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Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian speaks at Google Cloud Next 2019. (GeekWire Photo / Tom Krazit)

Invoking the mythical tech promise of “write once, run anywhere,” Google Cloud announced a new product Tuesday that customers running its managed container services can use to manage multiple cloud or hybrid cloud deployments.

Anthos is based on Kubernetes, the open-source container-orchestration project originally developed at Google to manage complicated cloud deployments. Introduced right at the beginning of Google Cloud Next 2019, it’s part of the Cloud Services Platform unveiled at last year’s event and works with Google’s GKE managed Kubernetes service.

The idea behind Anthos is to give potential customers who are loathe to modify older applications to run on cloud servers a way to move those applications to Google’s cloud without having to modify their code. When coupled with GKE On-Prem on self-managed servers, Anthos will let customers run on their own servers, on Google’s servers, and even on cloud services provided by rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

“With Anthos, you can run anywhere,” said Google’s Jennifer Lin, demonstrating for the 30,000 Cloud Next attendees how the product can manage workloads running on AWS. This has been a long-running promise made by generations of tech companies that never quite seems to actually work in practice, but Kubernetes is perhaps the closest we’ve yet gotten to achieving that goal.

AWS and Microsoft have also prioritized hybrid cloud customers over the last few years. AWS has released several products developed in conjunction with data center stalwart VMware, and Microsoft’s Azure Stack product also offers similar technology.

Google also announced Anthos Migrate, a beta service that automatically moves virtual machines running on on-premises or other cloud providers into containers on GKE. Assuming it works, that’s a much easier path to the cloud for companies worried about breaking mission-critical applications during the move.

[Editor’s note: This post was updated several times as more information became available.]

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