Google's Enterprise Strategy May Be Solid After All

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There has been some doubt lurking in the trenches about whether Google has a solid, organized enterprise strategy. But there have been some recent developments that indicate that Google might have a viable game plan to become a player in the enterprise space. Yesterday, Google rolled out Google Apps Directory Sync, a tool that will let businesses sync the user account information in Google Apps with Microsoft Active Directory or Lotus Domino. Google says it’s using technology from Postini, security and compliance company Google acquired in 2007, to import information from users’ LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) systems, which includes mailing lists, groups, and user aliases, to a user’s Google Apps account. This utility will help many businesses, schools etc. who are currently using Google Apps save a lot of time and energy when it comes to importing information to their Google Apps system.

Another way that Google is strengthening its place in the enterprise cloud is through the company’s recent plan (unveiled at Google Campfire) to enhance Google Apps security by adding a Secure Data Connector (SDC) to its engine. SDC is built around having an agent inside the firewall, which connects to servers inside of Google. This gives Google servers policy-controlled access to data that businesses have chosen to expose. Basically, SDC allows secure access to data behind firewall for use in cloud based apps hosted on App Engine.

Google also announced that SDC and Oracle’s Siebel customer care and CRM software will be connected to the engine, showing an example of using the SDC to build an app behind a firewall. With SDC and a partnership with Oracle (who just bought Sun Microsystems and their cloud strategy), Google can compete with Salesforce, Amazon and soon Microsoft, offering enterprises a cloud-based application that can combine the Apps engine with secure data behind a firewall.

The ability for these apps to adapt to change easily in the cloud is an advantage to putting Google Apps in the public cloud, says Rajen Sheth, Google’s Senior Product Manager of Google Apps. Sheth recently wrote a response to a McKinsey report, “Clearing the Air on Cloud Computing,” that claimed that large corporations could lose money through the adoption of cloud computing. The report paints cloud computing as over-hyped and maintains that cloud computing services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) overcharge large companies for a service the companies could do better on their own. The study also says that while cloud computing is optimal for small and medium-sized businesses, large companies will spend less if using traditional data centers and recommends that large companies focus on virtualizing storage. Sheth wrote in his post:

While the cost advantages of cloud computing can be great, there’s another advantage that in many ways is more important: the rapid pace of innovation. IT systems are typically slow to evolve. In the virtualization model, businesses still need to run packaged software and endure the associated burden. They only receive major feature enhancements every 2-3 years, and in the meantime they have to endure the monthly patch cycle and painful system-wide upgrades. In our model, we can deliver innovation quickly without IT admins needing to manage upgrades themselves. For example, with Google Apps, we delivered more than 60 new features over the last year with only optional admin intervention.

Sheth says that McKinsey’s report focuses only on hardware costs and neglects to recognize the value private clouds have when it comes to scalability and and the ability for cloud environments to adapt to on-demand solutions and innovations. He says the massive scalability of apps in the cloud is best exemplified by a recent online town hall meeting held by President Obama, which used Google Moderator. Sheth says the “White House was able to instantly scale its database to support more than 100,000 questions and in excess of 3.5 million votes, without worrying about usage spikes that typically would be tough to manage. Because of the cloud, there was no need to provision extra servers to handle the increased demand or forecast demand ahead of time.”

So perhaps Google is slowly but surely creating a solid enterprise plan-the three areas above seem to show that Google has a focus and direction where they are taking Google Apps, App Engine and enterprise class technologies that they acquire and integrate.

  • Roy

    I don’t know about goog anymore. It has had a good run, but the economy is tough. And they’re getting desperate.

    The stock trends seem to suggest its pace is slowing:

    http://www.traderbots.com/stocks/Stock.aspx?symbol=goog

    • Richard

      I would believe it. Google has been going up for a while, but eventually it’ll face reality

      • http://simplerobb.com SIMPLEROBB.COM

        I corporation can only get so big.

  • Roy

    I don’t know about goog anymore. It has had a good run, but the economy is tough. And they’re getting desperate.

    The stock trends seem to suggest its pace is slowing:

    http://www.traderbots.com/stocks/Stock.aspx?symbol=goog

    • Richard

      I would believe it. Google has been going up for a while, but eventually it’ll face reality

      • http://simplerobb.com SIMPLEROBB.COM

        I corporation can only get so big.

  • http://iphonehelp.in/ Annkur

    With over 95% revenue coming from online ADs, Google is surely trying to grow other sources of revenue.

