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Google Kicks Off Cloud Next OnAir With Announcement of BigQuery Omni, Confidential VMs, More

The opening keynote session at Google Cloud Next looked a little different this year. Instead of being greeted by a standing-room-only crowd at Moscone Center in San Francisco, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, stepped outdoors to film his welcome message, presumably in his backyard.

Pichai opened by discussing where Google has been and where he sees the company going. He addressed the challenges brought forth by the pandemic for both Google and its customers, focusing first on the sudden requirement for staff to work from home. “This experience allowed us to put our own tools to the test and make good use of our infrastructure investments,” he said. “In the process, we gained deeper insights into what tools will be helpful to others.”

Pichai then ran through several other examples of how Google Cloud supported businesses and individuals over the past few months, including implementing telehealth solutions, enabling online learning, and helping retailers scale up to meet e-commerce demand. “The goal was always to help you help yours. Your customers, your clients, your employees, and your communities. Now we are focused on helping organizations adapt to the changing world.”

To do so, he identified three trends emerging on the future of work: it will be more digital, more collaborative, and more flexible. “The pandemic has reaffirmed that work is not defined by a physical place – it can happen anywhere,” said Pichai. He then turned the presentation over to Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud, to share further details on Google’s vision and latest announcements.

Kurian opened by emphasizing Google’s mission to accelerate every organization’s ability to digitally transform and reimagine their business through data-powered innovation. He then highlighted three main capabilities to help achieve this: distributed infrastructure as a service, digital transformation platform, and industry-specific digital transformation solutions. In line with these capabilities, Google made some exciting product announcements. 

BigQuery Omni for Analytics Across Cloud Providers

The new analytics solution, BigQuery Omni, is built on Anthos and will enable customers to query data in AWS and Azure without having to move that data to Google Cloud. “You can bring the power of BigQuery analytics to where your data sits without having to pay expensive egress fees in moving that data from other cloud providers to Google,” Kurian explained. 

This announcement marks another milestone in Google’s mission to organize the world’s information. Up until now, to make sense of your data you needed to send your information to Google Cloud – that is no longer the case.

With this solution, Anthos’ far-reaching vision is starting to take shape. Google’s innovation in platform services is now becoming available anywhere and everywhere. The ability to run BigQuery on other clouds and in our data centers is going to radically open up new possibilities.

At Maven Wave, we have already started solving some very difficult challenges for multiple clients using this technology. It creates a win-win situation for many. The best of Google’s innovation is now available for use, without having to go through a long, arduous journey of cloud migration for the large enterprise. On the other side, you will already be prepared for Google Cloud when you get there, and if you want to go there.

Confidential VMs Ensure Encryption

Another exciting announcement was the introduction of Confidential VMs, part of a new Confidential Computing portfolio. This allows customers to run workloads in Google Cloud and ensure that data is encrypted at rest, in transit, and while it is being processed. 

At first glance, it’s hard to imagine how companies can hand over data to a cloud provider for processing with a guarantee that said data cannot be snooped upon. But human ingenuity and technology at their best are finally starting to answer this difficult question.

How is this possible? While not exactly the same, it is a similar concept to a storage locker in a bank vault that cannot be opened without your key. You are still using the bank’s real estate and security to safeguard your belongings and yet, nobody in the bank can access your belongings without your key.

Google has innovated yet again and led the conversation in standardizing these security concerns. This announcement is a big step toward much-needed privacy controls in this world of open communication. These VMs are built on the open-source framework Asylo that was introduced by Google in 2018. This has key features meant to provide compliance and trust as well as protect against compromise. It’s great to see this progress in the industry.

Additional Product Advancements

Other announcements during the keynote centered around new features for existing Google products and services. New Anthos capabilities include a Bare Metal version that customers can run in their existing hardware platforms and support for AWS and Azure (in preview). Viewers also got a look at the plans to continue to expand Anthos capabilities to support bringing additional workloads to Google Cloud.

New analytics capabilities include streaming analytics to support industries like financial services and retail in running queries in real-time and natural language processing for BigQuery. And new machine learning capabilities are offered with Active Assist, a portfolio of intelligent tools to help actively assist in managing complexity in your cloud operations.

Kurian wrapped up the keynote by discussing the steps forward. “This is a very defining moment for all of us around the world, to have the hope and the optimism to reimagine your business as you recover from the pandemic. We at Google take our responsibility to support you in that mission.”

As the three-time Google Cloud North American Services Partner of the Year, Maven Wave is committed to supporting businesses in creating solutions to address immediate business-critical needs and long-term strategic initiatives.

July 15th, 2020

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