Tag Archives: Google

Google joins bare-metal cloud fray

Google has introduced bare-metal cloud deployment options geared for legacy applications such as SAP, for which customers require high levels of performance along with deeper virtualization controls.

“[Bare metal] is clearly an area of focus of Google,” and one underscored by its recent acquisition of CloudSimple for running VMware workloads on Google Cloud, said Deepak Mohan, an analyst at IDC.

Deepak MohanDeepak Mohan

IBM, AWS and Azure have their own bare-metal cloud offerings, which allow them to support an ESXi hypervisor installation for VMware, and Bare Metal Solution will apparently underpin CloudSimple’s VMware service on Google, Mohan added.

But Google will also be able to support other workloads that can benefit from bare metal availability, such as machine learning, real-time analytics, gaming and graphical rendering. Bare-metal cloud instances also avert the “noisy neighbor” problem that can crop up in virtualized environments as clustered VMs seek out computing resources, and do away with the general hit to performance known commonly as the “hypervisor tax.”

Google’s bare-metal cloud instances offer a dedicated interconnect to customers and tie into all native Google Cloud services, according to a blog post. The hardware has been certified to run “multiple enterprise applications,” including ones built on top of Oracle’s database, Google said.

Oracle, which lags far behind in the IaaS market, has sought to preserve some of those workloads as customers move to the cloud.

This is clearly an area of focus of Google.
Deepak MohanAnalyst, IDC

Earlier this year, it formed a cloud interoperability partnership with Microsoft, pushing a use case wherein customers could run enterprise application logic and presentation tiers on Azure infrastructure, while tying back to an Oracle database running on bare-metal servers or specialized Exadata hardware in Oracle’s cloud.

Not all competitive details laid bare

Overall, bare-metal cloud is a niche market, but by some estimates it is growing quickly.

Among hyperscalers such as AWS, Google and Microsoft, the battleground is in early days, with AWS only making its bare-metal offerings generally available in May 2018. Microsoft has mostly positioned bare metal for memory-intensive workloads such as SAP HANA, while also offering it underneath CloudSimple’s VMware service for Azure.

Meanwhile, Google’s bare-metal cloud service is fully managed by Google, provides a set of provisioning tools for customers, and will have unified billing with other Google Cloud services, according to the blog.

How smoothly this all works together could be a key differentiator for Google in comparison with rival bare-metal providers. Management of bare-metal machines can be more granular than traditional IaaS, which can mean increased flexibility as well as complexity.

Google’s Bare Metal Solution instances are based on x86 systems that range from 16 cores with 384 GB of DRAM, to 112 cores with 3,072 GB of DRAM. Storage comes in 1 TB chunks, with customers able to choose between all-flash or a mix of storage types. Google also plans to offer custom compute configurations to customers with that need.

It also remains to be seen how price-competitive Google is on bare metal compared with competitors, which includes providers such as Packet, CenturyLink and Rackspace.

The company didn’t immediately provide costs for Bare Metal Solution instances, but said the hardware can be purchased via monthly subscription, with the best deals for customers that sign 36-month terms. Google won’t charge for data movement between Bare Metal Solution instances and general-purpose Google Cloud infrastructure if it occurs in the same cloud region.

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For Sale – HP Chromebook 14-DB0003NA (BNIB)

Just received this as part of a promotion from Google (with early purchases of the Pixel 4).

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––​

It’s sealed in the box so would make a great Christmas present for someone
Here’s a link to the model (John Lewis)

14″ screen
AMD-A4 9120C APU
32GB eMMC storage
100GB Google Drive cloud storage (free first year)
4GB DDR4 RAM
Chrome OS
B&O speakers
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C ports
2 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x microSD slot
Bluetooth v4.2
Webcam with mics
Headphone port

Location
Worthing, West Sussex
Price and currency
£145
Delivery cost included
Delivery Is Included
Prefer goods collected?
I prefer the goods to be collected
Advertised elsewhere?
Advertised elsewhere
Payment method
Bank Transfer or Paypal Friends/Family

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AWS, Azure and Google peppered with outages in same week

AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud all experienced service degradations or outages this week, an outcome that suggests customers should accept that cloud outages are a matter of when, not if.

