Google Cloud Chief Makes The Case That The Consumer Search Giant Is Also An Enterprise Powerhouse

Diane Greene, Google's cloud business chief, sought to illustrate her oft-repeated claim that Google is a true enterprise tech vendor Wednesday by inviting executives from several large, and recently signed, customers to join her on stage at Google's NEXT Cloud conference.

Greene later said the Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered cloud provider is winning more than half the deals it goes after; she was asked specifically at a news conference about Google's prospects in taking on industry leader Amazon Web Services.

Google Cloud, broadly, represents "a major initiative to share our technology with the whole world." The enterprise has changed significantly of late, Greene said, "so it's kind of Google's time to bring what we have to the enterprise."

[Related: Google Channel Chief Yansouni On Emerging Partner Program And Challenging Microsoft And AWS For Cloud Dominance]

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Wednesday's keynote was delivered to 10,000 attendees filling to capacity a hall at the Moscone Center, the first time Google turned to the massive convention center in San Francisco for one of its events.

The keynote closed with a surprise appearance from Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, in which Google's former CEO offered surprisingly nuts-and-bolts advice to customers on how to go about cloud migrations.

"Last year when we were here, I said we were going to meet you where you are," Schmidt told partners and customers. The message this year, he said, is "just get to the cloud."

And once businesses adopt cloud, they "might as well plan for global success and infinite demand," he said. Even if they don’t achieve those lofty goals, they'll realize savings and more resilient architecture with that mindset.

Google's platform, especially when it comes to networking infrastructure and enterprise-grade machine learning capabilities, sets itself apart from competitors, Schmidt said, adding he approved a $30 billion investment in the platform.

"Please do not attempt to duplicate it," he said. "You have better uses of your money."

Greene kicked off the NEXT opening keynote on the theme of enterprise credibility, noting she recently met with three customers looking to do traditional lift-and-shift migrations to Google Cloud Platform, —not the kind of born-in-the-cloud modern workloads Google's cloud was once primarily associated with.

Over the course of the keynote, she welcomed to the stage representatives from some high-profile customers that recently migrated to Google Cloud: Disney, HSBC, Colgate-Palmolive, Verizon, eBay and Home Depot.

Also joining Greene on stage was Bernd Leukert, a member of the executive board of SAP, to discuss a new strategic partnership between the two software giants.

SAP's HANA platform is now certified, and available, on Google Cloud. And the developer edition of HANA, called HANA Express, will be available in Google's Cloud Launcher marketplace.

"We recognize Google as a frontrunner," Leukert said, adding SAP cloud and big data teams will continue working closely with Google to integrate their technologies further and jointly develop solutions to improve risk and compliance management.

"Being with Google Cloud ensures deployment to the greatest number of markets and enterprise divisions," Leukert told attendees.

Greene added that Google is interested in pursuing tighter integration between its G Suite application portfolio and SAP applications.

There was more news on the technology partnership front.

Greene said managed cloud provider Rackspace would be the first partner to deliver third-party support services for Google Cloud. Another partnership with Pivotal will see the Platform-as-a-Service developer certified to offer Customer Reliability Engineering services helping customers architect solutions for its proprietary distribution of Cloud Foundry on Google Cloud.

Greene said reliability is a major differentiator for Google. The expectation for five nines of availability came out of Google Search, achieved by building distributed architectures with no single points of failure.

"That's how we designed our cloud, and we're making it really easy for our customers to design and deploy to that kind of reliability," she said.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai also made a brief appearance during the keynote, describing GCP as "an extraordinarily big bet for us."

Pichai said breakthroughs in cloud, analytics, and collaboration are transforming businesses everywhere.

"When we ship things on the consumer side, we always get surprised how they use our technology in a thousand different ways," Pichai said. "With Google Cloud, we hope to have this same journey."

Google Cloud represents a natural extension to the business community of the company's original mission to make data more accessible, the CEO told attendees. And now the business community can, through the cloud, leverage the machine learning and artificial intelligence tools Google has been developing for the last 15 years.

Fei-Fei Li, Google's chief scientist for Cloud AI and machine learning, said the goal at Google is to democratize artificial intelligence.

To that end, Google has agreed to acquire Kaggle, she announced, an organization that stages events in which data scientists compete to create models with various data sets. The Kaggle community has more than 850,000 data scientists.

Li also introduced Google's new Video Intelligence API—a tool that can plow through video files and discern what they are about, find labels in difference scenes, and identify when certain objects appear on screen.

"Finally we're starting to shine light on the dark matter of the digital universe," she said.

In closing the keynote, Greene argued technology will prove the greatest differentiator in the cloud wars, and Google has a built-in advantage from its consumer business.

"We're leveraging two decades of technology built for the kind of needs enterprises have today," she told NEXT attendees.

That includes the world's largest, most secure network, and infrastructure on a mind-boggling scale.

A Google employee recently calculated, she said, that stacking all the servers at the company's largest data center would create a pile that towered by 5,000 feet over Mt. Everest. At the same time, Google is the by far the world's largest purchaser of renewable energy, keeping its data centers carbon-neutral, she said.