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Google Cloud: In the future, increasingly also in the data center and at the edge

Google Distributed Cloud is the name of the mix of hardware and software offerings that extend the Google Cloud infrastructure to the edge area and into the customer’s data centers. Even locally processed workloads, for example because they require low latencies or cannot be completely or not immediately relocated to the cloud due to industry and region-specific compliance and security requirements, should enjoy the benefits of the Google Cloud in the future. This was announced by Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian and Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai at the opening keynote of Next ’21 in addition to a whole series of new partnerships with large companies.

Following the individual requirements, customers can die Google Distributed Cloud operate at several locations and distributed across different instances. Google’s Network Edge is spread across 146 global Edge network locations. The operator edge is optimized for use cases with low latency: Customers can use 5G and LTE services that Google is developing with communication service providers such as Nokia and Ericsson. Customer Edges support customer edge and remote locations such as retail stores, factories, or branch offices that require data to be processed directly at the “edge” locations. In order to integrate on-premises implementations, Google also wants to support customer-owned data centers and colocation facilities.

At Next ’21, Google presented its future cloud concept.

(Image: Google)

One of the first two products in the Google Distributed Cloud portfolio is Google Distributed Cloud Edge, which is already in the preview. It enables enterprise applications to run together with 5G core and radio access network functions at the edge. Cloud solution providers can use it to run workloads on Intel and NVIDIA technologies to provide new 5G and Edge use cases. In addition, Google wants to address ISV and network function partners as well as application developers: Your products should scale faster and more efficiently.

The second product in the suite is Google Distributed Cloud Hosted, which enables you to set up your own cloud in the data center. Google touts the product as a way to modernize on-premises environments that are subject to strict security requirements.

The administration platform Google Anthos forms the foundation of the two Google Distributed Cloud products. The open source software Anthos itself is based on the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) container platform implemented by Google and can be implemented on hardware managed by Google at the customer or at the edge location.

With the also newly introduced Anthos for VMs, Google offers a uniform developer platform on which customers can create, edit and provide both containers and virtual machines in a common environment. Here, users can use the Anthos Control Plane to establish a connection to a vSphere environment in order to integrate existing vSphere VMs into Anthos. With this, Google wants to guarantee consistent security across clusters, the management of data traffic for both VMs and containers, as well as observability across all operated services.

The new Anthos Cloud API will be available from the end of 2021. It enables the provision and management of GKE clusters running on AWS or Azure infrastructures directly via the CLI and the Google Cloud Console.

Anthos Config Management, Anthos Service Mesh and a number of other services that Google originally developed for hybrid and multi-cloud use cases in Anthos are now also available for the Google Cloud platform:

Anthos Config Management is designed to simplify configuration and policy automation for GKE customers. The now available Anthos Service Mesh extends security and network functions for the configuration of container-based microservices. It also supports hybrid meshes from Google Cloud and on-premises implementations.

In the area of ​​big data and artificial intelligence, Google has also announced further products: The focus is increasingly on real-time analyzes. With the Vertex AI Workbench, Google is expanding the Vertex AI published in May 2021. The Workbench is a revised development environment that is intended to simplify user guidance and thus shorten the development of machine learning models. In order to cope with the complex data management in hybrid and multi-cloud environments, the company is also announcing the general availability of BigQueryOmni (GA): It is a multi-cloud analysis tool that does not only look at data in Google Cloud, but also which can be accessed at AWS and soon also Azure.

The open source data processing engine Spark will also be part of the premium range of Google Cloud in the future. In addition, Google announced enhancements for the AI ​​and ML applications Contact Center AI (CCAI) and DocAI. CCAI Insights aims to use artificial intelligence to improve customer contact in companies’ service centers. The software simulates artificial service employees who can understand, interact and speak. It can generate and evaluate data from the conversations between virtual service staff and customers.

DocAI automates data acquisition and is intended to help companies analyze and evaluate documents efficiently. The software uses AI text recognition and Natural Language Processing (NLP), which can create pre-trained models for documents at a high level.

In addition to the product announcements, Google also addressed the topic of sustainability: A number of partners, including Planet, Carto, Climate Engine, Geotab and NGIS, bring their data and applications into the Google Cloud to help customers make sustainable decisions . With the carbon footprint reporting, a carbon footprint report is created for every Google Cloud platform customer. In addition, Google wants to proactively inform its customers about all unused cloud instances and the associated CO2 emissions: Deleting these instances should reduce the CO2 footprint in the cloud.

The expanded business relationships also announced are based on the company’s five cloud focus areas: provision of future-proof data, analysis and AI functions; Helping clients accelerate sustainability initiatives; Offering an open and flexible infrastructure; Support in collaboration and networking of distributed work; Providing trusted, safe products and services.

At the event, Google also announced updates to its workspace platform, including the integration of Jira into Google Chat and Spaces.

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