Google finally throws some weight behind on-premises services

The Kubernetes service included in Google's new Cloud Services Platform works on both on-premises servers and the in cloud, and you won't know the difference.

Google finally throws some weight behind on-prem services
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One of the early knocks on Google’s cloud services is that it assumed a pure cloud play for every customer and had virtually nothing for supporting on-premises systems. While that might work for smaller businesses looking to shut down their data center and move to the cloud, those customers were in the minority.

At this week's Google Cloud Next '18 show, Google reversed course and acknowledged the on-premises market with the announcement of the Cloud Services Platform, an integrated suite of cloud services designed for organizations with workloads that are staying on premises.

"CIOs tell me they now realize they're going to be shutting down their data centers," Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene said in her Next keynote address. "And the other thing they say, looking at their workloads, there's just a tiny, tiny fraction that are in the cloud. That we must be very early."

The Cloud Services Platform puts on-prem and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) resources into a consistent development, management, and control paradigm, designed to make a consistent experience between the two. Oftentimes, cloud services operate differently from on-prem and require different skill sets.

Google Kubernetes Engine for on premises

One of the new services announced is Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for on premises, making Google the first cloud provider to offer fully-managed Kubernetes on premise. Dubbed GKE On-Prem, customers get unified multi-cluster management for GCP and on-premise with centralized monitoring and identity and access management.

In addition to GKE On-Prem, the new Cloud Services Platform will include GKE Policy Management, which will let Kubernetes administrators create a single source for Kubernetes policies that are used on-prem and in the cloud.

As part of the keynote demo, Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure at Google, showed a demo of GKE On-Prem running on top of VMware’s vSphere, and in the dashboard, GKE On-Prem appeared as both local services running on a rack of servers on stage and in an availability region in Google data centers.

This was no accident. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is partnered with VMware to help enterprises with VMware workloads migrate to AWS. So, Google was sending the message to VMware users that they have the only solution to run Kubernetes on prem and in their cloud.

There were other news announcements, as well, mostly based around the cloud rather than on-prem. For example, the company announced Cloud Build, a fully managed Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) platform. It has native Docker support, supports all the popular web development languages (e.g., Python and PHP), and comes with debugging tools.

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