In AWS’s Frankfurt region, EC2, Relational Database Service, CloudFormation and Auto Scaling were all affected Nov. 11, with the issues now resolved, according to AWS’s status page.

Azure DevOps services for Boards, Repos, Pipelines and Test Plans were affected for a few hours in the early hours of Nov. 11, according to its status page. Engineers determined that the problem had to do with identity calls and rebooted access tokens to fix the system, the page states.

Google Cloud said some of its APIs in several U.S. regions were affected, and others experienced problems globally on Nov. 11, according to its status dashboard. Affected APIs included those for Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, BigQuery, Dataflow, Dataproc and Pub/Sub. Those issues were resolved later in the day.

Google Kubernetes Engine also went through some hiccups over the past week, in which nodes in some recently upgraded container clusters resulted in high levels of kernel panics. Known more colloquially as the “blue screen of death” and other terms, kernel panics are conditions wherein a system’s OS can’t recover from an error quickly or easily.

The company rolled out a series of fixes, but as of Nov. 13, the status page for GKE remained in orange status, which indicates a small number of projects are still affected.

AWS, Microsoft and Google have yet to provide the customary post-mortem reports on why the cloud outages occurred, although more information could emerge soon.

Move to cloud means ceding some control

The cloud outages at AWS, Azure and Google this week were far from the worst experienced by customers in recent years. In September 2018, severe weather in Texas caused a power surge that shut down dozens of Azure services for days.

Stephen ElliotStephen Elliot

Cloud providers have aggressively pursued region and zone expansions to help with disaster recovery and high-availability scenarios. But customers must still architect their systems to take advantage of the expanded footprint.

Still, customers have much less control when it comes to public cloud usage, according to Stephen Elliot, an analyst at IDC. That reality requires some operational sophistication.

It’s a myth that outages won’t happen.
Stephen ElliotAnalyst, IDC

“Networks are so interconnected and distributed, lots of partners are involved in making a service perform and available,” he said. “[Enterprises] need a risk mitigation strategy that covers people, process, technologies, SLAs, etc. It’s a myth that outages won’t happen. It could be from weather, a black swan event, security or a technology glitch.”

Jay LymanJay Lyman

This fact underscores why more companies are experimenting with and deploying workloads across hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures, said Jay Lyman, an analyst at 451 Research. “They either control the infrastructure and downtime with on-premises deployments or spread their bets across multiple public clouds,” he said.

Ultimately, enterprise IT shops can weigh the challenges and costs of running their own infrastructure against public cloud providers and find it difficult to match, said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research.

“That said, performance and uptime are validated every day, and should a major and longer public cloud outage happen, it could give pause among less technical board members,” he added.

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Google to unveil post-Chronicle cloud cybersecurity plans

Google is set to reveal how cloud cybersecurity technologies developed by Chronicle have been worked into its portfolio for large enterprise customers.

In June, Google Cloud announced it had acquired Chronicle, a startup launched within parent company Alphabet in 2015. Integration work has proceeded since then, and details will be shared at the Cloud Next ’19 UK conference, which begins in London on Nov. 20.

A recent report on Chronicle from Vice’s Motherboard publication painted a bleak picture of the company post-Google acquisition, with key executives including its founder and CEO departing, and dismal morale in the product-development trenches.

“People keep quitting. Sales doesn’t know what to do, since there’s no real product roadmap anymore. Engineering is depressed for the same reason,” an unnamed Chronicle employee told the site.

Asked for comment, a Google spokeswoman pointed to the company’s blog post on the upcoming announcements at Cloud Next UK, and did not address the claims of unrest at Chronicle.

