I spent Tuesday at the Google Cloud Platform Live event in San Francisco. This is Google's equivalent of AWS re:Invent, which is scheduled by odd coincidence the week before Amazon's cloud conference. ;) The event started at 9 AM and ran through 5:30 PM, ending with an afterparty at a local club complete with Google sponsored food trucks. I would guestimate about 500 people attended in person, with many more attending via remote video. Overall it was a well attended event with a very engaged audience.

Some random observations:

  • While Google cloud still relatively small compared to AWS, it seems to be growing at a very rapid rate.
  • Cloud strategy seems based on clear internal vision for how infrastructure will be used in future.
  • Key message: how we will build applications in the cloud will fundamentally transform over the next five years.
  • IaaS will be wrong way to build cloud applications (but fine for now).
  • Product teams seem focused on constructing core building blocks that will enable expression of complex applications.
  • You get sense Google just getting its release velocity going, and innovation momentum is buiding now.
  • The cloud trinity of GAE (Google App Engine), GCE (Google Compute Engine) and GKE (Google Container Engine) provides enormous flexibility.
  • Local Boston acquisition StackDriver got some good keynote play.
  • Focused on not following AWS, but innovating based on Google's unique experiences operating infrastructure at scale.
  • Very personal event, with outstanding access to key leaders in GCP.
  • Managed VM is really interesting bridge between GAE and GCE.
  • Google equiavalent of AWS Identity & Access Management (IAM) is their biggest weakness in strategy. I often think many people overlook brilliance behind AWS IAM. It's critical for enterprises and even startups now.
  • No external dates for Google equivalent service, but seemed general unerstanding this is gap in strategy.
  • Product managers and engineering managers did a great job of engaging customers and being very open.
  • Overall very open & collaborative atmosphere.
  • Best revenue estimate I was able to triangulate from various discussions was about $500M and growing fast. Majority in GAE.
  • Heard rumors a pricing API might be coming out by end of year. That would make them first cloud provider to provide API to pricing (yes, personal nit for me).
  • Small partner area that had moderate attendance. Attendees seemed mostly interested in sessions and ad-hoc discussions.
  • Differentiating announcements: Kubernetes (open source API for managing containers), Managed VMs (AppEngine support for containers), Google Container Engine (hosted Kubernetes).
  • Competitive announcements: price cuts (e.g. 10% off compute), support for local SSDs for GCP, Ubuntu support on GCP, Compute Engine Autoscaler, Google Cloud Interconnect (basically AWS VPC + DirectConnect).
  • Comment made several times: "Bringing Moore's Law to the cloud." Context: pricing.
  • Fireside chat at end (see 7:43:00 in video) of conference was moderated discussion with leadership team. I highly recommend watching it. Best session of conference.

Overall I enjoyed and will be back for next GCPLive.