Schmidt: Enterprise shouldn't fear Google cloud

Google CEO Eric Schmidt reckons the company's cloud computing model is mature and secure enough for the enterprise -- but without support staff, analysts say business users won't touch Google.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt reckons the company's cloud computing model is mature and secure enough for the enterprise -- but without support staff, analysts say business users won't touch Google.

"We do actually have outages, but you don't detect them," said Schmidt.

Despite making significant moves into the business space with the likes of Apps Premier Edition and the acquisition of Postini, Schmidt, who was in Sydney today, said that just three percent of Google's revenue comes from enterprise clients, with the remaining 97 percent coming from search advertising.

However, Schmidt could not say when or what it would take for Australian businesses to take Google's application offering seriously -- only that Microsoft licence renewals will offer an opportunity for enterprises to reassess whether to continue with Redmond's offerings.

Schmidt said: "At some point in your firm, someone is going to say: 'Well maybe there is an alternative in the enterprise', and they're going to do an evaluation. And they're going to say the cloud computing model has its strengths and weaknesses."

"[But] we know that our model is so good, right, that people are willing to overcome a fair number of those limitations. They're willing to take the jump. And I think with the investment we're putting into our Enterprise Apps, it'll become easier and easier to get over the next year... I'm quite sure if you have a good infrastructure for broadband -- which you do have here -- this model is going to work."

Cloud computing, said Schmidt, does not necessarily mean a trade-off in security terms.

"What assurances that the information you have in your computer is safe -- that it is properly stored and so forth? So it's important to understand that you really are making trade offs of one versus the other," he said.

Australian businesses are keen to see the development of cloud computing in Australia, according to S2 Intelligence analyst and managing director, Bruce McCabe.

"Large businesses are intensely interested in principle but they do not believe Google offers enterprise-ready services yet," he told ZDNet.com.au.

The other challenge facing Google is providing the necessary support staff, according to McCabe: "Google, so far in this country, has a non-existent touch with Australian enterprises. So, until you can have a Google account manager calling on the bank, it's hard to imagine the bank making a substantial commitment with Google," he said.