Google plans to announce “multiple new native capabilities” for security, as well as planned new features for Backstory, Chronicle’s main cloud cybersecurity product, according to the blog.

Backstory can ingest massive amounts of security telemetry data and process it for insights. It is geared toward companies that have a wealth of this information but lack the staff or resources to analyze it in-house.

Customers upload their telemetry data to a private repository on Google Cloud infrastructure, where it is indexed and analyzed by Chronicle’s software engine. The engine compares the customer’s data against threat intelligence signals mined from many sources and looks for problematic correlations.

Backstory will compete with both on-premises security information and event management platforms and cloud cybersecurity systems, such as Sumo Logic and Splunk. Rival cloud providers have responded as well, with one prominent case being Azure Sentinel, which Microsoft launched this year.

Beyond performance and results, pricing may be a key factor for Backstory. Chronicle has made much of the fact that it won’t be priced according to data volume, but the exact nature of the business model still isn’t clear. Microsoft uses a tiered, fixed-fee pricing scheme for Azure Sentinel based on daily data capacity.

Backstory’s biggest opportunity may be outside Google Cloud

Jon OltsikJon Oltsik

While Chronicle’s staff would have enjoyed more freedom if kept independent from Google Cloud, there’s no evidence to suggest it’s being held back at this point, according to Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst for cybersecurity at Enterprise Strategy Group.

The Google Cloud management team needs to give Chronicle the latitude to innovate and compete.
Jon OltsikSenior principal analyst, cybersecurity, Enterprise Strategy Group

“The Google Cloud management team needs to give Chronicle the latitude to innovate and compete against a strong and dynamic market,” he said. “This should be the model moving forward and I’ll be monitoring how it proceeds.”

There is an emerging market for specific security analytics and operations tools for monitoring the security of cloud-based workloads, which aligns well with Google Cloud, Oltsik added. But the bigger opportunity lies with customers who aren’t necessarily Google Cloud users, he added.

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Google cloud network tools check links, firewalls, packet loss

Google has introduced several network monitoring tools to help companies pinpoint problems that could impact applications running on the Google Cloud Platform.

Google launched this week the first four modules of an online console called the Network Intelligence Center. The components for monitoring a Google cloud network include a network topology map, connectivity tests, a performance dashboard, and firewall metrics and insights. The first two are in beta, and the rest are in alpha, which means they are still in the early stages of development.

Here’s a brief overview of each module, based on a Google blog post:

— Google is providing Google Cloud Platform (GCP) subscribers with a graphical view of their network topology. The visualization shows how traffic is flowing between private data centers, load balancers, and applications running on computing environments within GCP. Companies can drill down on each element of the topology map to verify policies or identify and troubleshoot problems. They can also review changes in the network over the last six weeks.

— The testing module lets companies diagnose problems with network connections within GCP or from GCP to an IP address in a private data center or another cloud provider. Along with checking links, companies can test the impact of network configuration changes to reduce the chance of an outage.

–The performance dashboard provides a current view of packet loss and latency between applications running on virtual machines. Google said the tool would help IT teams determine quickly whether a packet problem is in the network or an app.

–The firewall metrics component offers a view of rules that govern the security software. The module is designed to help companies optimize the use of firewalls in a Google cloud network.

Getting access to the performance dashboard and firewall metrics requires a GCP subscriber to sign up as an alpha customer. Google will incorporate the tools into the Network Intelligence Center once they reach the beta level.

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HYCU backup for Google Cloud adds SAP HANA support

HYCU enhanced its Google Cloud Platform backup with SAP HANA support, offering it as a managed service that eases the burden on IT.

The HYCU Backup as a Service for Google Cloud is purpose-built for GCP, similar to how HYCU’s first major product was purpose-built for Nutanix data protection. It’s fully integrated into Google Cloud Identity & Access Management.

