Authored by Kedar Datar, Senior Architect
Google Cloud Next 2019 took place last month, April 9-11, at The Moscone Center in San Francisco. I was extra excited about this year’s event because one of Infogain’s solutions executives, Gans Subramanian, presented on the topic “Building Smarter Software Robots with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Google Cloud AI” at one of the event’s AI/ML workshops. The presentation included information on how Infogain was one of the first to deploy and integrate Automation Anywhere’s RPA platform to Google Cloud for a world leading digital hospitality marketplace; see more information here.
Back to the event. Thousands of the brightest and most creative thinkers in the world marked their presence at this three-day global conference. As with its event in 2018, Google pushed the envelope on technology development and unveiled some game-changing technologies. In addition, Google outlined a strategy that addressed how hybrid cloud, which is a current focus area for Infogain, can become the new normal for enterprise infrastructure management.
The event included several new product announcements. Here’s a review of some of the new products we are excited about:
Google announced ‘Anthos’, an enterprise hybrid, and multi-cloud platform. This is a Google Cloud Services platform that allows enterprises to run applications in their private data center, on Google’s cloud, and even on AWS and Azure. Built on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), with Anthos enterprises can use a single platform to manage and deploy their applications from any cloud. Additionally, they can manage their applications from a single dashboard and will receive a single bill. Service stack for Anthos is impressive from GKE on Prem, GCP Cloud Interconnect and Marketplace, Anthos Config Management; keep an eye out for a future post with further detail on this.
Google Cloud Run
Another announcement by Google was Cloud Run. Built on knative this is a fully managed platform that takes a Docker container image and runs it as a stateless, autoscaling HTTP service. Simply put, this beta product blends serverless with containerized app development. Google will consider the products of numerous open-source companies and assimilate the same into its cloud, essentially making them first-party services. The current partners are DataStax, Confluent, Neo4j, Redis Labs, InfluxData, MongoDB, and Elastic; with others likely to follow soon. Cloud Run has a free quota, up to 2 million requests are free with a quota reset each month.
Google’s AI Platform
This the complete AI platform by Google, that brings a range of existing and new products to one platform. This platform is designed as an end-to-end service for building, testing and deploying one’s own models. Developers or data scientists can use existing classification, object recognition or entity extraction models, or use tools like AutoML or the Cloud Machine Learning engine to train and deploy custom models.
A new series of enterprise AI and ML tools were revealed under this umbrella (all in beta)
- Document Understanding of AI for document analysis
- Contact Center AI for refining customer experience
- AutoML Table enables in turning structured data into predictive insights with the ability to train models without coding. Data can be ingested for modeling from Cloud Storage, BigQuery and other sources.
Android phone, a security key
Google announced that phones running on Nougat (Android 7.0) or higher can double as a security key to enable two-factor authentication. To enable this, set it up in your Google Account, and your phone will use Bluetooth to provide the second factor. This facility is currently available only for Chrome, however, Google will make this a standard that can be supported by other browsers and mobile operating system vendors. Google also recommends using a regular key as a backup in case you lose your phone.
Google Cloud Code
Google Cloud Code is a new tool for doing DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering. The Cloud Code is a set of plugins and extensions for popular IDE’s like VS Code and IntelliJ. Google aims to provide developers with all the tools required for building cloud-native applications. With Cloud Code, developers can write their applications the way they used to; then package them as cloud-native apps and ship them to a Kubernetes cluster for production or testing.
Google Cloud Targets Retailers
Google is launching a vertical solution directly aimed at retailers. This solution incorporates cloud-based functionality to enable omnichannel commerce, merchandising, store operations, product lifecycle management, and fulfillment.
BigQuery BI Engine
Google BigQuery BI Engine, one of the big announcements, is an integrated platform of AI services. This is a fast, in-memory analysis service, with which you can analyze data stored in BigQuery with sub-second query response time and with high concurrency.BI Engine integrates with familiar Google tools like Google Data Studio to accelerate data exploration and analysis. With BI Engine, you can build rich, interactive dashboards and reports in Data Studio without compromising performance, scale, security, or data freshness. BigQuery BI Engine will be free during its beta phase but offers simplified architecture, does not need complex data pipeline or servers, and has smart tuning which means few configuration settings.
Cloud Data Fusion
A beta product, Cloud Data Fusion is essentially a graphical, no-code tool to build data pipelines. This service lets you aggregate all your data sets in a single interface, and can be viewed even if it is hosted on other cloud services. Google’s pitching it as a way to ingest, integrate, and manipulate data using a library of open source transformations and over a hundred connectors. They’re mainly controlled through a drag-and-drop interface where data sets and pipelines are represented visually, without code. Cloud Data Fusion pricing is split across two functions: pipeline development and execution.
Cloud SQL with SQL Server
Cloud SQL for Microsoft SQL Server will launch later this year. Once launched, its customers will be able to bring current, on-premises SQL Server workloads to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Once on GCP, they can be run in a fully managed database service that individually handles patches, replication, backups, updates and more. It will preserve existing apps and data, and moreover, afford those apps access to GCP services like BigQuery for analytics and AI.
It will be safe to conclude that the event covered all aspects of the Google Cloud portfolio. The sheer number of announcements and the anticipation to use all their products, is making us giddy. Furthermore, the presence of the entire Google Cloud team at the event gave businesses the inspiration to unlock new opportunities.