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Google Cloud Platform continues enterprise march with new customers, SAP

With a handful of new customers and integration with SAP HANA, Google reiterates its readiness to support enterprise workloads on its public cloud platform.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google is on a mission to strengthen the case that its public cloud is fit for enterprises.

At the Google Cloud Next conference held here this week, Google trotted out a handful of high-profile enterprises to sing the praises of its Google Cloud Platform (GCP), including household names such as Home Depot, eBay and HSBC. While Google initially offered little in the way of new technologies and products, it was heavy on testimony that the vendor can handle not only the hoodie-clad developer set, but the more buttoned-up, traditional clients, as well.

Among the three dominant public cloud vendors, Google still trails Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure by a considerable margin; however, it's made strides over the past year to close the gap and specialize in analytics and machine learning. The company had previously tried to address its lack of enterprise credibility by bringing VMware co-founder Diane Greene on board in late 2015. And while the customers on display here this week don't have exclusive relationships with Google, they represent a deeper stable of enterprise clients than Google has previously been able to publicly muster.

Google did take one important step in its enterprise push here by disclosing a partnership with SAP. The SAP HANA in-memory database is now available on Google Cloud Platform and can be integrated with the G Suite and Google machine learning tools. The SAP HANA express edition is also available on GCP -- the first public cloud to add that particular integration -- and the two sides plan to add capabilities to have GCP serve as a data custodian for SAP workloads.

The SAP support is a critical move for Google to address enterprise needs, said Jason Stowe, CEO of Cycle Computing LLC, a company that focuses on enterprises and partners with all three hyperscale providers on automation for compute-heavy applications.

"When I talk to CIOs [about cloud], SAP in particular is first and foremost on people's minds," Stowe said.

SAP is already available on AWS and Azure. The other major market database, Oracle, is still not available on GCP. Oracle can be used on Google's two main competitors, though Oracle has upped the price to run its databases on those platforms, as it tries to become a force in the public cloud.

Other moves intended to bolster Google's enterprise bona fides include the additions of Pivotal Cloud Foundry to Google's Customer Reliability Engineering support program and Rackspace as a managed service provider. The Rackspace move is notable in that it had previously partnered with AWS and Azure, but held off on Google support, in part, because of lack of demand.

Google also expanded its existing support services with Engineering Support. This comes in three varieties: developer support, with four- to eight-hour response times at $100 per user, per month; production engineering support, with one-hour response time at $250 per user, per month; and on-call engineering support, with 15-minute response times any time of day at $1,500 per user, per month.

Next-generation apps the centerpiece of Google Cloud

Verizon and Colgate-Palmolive were here this week to discuss their use of G Suite, as Google tries to present a unified front that extends cloud beyond just infrastructure and platform as a service. Google also disclosed general availability of its Machine Learning Engine and the addition of the Cloud Video Intelligence API for machine learning.

Google benefits from the fact that AWS has already demonstrated the value of the cloud to enterprises. Now, the company wants to position itself to capture next-generation applications and stickier workloads that go beyond some of the basic compute and storage services that cloud offers, said Melanie Posey, research vice president at 451 Research.

"We're at a point where it's not about infrastructure that's faster, cheaper or more agile -- it's about what you do with the infrastructure," she said.

Trevor Jones is a news writer with SearchCloudComputing and SearchAWS. Contact him at [email protected].

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