come,” said Pittman

Pittman noted that eBay has more than 1 billion live listings and over twenty years of transaction data. He said eBay plans to encapsulate and capture all that knowledge using the GCP to build “the smartest catalog on the planet.”

But while eBay is committed to the cloud, it’s also hedging its bets a bit. Pittman noted for example that everything it runs in the cloud is also running on a parallel back-up system. “We were smart about this. We didn’t just throw a switch. When you’re processing thousands of orders a second that is difficult to do.”

He encouraged companies to be “cloud-first” when developing new apps. “Do not fear the cloud. It can be done,” he said.

In a post-keynote press conference with GCP customers, competition with Amazon and Microsoft Azure came up. Darryl West, Global Group CIO at financial services giant HSBC, said his company is a big Microsoft shop and plans to continue to use Azure cloud services in some areas and has a pilot project using Amazon Web Services for developers.

SAN FRANCISCO—With most of its product news slated for day two of its Google Cloud Next conference here, the opening keynote March 8 focused mainly on new customer announcements and the growth of the Google Cloud Platform.

Google is widely considered the number three player in the cloud and a relative late-comer, trailing Amazon and Microsoft—a distant number two. Known primarily for its consumer services, Google has made major investments in cloud computing services for the enterprise.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, had a blunt message for the enterprise: “Leave the infrastructure to us. Just go there—go to the cloud.”

Schmidt admitted that as recently as a few years ago Google didn’t have a full cloud service offerings, but said that’s no longer the case. “We have the reference customers, the system integrators and partners like Accenture and PwC, solutions architects and professional services teams to help you,” he said.

He also noted that Google has invested $30 billion in cloud computing. “I know, because I approved it.”

While a full transition to cloud computing can take enterprises a year or two, Schmidt said Google is working to reduce that to one or two months.

Diane Greene, senior vice president of Google’s cloud business, recalled that Disney spoke at last year’s conference “when they were just dabbling in the cloud. Now they’re ahead of schedule. It’s a lift and shift to the cloud.”

Michael White, Chief Technology Officer at Disney, said the entertainment giant is counting on the cloud to transform the way it develops software.

“We currently have 500 projects in the cloud and we’re using it for all new apps. We’ve had the luxury of being able to re-architect our legacy systems for the cloud and we have a true partnership with Google.”

R.J. Pittman, eBay's chief product officer, gave the one live demonstration in the two-hour keynote, showing how eBay integrates with the Google Home device, a voice-activated assistant that competes with the Amazon Echo.

He asked Google Home “What’s my camera worth?” Google Home responded with a few follow up questions about make and model and told him what it’s worth on the resale market.

“We have tens of millions of sellers and this is going to bring more into the eBay marketplace. And there’s so much more to come,” said Pittman

Pittman noted that eBay has more than 1 billion live listings and over twenty years of transaction data. He said eBay plans to encapsulate and capture all that knowledge using the GCP to build “the smartest catalog on the planet.”

But while eBay is committed to the cloud, it’s also hedging its bets a bit. Pittman noted for example that everything it runs in the cloud is also running on a parallel back-up system. “We were smart about this. We didn’t just throw a switch. When you’re processing thousands of orders a second that is difficult to do.”

He encouraged companies to be “cloud-first” when developing new apps. “Do not fear the cloud. It can be done,” he said.

He said HSBC's challenge is to find who has the best cloud for what the company wants to do. “We have a hybrid cloud strategy,” said West, adding HSBC is using the GCP for data analytics where he thinks it’s strongest.

Gartner analyst David Smith said that in some respect the big cloud players offer a similar value proposition—to transition from relying on and investing in on-premise infrastructure to less expensive cloud services that scale more easily. “But they have different core competencies. For example, Google leads in machine learning which it used to build so much of its business such as Google Maps,” Smith told eWEEK.

He said that while Google trails Amazon and Microsoft with enterprise buyers, it doesn’t have to win over a lot of those current customers to succeed because so many companies have yet to transition to cloud computing.

“There are a lot of legacy systems out there waiting to be replaced or shifted to the cloud and that’s where the opportunity is,” said Smith.

“Google thinks differently than other enterprise vendors. Rather than try to completely solve a massive problem, they think in terms of planetary deployment on a wide scale that takes failures into account. And they claim to have the most security. That’s hard to prove, but it’s something that enterprise buyers take seriously," Smith said.

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...