Google announced limited beta of Google Compute Engine, its IaaS service, at Google I/O yesterday, after weeks of rumor and speculation. The IaaS market has evolved into two segments: “raw VM” IaaS led by Amazon Web Services, and enterprise, where the cloud directly supports the application with higher performance, more flexibility and high availability. This segment is dominated by the VMware vCloud service provider ecosystem.
Google’s service apes AWS in that it explicitly offers no availability guarantees, and existing applications are not invited to the party: the service is designed for start-up developers writing new applications. Ideally, its customers will deploy many instances of a few base VMs, following the patterns of Zynga and Netflix.
So welcome, Google, to the IaaS market – it’s great to see some well-financed competition for AWS in the raw VM segment. I really hope Google is serious about its offering given the limited success of Google App Engine, and because I wonder about Google’s motivation. Why do developers matter when Google makes almost all its revenue from ads? I expect it’s because developers write apps that collect and generate data. Google’s raft of free services from Gmail to Maps to Android exist to feed data and eyeballs (that is, you and me) into its ad algorithms, and 3rd party apps offer another way to do that. Those new Google glasses and tablets are going to generate all kinds of monetizable big data.
The announcement, along with the Glasses and Nexus tablet, highlight the importance of “big data”, the New Black of batch processing. VMware announced its Serengeti initiative a few weeks ago, which makes it far easier to deploy Hadoop onto virtualized infrastructures (i.e., clouds) of all kinds. My colleague Dave McCrory also launched datagravity.org this week, which explores the idea that computing must move closer to the data, not the reverse. vCloud provider NYSE Technologies is the embodiment of this approach with its capital markets cloud, designed to bring those apps closer to their exchanges.
When it comes to application gravity –- the inability to leave behind the apps you already have -- there are now more than 125 certified public vClouds in 26 countries. It is the world’s largest cloud ecosystem, and all of them offer the same vCloud API, and compatibility with the applications you already have. It also offers me the opportunity to end on a high note: the most recent vCloud customer success story, over at Another VMware Cloud, is the non-partisan, non-profit National Democratic Institute (NDI). For the growing number of you who have ditched your dictators and need to organize political parties and hold free and fair elections, NDI can help faster, cheaper and with less interference (far more resistant to cyber attacks) because it runs on a VMware vCloud. Check out the video interview at http://www.vmware.com/anothervmwarecloud and their work at www.ndi.org.