“It was built with the Google administrator in mind,” so there’s no extra training needed, said Subbiah Sundaram, vice president of products at HYCU.

Offering it as a service is critical to protecting cloud workloads natively, according to Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Christophe Bertrand. The firm’s research shows that IT professionals want similar features in cloud-native data protection as in their on-premises environments, but there are gaps.

“Among the key areas are enterprise-class scalability, which HYCU is addressing in this release with enhancements to cloud-native incrementals, scalability, mission-critical application support with SAP HANA and performance optimizations,” Bertrand wrote in an email. “Cloud is about scale, and this means that data protection mechanisms have to adapt.”

Protection for a ‘mission-critical application’

HYCU backup for GCP is supporting SAP HANA for the first time with this release. The support requires a special understanding of the infrastructure being protected and a mechanism to coordinate with SAP HANA to get a consistent copy, according to Sundaram.

The HYCU Backup as a Service uses Google snapshots for database-consistent, impact-free backup and recovery. It includes support for single file recovery.

The use of native storage snapshots is a distinguished approach, according to Bertrand.

“I expect that we will see a number of HYCU customers scale their environments in time,” Bertrand wrote. “SAP HANA is a mission-critical application in many enterprises, and in combination with GCP, offers a lot of promise for scaling deployments up and out, and the ability to do analytics for business uses beyond just backup or BC/DR.”

Sundaram said Google sellers and partners asked for the SAP HANA support — they want more customers adding SAP HANA on GCP. SAP HANA, an in-memory database for processing high volumes of data in real time, is popular with large retailers.

Screenshot of HYCU backup for Google Cloud Platform
HYCU backups use changed block tracking functionality to enable optimized bucket storage use.

Dive deeper into HYCU’s strategy

HYCU’s GCP backup product originally launched in July 2018. Because it is a service, HYCU takes care of the installation, management and upgrades. HYCU claims one-click backups.

It was built with the Google administrator in mind.
Subbiah SundaramVice president of products, HYCU

Users back up to Google Cloud Storage buckets. Starting with this update, HYCU backup uses changed block tracking to enable optimized bucket storage consumption.

HYCU can keep costs down because the customer doesn’t pay for compute, Sundaram said. The product’s incremental backups and auto-tiering also save money.

The product does not require caching storage, according to HYCU, which means cheaper data transfer for backup and better use of cloud storage.

HYCU, which is based in Boston, Mass., has built its strategy on offering specialized services that go deep in specific environments, according to Bertrand.

“It gives them this best of breed advantage over generalists, and our research shows that IT professionals have no problem using the best cloud backup solutions for the job at hand — meaning using a new solution or an additional vendor,” Bertrand wrote. “I believe that they are well-positioned to deliver additional services beyond backup and BC/DR, such as intelligent data management based on data reuse.”

HYCU Backup as a Service for Google Cloud is available on the GCP Marketplace and through authorized partners. Cost depends on the amount of data under protection and frequency of backup.

HYCU backup automatically updated for current customers in October.

In the coming weeks, HYCU expects to launch its Protégé product for multi-cloud disaster recovery and migration. It’s also planning a major update in early 2020 that will add another supported cloud platform.

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Google Cloud networking BYOIP feature could ease migrations

Google hopes a new networking feature will spur more migrations to its cloud platform and make the process easier at the same time.

Customers can now bring their existing IP addresses to Google Cloud’s network infrastructure in all of its regions around the world. Those who do can speed up migrations, cut downtime and lower costs, Google said in a blog post.

“Each public cloud provider is looking to reduce the migration friction between them and the customer,” said Stephen Elliot, an analyst at IDC. “Networking is a big part of that equation and IP address management is a subset.”

Bitly, the popular hyperlink-shortening service, is an early user of Google Cloud bring your own IP (BYOIP).

