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Google Cloud Pushes To 'End False Dichotomy Between On-Prem, Cloud'

The coming product, Google Cloud Services, integrates GKE managed Kubernetes with Istio, a service mesh technology that delivers greater control of micro-services architected apps

Looking to take another step out of its own data centers, Google unveiled on Tuesday a managed container service integrated with service mesh technology that can for the first time run on-premises to facilitate hybrid clouds.

At Google's NEXT Cloud conference in San Francisco, Urs Hölzle, senior vice president for technical infrastructure, introduced Google Cloud Services—a combination of Google Container Engine (GKE) managed Kubernetes orchestration with Istio, an emerging open source service mesh technology.

Istio extends container deployments by connecting, discovering, monitoring and authenticating communications between micro-services running across environments.

[Related: Google CEO Sundar Pichai: Partnering Efforts 'Paying Dividends']

Google Cloud Services will see an alpha release in the fall, Hölzle said.

As part of that coming service, GKE will no longer be confined to Google infrastructure. One of the demo Kubernetes clusters showcased during the NEXT keynote was running the managed container service on a vSphere-virtualized server set up on the stage of the Moscone Center.

"Cloud computing is still missing a simple way to combine cloud with your existing infrastructure or other clouds," Hölzle said.

GKE running in a customer environment "looks and feels like GKE in the cloud," Hölzle said.

The shift to containers has helped speed up and simplify packaging of software, he said. But Kubernetes only solves some challenges faced by container users.

"A lot of the problem is at higher levels, particularly in service management," he said, which is increasingly important to companies shifting from monolithic apps to microservices.

Istio, as a service mesh, extends Kubernetes to facilitate more enterprise use cases.

"Just like Kubernetes greatly simplified containers and triggered an exploding ecosystem over the last year, Istio greatly simplifies services," Hölzle said.

And like with Kubernetes, an ecosystem and tools will develop around Istio in the near future, he said.

"We're ending the false dichotomy between on-prem and cloud," Hölzle told NEXT attendees.

Google has been working on Istio since last year with partners IBM, Cisco, Pivotal, Lyft and Red Hat.

Istio 1.0, the first production-ready version of the technology, will be released this week.

The new managed Istio service will add operational capabilities while staying close to the open source project, much like Google does with GKE, Hölzle said.

With Istio and Kubernetes running side-by-side, "you manage not just implementation and deployment, but you manage the service itself as it is running," he said.

Cloud Services Platform also introduces integration with the Apigee API platform to make services available to developers inside and outside of an organizations IT environment.

The platform has also been designed to support serverless architectures, he said.

Cloud Services Platform can transform "the most critical element of your computing strategy, namely security," Hölzle told NEXT attendees. "You can use a consistent set of services that are independent of the application logic."

To further ease use of that coming service, Google expanded Stackdriver, its hybrid cloud monitoring and management solution, to give visibility around Istio service management out of the box.

"It's only the start of building a stronger, more customer-friendly, fully hybrid and open way of using the cloud," Hölzle said.

The coming product will be boosted by Google's recent upgrade of its Google Cloud Platform Marketplace that enables cloud customers to purchase container-based applications for rapid deployment in Google's cloud or in private data centers, with uniform management.

"A consistent hybrid platform across all environments is a natural choice for many businesses for many years to come," Hölzle said.

Google's hybrid capabilities are benefitting from work started last year with Cisco.

David Goeckeler, executive vice president of Cisco's networking and security business, joined the keynote to tell the Google community the Cisco Certified Platform for Google Cloud will become generally available next month.

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