Google unveils Cloud Services Platform, a family of cloud services

The integrated services, debuted at Google Next, are built for a hybrid cloud reality and include fully-managed Kubernetes on premise.

While infrastructure-as-a-service has existed for more than a decade, the market for cloud computing still has substantial room for growth: Worldwide spending on public cloud services will reach $186.4 billion this year, according to Gartner, yet remains just a fraction of overall IT spending.

Recognizing this, Google on Tuesday unveiled the Cloud Services Platform, an integrated family of cloud services designed for organizations with workloads that remain on premise. The platform made its debut on the first day of the Google Next cloud conference in San Francisco.

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

Earlier, Chen Goldberg, Google director of engineering, explained to reporters that the Cloud Services Platform "allows you to modernize wherever you are and at your own pace." By accommodating the reality of hybrid IT, Goldberg said, Google is "catering to the needs of IT organizations today and in the future."

In a nutshell, the Cloud Services Platform puts IT resources -- including both on-prem and GCP resources -- into a consistent development, management and control paradigm. It aims to overcome some of the typical tradeoffs of managing resources on the cloud versus on premise, such as the tradeoff between agility and security.

The services on the platform include Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Google's managed Kubernetes environment, on premise. Google says it's the first cloud provider to offer fully-managed Kubernetes on premise.

GKE On-Prem will soon be available in alpha. With it, customers get unified multi-cluster management for GCP and on-premise, centralized monitoring, professional services and support, and hybrid identity and access management.

In addition to GKE on-prem, the new Cloud Services Platform will include GKE Policy Management, which is coming soon to alpha. This service lets Kubernetes administrators create a single source of truth for policies that automatically syncs with all enrolled clusters. The platform also includes a GKE Serverless add-on, which lets customers deploy serverless workloads on Kubernetes Engine with just one step.

While Google is the first to bring Kubernetes on premise, other cloud providers have also embraced the popular cloud container orchestration program. Back in March, IBM announced it was offering Kubernetes fully-managed directly on bare metal. Last month, Amazon announced the general availability of EKS, a fully-managed service that allows Kubernetes to be used on AWS. Meanwhile, in October, Microsoft introduced a version of Azure Container Services dedicated to Kubernetes.

The Cloud Services Platform also includes developer tools: Cloud Build is a fully-managed Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) platform.

The platform also includes a managed Itsio service. Itsio is an open source service that Google helped launch, which gives developers a vendor-neutral way to manage networks of different microservices on cloud platforms. The managed service, available in alpha, will enable customers to manage services within a GKE cluster.

For workloads running on opinionated Istio infrastructure or Google App Engine, the Services Platform offers Stackdriver Service Monitoring. This new service gives administrators a way to view, in real time, all of their microservices and how they interact.

Google is working with partners like Cisco to make the Cloud Services Platform part of their validated on-premise offerings.