Is Google Anthos a multi-cloud gamechanger?

Anthos could represent Google’s big break into the enterprise cloud market.
17 April 2019

Google Cloud Next 18 session billboard in San Francisco. Source: Shutterstock

The enterprise tech industry has been rife with talk around the potential of hybrid cloud, and its promise is evidenced by the cloud leaders jostling for an early seat at the table.

It’s no surprise then that Google recently introduced Anthos, a new open platform that lets businesses run applications, unmodified, on existing on-prem hardware investments or in the public cloud.

Anthos’ hybrid functionality will be available on both on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and in data centers with GKE On-Prem.

The launch of the product has been regarded as the tech giant’s first real push for a slice of the enterprise technology market, and could arguably put some real pressure on rivals-in-cloud AWS and Microsoft Azure.

The objective of the platform is to let companies not only deploy Google Cloud in their own hybrid clouds but also be flexible enough to build, run and manage their workloads on other cloud providers (AWS and Azure), without requiring administrators and developers to learn different environments and APIs.

These multi-cloud capabilities are unique in the industry, and could therefore represent Google’s big break into the enterprise cloud market. It means customers don’t necessarily have to be locked into a single cloud provider but can switch between multiple services, or their own servers when they need to.

“This simplified solution allows our customers to train their developers on one technology and be able to run, secure and manage workloads consistently across clouds,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud.

Companies like HSBC are already using Anthos as a flexible, portable, software-based solution on which to build hybrid and multi-cloud environments. “At HSBC, we needed a consistent platform to deploy both on-premises and in the cloud,” says Darryl West, the bank’s Group CIO

“Google Cloud’s software-based approach for managing hybrid environments provided us an innovative, differentiated solution that was able to be deployed quickly for our customers.”

Siemens is another company that is utilizing GKE On-Prem in a complex hybrid cloud environment.

“Anthos is a great fit for us,” said Martin Lehofer, Head of Research at Siemens. “It gives us a unified management view of our hybrid deployment and a consistent platform to run our workloads across environments.”

Google claims to be already working with more than 30 hardware, software and system integration partners whose customers are reportedly requesting hybrid and multi-cloud approaches for the future of their businesses.

Before the launch of Anthos, building multi-cloud strategies required extensive custom software development, while Google’s new offering promises to work “out-the-box” with very little configuration required.

The launch of the product from the tech giant comes as customers increasingly want to develop applications anywhere, whether it’s on-prem, in the cloud, on in multiple clouds. Enabling customers to do this seamlessly and securely could be a very timely move by Google in a burgeoning cloud market.