Many Bitly customers have custom web domains that are attached to Bitly IP addresses and switching to ones on Google Cloud networking would have been highly disruptive, according to the blog. Bitly also saved money via BYOIP because it didn’t have to maintain a co-location facility for the domains tied to Bitly IPs.

BYOIP could help relieve cloud migration headaches

IP address management is a well-established discipline in enterprise IT. It is one that has become more burdensome over time, not only due to workload migrations to the cloud, but also the vast increase in internet-connected devices and web properties companies have to wrangle.

Stephen Elliot, IDCStephen Elliot

AWS offers BYOIP though its Virtual Private Cloud service but hasn’t rolled it out in every region. Microsoft has yet to create a formal BYOIP service, but customers who want to retain their IP addresses can achieve a workaround through Azure ExpressRoute, its service for making private connections between customer data centers and Azure infrastructure.

Each public cloud provider is looking to reduce the migration friction between them and the customer.
Stephen Elliot Analyst, IDC

Microsoft and AWS will surely come up to par with Google Cloud networking on BYOIP, eventually. But as the third-place contestant among hyperscale cloud providers, Google — which has long touted its networking chops as an advantage — could gain a competitive edge in the meantime.

IP address changes are a serious pain point for enterprise migrations of any sort, particularly in the cloud, said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research.

“Hard-coded addresses and address dependencies can be hard to find,” he added. “They wind up being the ticking time bomb in many applications. They’re hard to find beforehand, but able to cause outages during a migration that are problematic to troubleshoot.”

Deepak Mohan, IDCDeepak Mohan

Overall, the BYOIP concept provides a huge benefit, particularly for large over-the-internet services, according to Deepak Mohan, another analyst at IDC.

“They often have IPs whitelisted at multiple points in the delivery and the ability to retain IP greatly simplifies the peripheral updates needed for a migration to a new back-end location,” Mohan said.

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Google releases TensorFlow Enterprise for enterprise users

Google Wednesday launched TensorFlow Enterprise, which promises long-term support for previous versions of TensorFlow on its Google Cloud Platform.

The new product, which also bundles together some existing Google Cloud products for training and deploying AI models, is intended to aid organizations running older versions of TensorFlow.

The product is also designed to help “customers who are working with previous versions of TensorFlow and also those where AI is their business,” said Craig Wiley, director of product management for Google Cloud’s AI Platform.

Open sourced by Google in 2015, TensorFlow is a machine learning (ML) and deep learning framework widely used in the AI industry. TensorFlow Enterprise, available on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), provides security patches and select bug fixes for certain older versions of TensorFlow for up to three years.

Also, organizations using TensorFlow Enterprise will have access to “engineer-to-engineer assistance from both Google Cloud and TensorFlow teams at Google,” according to an Oct. 30 Google blog post introducing the product.

“Data scientists voraciously download the latest version of TensorFlow because of the steady pace of new, valuable features. They always want to use the latest and greatest,” Forrester Research analyst Mike Gualtieri said.

Yet, he continued, “new versions don’t always work as expected,” so the “”dive-right-in” approach of data scientists is often at conflict with an enterprise’s standards.

Google’s TensorFlow Enterprise support of prior versions back to three years will accelerate enterprise adoption.
Mike GualtieriAnalyst, Forrester Research

“That’s why Google’s TensorFlow Enterprise support of prior versions back to three years will accelerate enterprise adoption,” Gualtieri said. “Data scientists and ML engineers can experiment with the latest and greatest, while enterprise operations professionals can insist on versions that work will continue to be available.”

TensorFlow Enterprise comes bundled with Google Cloud’s Deep Learning VMs, which are preconfigured virtual machine environments for deep learning, as well as the beta version of Google Cloud’s Deep Learning Containers.

To be considered for the initial rollout of TensorFlow Enterprise, however, organizations must have spent $500,000 annually, or commit to spending $500,000 annually on Google Cloud’s Deep Learning VMs, Deep Learning Containers, or AI Platform Training and Prediction products, or some combination of those systems.

