Despite a lot of grumbling that Google needs to improve its enterprise sales outreach to properly compete in the cloud, the company still seems to think it’s best to put its technology first.
“Very few people will grow up and be the scale of Google,” said Greg DeMichillie, director of product management in the Office of the CTO for Google Cloud. However, “what you do see is the problems we faced that caused us to build our infrastructure are pretty universal,” and showing cloud customers that they can benefit from what Google has learned resonates, he said at the GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit.
Google is used to criticism that cloud computing is the one that got away from the search giant, which built an incredible array of custom data center hardware in the mid-2000s only to watch Amazon slowly grow into the dominant cloud player over that time frame. The company’s mindset has definitely changed: the cloud division is now easily Google’s fastest-growing group in terms of investments in headcount and research, and it’s doing much of that work in the Seattle area, DeMichillie said.
And Google believes it has something competitors like AWS and Microsoft can’t match: “Google has been running the world’s largest private cloud for years,” he said.
But while Google’s technology is indeed impressive, it’s not like AWS and Microsoft are stringing a few servers together with worn-out cables. Selling enterprise technology is generally a long, drawn-out process with lots of hand-holding and relationship building, and that’s something that Google had never done particularly well until Diane Greene was hired to oversee its cloud efforts in 2015.
While acknowledging that Google is ramping up its softer side, DeMichillie said “we really do value an engineer to engineer conversation. When we can get a real Google engineer working on data flow sitting with an executive at Home Depot, the conversation becomes a lot deeper.”