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Elasticsearch cloud partnership plays to Google's base

Google's cloud partnership with Elastic brings the open source search engine and analytics tool to GCP, as Google tries to appeal to enterprises without ignoring its customer base.

Google's latest cloud partnership reaffirms the internet giant approaches cloud differently than its competito...


Google has teamed with Elastic to integrate Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with a managed version of Elasticsearch, the open source search engine. Elastic Cloud is the software-as-a-service edition of the Elastic Stack, which includes Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats and Logstash. Collectively, these tools can be used for search, log analysis and visualization for search, logging, security, metrics and analytics.

Public cloud providers have pushed hard to prioritize enterprise needs. Google, however, simultaneously caters to a broader customer base that's less concerned with traditional IT. The Elastic deal is yet another example of that. The deal also fits within Google's search and advertising sweet spot, and it will be able to sell subsidiary services that Elastic doesn't provide.

However, such services may be of interest mainly to specific segments within enterprises, including consumer-oriented marketers and those responsible for web and mobile apps, said John Rymer, an analyst with Forrester Research. That audience is a contrast from the B2B world, which thinks more about business and operational processes. And while B2B may find Google's services interesting, they're still more likely to work with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and IBM, Rymer added.

"It looks to me like [Google is] going deeper by partnering with an audience they already have a good foothold in, rather than expand into areas for traditional enterprise IT," he said.

Google and its partners stand apart

The partner ecosystem has become incredibly important to the large public cloud providers. Organic growth has largely been maxed out, so vendors rely on systems integrators that know how to speak to enterprises to generate new business, said Carl Brooks, an analyst with 451 Research.

You look at Google's partner network, and it's basically all alien science technology companies ... It's much more cutting-edge stuff, stuff that's not enterprise.
Carl Brooksanalyst, 451 Research

AWS, IBM, Microsoft and VMware all have the same partners, but Google's ecosystem is out of step from the rest, Brooks said. Partnerships such as this one with Elastic are meaningful to Google's developer audience and open the platform to new opportunities, but won't get the same results as a partnership with the likes of Wipro.

"You look at Google's partner network, and it's basically all alien science technology companies," he said. "It's much more cutting-edge stuff, stuff that's not enterprise-centric and much less Deloitte and CSC."

Elastic Cloud can be run on premises or in the public cloud, but this will be the tightest technology and go-to-market integration the company has done so far. Other advantages of Elastic Cloud on GCP include network speeds and connections to Google's machine learning analytics, said Craig Griffin, vice president of business development at Elastic, based in Mountain View, Calif.

Elastic Cloud runs on AWS, but there is no cloud partnership between the two companies. And AWS built its own competitive service, called Amazon Elasticsearch Service. The AWS iteration lags behind on the latest open source code and doesn't include Elastic's X-Pack, which has features for security, monitoring, alerts, Graph and reporting, Griffin said.

For its part, Elastic counts enterprise bona fides with Goldman Sachs, eBay and The New York Times among paying customers. It also plans to release an enterprise version of Elastic Cloud soon.

Elasticsearch is fairly wonky and not something bread-and-butter IT is accustomed to, but it could solve certain problems, Brooks said. Examples include a company with a lot of unmined data it wants to address, or procedural issues or roadblocks in modernizing an application.

Google's dual-track approach to the cloud

Google has made concerted efforts in recent years to dispel the notion that its public cloud isn't well-suited for enterprise workloads, including moves like the acquisition of API management company Apigee. It has extended partnerships to more traditional systems integrators and, at its recent Next conference, announced partnerships with SAP and Rackspace.

"They're trying to expand their relevance inside the enterprise and appeal to a broader range of enterprise buyers, but their home base is marketers and consumer-oriented marketers" Rymer said.

Google is in a difficult spot, though, as it tries to navigate both worlds and position itself as the best platform for next-generation applications. This strategy makes sense with the increased importance of areas such as internet of things and mobile, but Google must lure more traditional enterprises for it to work, Brooks said.

"If you don't get to the enterprise by the time they're ready to do that [next-generation] stuff, then they'll have already made huge investments in Microsoft and IBM and won't be consuming Google infrastructure," he said.

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

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