Cloud

Google unveils its cloud computing platform for the enterprise

Lately, I've been talking about Google trying to snuggle up to the enterprise. On Wednesday, Google coughed and threw its arm around the enterprise's shoulder.

Lately, I've been talking about Google trying to snuggle up to the enterprise. On Wednesday, Google coughed and threw its arm around the enterprise's shoulder.

On the first day of the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, the company unveiled Google App Engine for Business. In the official announcement, Sean Lynch of the Google App Engine team stated:

"We launched Google App Engine two years ago to enable application developers to rapidly build and scale their apps on Google's infrastructure, without having to worry about maintaining their own servers. Today, we're excited to bring this platform to IT departments, with the announcement of Google App Engine for Business. Google App Engine for Business lets organizations build and maintain their applications on the same scalable architecture that powers Google applications, with added management and support features tailored specifically for the enterprise."

In touting its new platform, Google cited the same story of IT departments being stuck spending most of their budgets on maintenance, which lots of enterprise vendors and CIOs are squawking about right now. Google even had VMware CEO Paul Maritz on stage to talk about how his company is working with Google to make an enterprise-ready cloud platform that can help businesses be faster and more nimble.

Google cited five features that CIOs and enterprises have been asking for that are now included in App Engine for Business:

  • Centralized administration
  • Reliability and support with an SLA
  • Security
  • Simplified pricing
  • Enterprise scalability

Google has not officially launched the product yet, but is previewing it to a limited group of companies. However, on Wednesday, Google did publish its roadmap for App Engine for Business.

Sanity check

While a lot of enterprises still scoff at the idea of cloud computing, a recent survey of over 1,500 global CIOs showed that cloud computing was their #2 priority for 2010. We've also seen the interest in cloud computing take a big jump on TechRepublic in the past 6-12 months.

For those IT leaders ready to explore cloud solutions to help break out of the rut of an IT budget dominated by too many legacy technologies and maintenance contracts, solutions such as Google App Engine for Business give them a shot at a clean slate, where they can pay for their IT infrastructure based on usage. The fact that Google has made the effort to see what enterprises need to make it work for them and added many of those features into the product roadmap will open this up as a possibility for

On the other hand, there's also a computing vision that enterprise IT leaders should understand: the private cloud. That's what EMC pitched to the IT world last week at EMC World. Google's solution is what is now being called the "public cloud."

My take is that traditional companies with a lot of legacy applications and stronger security and privacy concerns will be more drawn to the private cloud. Newer, high-growth companies that want a cleaner slate will be more interested in the public cloud. However, all IT professionals need to get very familiar with both options. You'll be hearing a lot more about them.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

11 comments
taylorstan
taylorstan

I think cloud computing (private or public) will be the way businesses will go. You will not have hardware, updates, back-up issues to deal with. You pay a fee to have these items handled for you. Only think you'll staff do is handle application set-up, user and local hardware issues. However you are at the mercy of ISPs when this move is made. Our email is cloud based(what was called "hosted") and were not able to access it due to the providers ISP being down. So now it's a two fold worry on the connectivity side, your own ISP and the providers. This has only happend once in 2 years(on a Sunday), so it's not so bad. The only other issue is security. How do you know some server tech at that provider isn't digging through your files. Or that they get intercepted as they travel through cyberspace. But the storm is comming ;)

JCitizen
JCitizen

I feel new companies who are vulnerable to hardware and other infrastructure costs will make the move to cloud providers. It just simplifies the startup! However, they are also at great risk for leaks on strategy and intellectual knowledge. Personally the only company I trust with this kind of data, would be IBM. No other large corporation has the reputation, that they do.

osprey3883
osprey3883

I agree with you on the security front, and equally important is compliance. I would imagine much will be covered in NDA agreements and making sure you choose a reputable partner to park your application on. Regarding connectivity over the internet, I would imagine for applications that don't natively utilize a secure protocol such as HTTPS that you could utilize some flavor of IPSEC VPN combined with redundant WAN hardware on both ends.

asics447
asics447

This is going ot be fun to watch - all major Businesses Large and small will be watching to see how it pans out- It will be the latest thing since sliced bread- but there are legitimate concerns - Security - Uptime --availabilty - ISP concerns - the question is will it work - the big guys of course are looking at this because it is a way to reduce costs and over-head but you will loose the control you are used to having - there is an up and downside to everything and do you trust your information to an outsourced location - because you know if it is cheap it is not hosted here in the good Ol USA - Regardless it will be sold as the ultimate solution and savings but you give up your control and security and you give it up to the cloud (Where-ever that is?) I Will be watching and following and yes more IT people out of work here in the USA and more IT jobs and cheaper labor off-shore this is the modern way IT is going in the USA - is what it is

logos200
logos200

Cloud computing is the direction most are headed into because apps will be cheaper to build and support. Clearly, the Cloud is going to put even more IT folks out of work

osprey3883
osprey3883

The cloud will give businesses 2 big benefits, cost savings on hardware and a quicker time to deployment based on cutting out the hardware order and ramp up process. As far as putting people out of work, there is still a server somewhere that the applications will run on, so it may require people to refresh/upgrade their platform skills and move where the jobs are. Regarding this all being moved overseas; unless and until we find a way to get past the way that TCP works the latency sensitivity inherent in many enterprise applications will not work well when located a large geographic distance away.

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