Highlights from Google Next, March 2017

On March 8-10, 2017, Dev9’s team attended Google’s annual Cloud conference: Google Next. We attended the conference as both partners and users of Google Cloud Platform (GCP). We were pleased to hear some exciting announcements, and we came away with interesting insights from the in-depth content provided.

In this article, I will highlight key announcements and sessions that my Dev9 colleagues and I attended. The sessions were very well done and brought a lot of depth for people implementing on the GCP platform. For a full recap of announcements, visit Google’s blog that shares all of the announcements from Next 17.

About Google Next 2017

Google Next is an interesting conference because it combines both the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Google’s enterprise collaboration platform G Suite. While both of these are Cloud platforms, they are very different in the target and purpose of the platform. G Suite is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform aimed at enterprise information flow (documents, email, calendar, etc.), and GCP is a full Cloud offering for developing applications using IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) tooling.

Key Areas: Security, Machine Learning and Collaboration

There were three broad areas of announcements that really stuck out during Next 17: security, machine learning and collaboration.

The Criticality of Security

Google understands that trust is critical for a Cloud platform. Companies place a lot of confidence in their chosen platform. For GCP, Google is investing heavily in security. They have created a purpose-built chip, Titan, to establish root trust for hardware on both machines and peripherals in Cloud infrastructure. They have created an Identity Aware Proxy (IAP) to act in place of VPNs for accessing GCP resources. IAP leverages OAuth2 and IAM to ensure secure authentication to Cloud services in GCP services.

2017 - The Year of Machine Learning

Google’s general purpose machine learning service Cloud Machine Learning Engine (CMLE) is now generally available. This is good news for people who want to put production workloads on the service. Google has been processing data at scale and using machine learning internally for multiple years now. This real-world experience is clearly guiding their Cloud efforts, and it shows with their data analytics tools: CMLE and BigQuery. They have an advantage over competitors that don’t have a deep well of experience to draw from. They also announced vision and video machine learning products that are clearly based on their own needs.

Jamboard: This Year’s Must-Have Collaboration Tool

While it is not Cloud-related, they also announced a product in the collaboration space that I have to mention. They announced the release of Jamboard. It is a touchscreen monitor that acts as a whiteboard with deep integration into hangouts and the rest of GSuite. As a company that works with people all across the country on deeply technical products, the ability to whiteboard in real time with our customers is this year’s must-have tool. The Jamboard should be priced around $5,000 which is pretty cheap given that it acts as a video conferencing and shared whiteboarding solution. It has us all excited.

Conclusion

This year’s Next was a great opportunity to see how Google is evolving its Cloud offerings. Google’s own experiences running some of the world's largest and most reliable data centers have clearly helped them bridge much of the gap with AWS. Google makes a very good case that the Cloud is more secure than on-prem and managed datacenters by allowing sharing responsibility for security with its customers.

It will be interesting to see how the machine learning platforms evolve during the next two years. It is a space with huge growth potential that needs Cloud scale to work. AWS, Microsoft and Google are all investing furiously, and Google has a very compelling platform. Finally, the fact is that Google, like Microsoft, has solutions that cover both the Cloud and the enterprise workplace. If Jamboard is a good example of what they are going to do, collaboration will be easier than ever in the future.

Dev9 is a certified implementation partner for Google Cloud Platform. Contact us if you have questions about how GCP might fit into your organization’s technology plans.