Over the past several months, Google has made progress in a campaign to offer more tools on its Google Cloud Platform to train, test, and deploy AI models. In April 2019, the tech giant unveiled the Google Cloud AI Platform, a unified AI development platform that combined a mix of new and rebranded AI development products. At the time, analysts saw the release as a move to attract more enterprise-level customers to Google Cloud.

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Google hires former Microsoft Office exec to run G Suite

Google has hired a former top executive of Microsoft Office and Cortana to run G Suite. It’s Google’s latest move in a campaign to break Microsoft’s stranglehold on office productivity tools as businesses move to the cloud.

Javier Soltero, a veteran tech executive and entrepreneur, started this week as vice president of G Suite, a cloud-based competitor to Microsoft Office 365 that includes email, collaboration, word processing and file storage apps.

Soltero spent four years at Microsoft after the tech giant acquired his startup Acompli Inc., which made a mobile email app. Soltero served as corporate vice president of Outlook, followed by the Office product group, and finally Cortana, Microsoft’s AI voice assistant.

Soltero joins Google at a time when the vendor is investing heavily in its enterprise products. Google Cloud, which includes its public cloud platform, as well as G Suite, was on track to reach $8 billion in annual revenue as of July, and the division has significantly expanded its headcount this year.

Soltero is taking over for Prabhakar Raghavan, who recently left the cloud division to become Google’s senior vice president in charge of advertising and commerce. Soltero will report directly to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, who joined the company in early 2019.

Soltero brings experience that will help Google with its strategy for attracting enterprises. The plan includes providing advanced collaboration, AI, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, said Wayne Kurtzman, an analyst at IDC.

“Thomas Kurian, as Google Cloud CEO, has been effective at growing the Google Cloud offering, and backing it with the needed talent internally,” Kurtzman said.

Before founding Acompli, Soltero spent three years as CTO for cloud software and applications at VMware, after it acquired open source software vendor SpringSource. Soltero co-founded the application monitoring and management vendor Hyperic, which merged with SpringSource in 2009.

To compete with Office 365, Google launched an enterprise calling service this past spring, Google Voice for G Suite. The company is also in the process of transitioning its business users from messaging app Hangouts to the newer Hangouts Chat, a team collaboration app similar to Microsoft Teams.

Google also recently launched a video conferencing platform, Hangouts Meet, and has been adding features and admin controls commonly sought by medium and large businesses.

In February, Google announced that more than 5 million businesses were subscribed to G Suite, up roughly 25% over the past year. Anecdotally, analysts said the offering generally appeals to small businesses. Yet, some big names, such as Verizon and Colgate-Palmolive, also use G Suite.

Microsoft has not said how many businesses subscribe to Office 365. But in a quarterly earnings report Wednesday, the company said the cloud-based productivity suite had more than 200 million monthly active business users.

In a 2018 survey of more than 135,000 organizations worldwide, security vendor Bitglass Inc. found that more than half used Office 365, while roughly a quarter reported using G Suite.

Meanwhile, the research firm Gartner previously found that Microsoft’s cloud email offerings (Outlook and Exchange Online) had been growing at roughly twice the rate of Gmail among public companies in recent years.

“I’m incredibly excited to start this new adventure at Google Cloud, continuing to grow its much loved and widely used communications and collaboration products for both consumer and enterprise users,” Soltero said in a statement.

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For Sale – Intel Pentium Gold G5400 @ 3.70GHz, 8GB DDR4 Ram, Intel UHD Graphics 610, 120GB SSD, 2TB HDD

Going by a quick Google search I would price them as follows:

PC without SSD & HDD – £130 posted
SSD & HDD – £40 posted

These prices are only applicable if the two offers above are accepted based on my pricing. I won’t ship one part out without the other, so unless both sell at the same time, I would still like the unit to go as a whole.

So what do you guys think?

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