Google's cloud courts enterprises with new networking features

Google today released a pack of new features for its public cloud in an effort to take on its two biggest rivals in the industry - Amazon Web Services and Microsoft - and perhaps even more importantly, to position its offering as a viable destination for enterprise workloads.

Google today released a variety of new features for its public cloud in an effort to take on its two biggest rivals in the industry - Amazon Web Services and Microsoft - and perhaps even more importantly, to position its offering as a viable destination for enterprise workloads.

With features such as new networking options to connect directly into Google's cloud, along with new VPN functionality and yet another price cut, Google is priming itself to compete in the enterprise market. Analysts say that Google has traditionally focused more on developers compared to its two chief rivals. But with announcements made today at Google's Cloud Platform Live event in San Francisco, Google is clearly aiming for business users.

+ MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: How Amazon, Microsoft and Google stack up revenue-wise in the cloud +

Google will have an uphill battle compared to Amazon and Microsoft when courting enterprise end users to its cloud, analysts say. As the market leader and the first to offer public IaaS cloud services, AWS has a lead in not only features of its cloud, but enterprise customers as well. Microsoft, meanwhile has a long heritage of selling to enterprise customers so the company's Azure platform is a natural fit for enterprise workloads.

Google thus far in the IaaS market has focused its cloud as being developer-friendly and the best performance-for-value cloud in the market, its executives say. During the past year or so it's been building up features that position itself to appeal to more large business-type workloads though.

"As Google itself acknowledges, they're coming from behind with respect to the enterprise," says Stephen O'Grady, principle analyst and co-founder of research firm RedMonk. "Amazon was the early market pioneer, and Microsoft has a lot of account relationships to exploit. The key for Google will be relying on developer pull rather than account or marketing push."

Google today continued the drumbeat of new products and services aimed at the enterprise market. Perhaps the most significant are in the networking realm. The company announced Direct Peering, which will allow large businesses to directly connect their infrastructure with more than 70 Google points of presence in 33 countries across the globe. Google also released a program named Interconnect with partners Equinix IX Reach, Level 3, TATA Communications, Telx, Verizon, and Zayo. End users who host workloads with one of these companies can directly connect their data to Google's cloud now. Google announced that it will soon support VPN capabilities in its cloud too.

In an introductory video before the GCP Live event started, an executive gave a video tour of a Google data center in which it highlighted the many security measures the company uses at its facilities, including the multiple layers of security checkpoints and eye-scanners to verify the identity of the select few employees who are authorized to access the servers Google uses to hosts its cloud. Not everyone is convinced Google is appealing to enterprises though.

Meanwhile, Google is not giving up on developers; quite the opposite in fact. In addition to many of the enterprise features it announced today, Google also made a variety of announcements that will appeal to developers. These include a new engine that runs containers, auto-scaling for virtual machines, local solid state storage drives that can be connected to any VM, expanded mobile application development tools, and a tool that alerts coders to bugs in software. Google also announced across-the-board price cuts to its cloud products today.

Google is clearly looking to compete with the big guns of the IaaS industry in AWS, Microsoft and a whole host of other vendors, including VMware, HP, Verizon and others. While Google has a strong developer focus to it's cloud, the company is expanding its services to appeal to enterprise end users, while also pushing the envelope in rolling out cutting-edge features on its platform, particularly for using containers.

Amazon will have its chance to respond to these Google announcements when it kicks off its AWS re:Invent conference next week in Las Vegas.

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