Google Cloud Platform courts enterprises and they'll bite on tried and true pitches

Google Cloud Platform's key themes rhymed with previous enterprise technology marketing pitches that have worked well. A between the lines reading.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Google Cloud Platform's big pitch to enterprises is likely to resonate well. Why? Google used a mashup of tried-and-true messages that enterprises have bought into before.


Google Cloud Platform chief Diane Greene

The keynote from Google Cloud Platform's conference in San Francisco featured chief Diane Greene, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt and a series of execs and innovators to outline new tools for everything from infrastructure management to big data to analytics and machine learning.

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Overall, Google's enterprise cloud subtext was clear. The company wants enterprise customers to know that its cloud efforts aren't simply a beta. In some respects, the chore for Google Cloud Platform execs rhymed with what the company had to do with Google Apps in 2009. Schmidt gave a talk to CIOs at a Gartner conference to appeal to tech buyers and let them know Google was serious about the enterprise.

Google Cloud Platform announced the following:

  • Machine learning tools such as the Cloud ML platform and Speech API including Vision API and Translate API;
  • Enterprise features for audit logging, identity management, security and encryption keys for cloud storage and compute;
  • A monitoring tool in beta called Google Stackdriver that can manage ops for Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services;
  • Cloud tools for virtual private clouds, Cloud Router and Cloud CDN;
  • And new customers such as Disney and Coca Cola.

While Greene's talk was the most clunky of the bunch her enterprise knowhow and experience was all over the presentation and Google Cloud Platform messaging. In fact, Google Cloud Platform's core pitch resembled a mashup of previous strategies that have worked with enterprise customers.

Let's do the tour:

Embrace and extend. Microsoft did the embrace and extend trick by melding Windows and Internet Explorer back in the 1990s and then tried it until recently with other products. Google Cloud Platform is clearly embracing Amazon Web Services with its Stackdriver, a monitoring tool that manages both cloud services.

It's also very clear that Google Cloud Platform will share customers with AWS. Despite the hubbub over recent enterprise wins, it's worth noting that both Disney and Coca Cola, who joined Google on stage, were also AWS customers with well documented case studies. Here are the Disney and Coca Cola AWS cases.

Spotify is another benchmark customer that will also keep some of its infrastructure on AWS.

Google didn't note that co-customer tidbit, but it's clear that it wants to get in on AWS' customer base and then grab wallet share from there. Think of Google Cloud Platform as a frenemy giving AWS a hug.

What was really interesting is how Google didn't mention Microsoft Azure or any interconnections. Azure is No. 2 in the cloud race, but Google wants to go after No. 1 AWS and punch above its weight. That rhymes with multiple marketing campaigns when No. 3 goes after No. 1 and considers No. 2 collateral damage.

Open wins. It's hard to argue that the more open enterprise vendor garners more momentum. Red Hat proves this point almost daily. But there are so many enterprise vendors in the open source game it's unclear what an advantage it is. Most vendors use some derivative of being open as a marketing pitch.

Google's bet is that it is open throughout its cloud stack, but the real win will be machine learning and big data. The pitch here lives up to the advance billing.


"One pane of glass." Google execs noted that Stackdriver was one pane of glass to manage cloud infrastructure. That phrase isn't surprising given that Greene, who used to run VMware, is now in charge of Google's cloud ops. Depending on the enterprise technology niche, every vendor has one pane of glass to manage someone else's infrastructure. Cisco does this approach well in networking and hybrid cloud as does VMware of course.

One demo highlighted Stackdriver managing both Google's cloud and AWS. The demo showed how 90 percent went to AWS, but that couldn't possibly be good and then migrated workloads to Google. Comical, but you get Google's master plan pretty easily. By being a management layer on top of AWS Google is hoping to poach more usage.


It just works. You've heard some derivative of integration just working like it's magic from every vendor and most fall woefully short of the mark. Apple pulls it off better than most. But I thought I was going to hurl if I heard one more Google Cloud Platform exec say "what's valuable is what you don't see." The general idea is that Google Cloud Platform has automated so much of the tedious work that developers have a straight route to the end customer.


Will Google Cloud Platform just work like magic and get you to your machine learning and analytics nirvana? You got me. Rest assured plenty of enterprises will try to find out.

Your innovation partner. The idea that Google will keep innovating in the cloud was perhaps the biggest message. Google executives told attendees at its cloud powwow that they were buying into providers for the next decade and a wave of cloud advancements. The company said it has had 326 improvements to its services over the last 12 months.

You hear a similar pitch from IBM, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce and damn near every other enterprise vendor I didn't mention in the name of brevity.

"Innovations today are nothing compared to what's going to happen over the next two years," said Greene, who noted that Google Cloud Platform would serve as an "applied R&D team for our customers."


Schmidt talked about how Google got the architecture and scalability right to build the next-generation of applications.

Will enterprises bite? My guess is yes. It's clear that Google Cloud Platform is playing catch-up, but there are some areas where it can leapfrog its competition. If you view Google Cloud Platform's opening rhetoric like a political stump speech, you'd say the company spoke to its base and probably won over a few enterprises to at least do some due diligence. Google hit all the enterprise talking points such as security, hybrid cloud, analytics, cost and innovation to name a few.

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