    Apart from the amazing products that Google makes, they aren’t under great pressure to generate too much revenue from enterprise operations immediately. This helps them…

  • http://iphonehelp.in/ Annkur

    With over 95% revenue coming from online ADs, Google is surely trying to grow other sources of revenue.

    Apart from the amazing products that Google makes, they aren’t under great pressure to generate too much revenue from enterprise operations immediately. This helps them…

  • Mario

    One can also use browser tools such as iMacros or Selenium to import/export data to/from any website. Its very efficient. Some of our larger consulting clients used that approach successfully.

  • Mario

    One can also use browser tools such as iMacros or Selenium to import/export data to/from any website. Its very efficient. Some of our larger consulting clients used that approach successfully.

  • MC

    This appears to be a paid article by Google rather then a well thought, numbers driven analysis. This is exactly why random journalist should not claim to be strategy experts. What about size, growth of these services/products in the enterprise market. Moreover, does this sheth fellow have any empirical data/facts to estimate monetory value of cloud flexibility. He does not have a clue that ultimately that flexibility also has a cost ..the capacity does not appear by magic.

    • Steve Gillmor

      Calling journalists names is not an enterprise strategy, and it strongly suggests your “expertise” is a rounding error compared to Sheth’s well-reasoned post. There are arguments on both sides of this cloud computing discussion, but yours is not one of them.

      • Dave

        Your reply to that buffoon was brilliant.

        Way to go mate.

      • Paul

        Er, what name did he call someone? Did you edit the offending comment?

    • http://tarundua.net Tarun Dua

      “..the capacity does not appear by magic.”
      Capacity expansion has a near zero incremental capital cost for a ‘public’ cloud user. If you are using a public cloud your operations team already knows how to operate it so adding capacity doesn’t cost you more in capital expenditure, only the additional operational expenses at commodity prices.

      • MC

        Yes. and opex directly impacts the EBIT…in other words, calling it “Cloud” does not make it a free. I can also show you that the CapEx will not be near zero, in fact it will be stepped curve which means till one reaches the full capacity, one is overinvesting in the “cloud”

    • http://www.allurefx.com Sekhar Ravinutala

      Hey MC, I don’t think it’s possible at this time to make a numbers-based case for/against clouds because we just don’t have enough data points. May be in a year or so. I think Leena makes a good case using good old reasoning/logic.

      Leena, one other big deal WRT attracting enterprise folks is the recent support for Java on App Engine. We currently have a Java project on GAE, and I’ve found that compared to the old Python based approach that was quite Google proprietary, the Java implementation is all standards based and should really attract enterprise folks.

      E.g., we’re using JPA for accessing Google proprietary non-relational BigTable, JavaMail for Google mail, JCache for their proprietary memcache, etc. Plus, it’s all a servlet setup, and we use even AMF to send the data back to Flex. My point is: (1) we can now develop like we develop for any app server and (2) we can move the whole thing over to say Oracle WebLogic Server on EC2 down the road if we want to – no lock in.

  • MC

    This appears to be a paid article by Google rather then a well thought, numbers driven analysis. This is exactly why random journalist should not claim to be strategy experts. What about size, growth of these services/products in the enterprise market. Moreover, does this sheth fellow have any empirical data/facts to estimate monetory value of cloud flexibility. He does not have a clue that ultimately that flexibility also has a cost ..the capacity does not appear by magic.

    • Steve Gillmor

      Calling journalists names is not an enterprise strategy, and it strongly suggests your “expertise” is a rounding error compared to Sheth’s well-reasoned post. There are arguments on both sides of this cloud computing discussion, but yours is not one of them.

      • Dave

        Your reply to that buffoon was brilliant.

        Way to go mate.

      • Paul

        Er, what name did he call someone? Did you edit the offending comment?

    • http://tarundua.net Tarun Dua

      “..the capacity does not appear by magic.”
      Capacity expansion has a near zero incremental capital cost for a ‘public’ cloud user. If you are using a public cloud your operations team already knows how to operate it so adding capacity doesn’t cost you more in capital expenditure, only the additional operational expenses at commodity prices.

      • MC

        Yes. and opex directly impacts the EBIT…in other words, calling it “Cloud” does not make it a free. I can also show you that the CapEx will not be near zero, in fact it will be stepped curve which means till one reaches the full capacity, one is overinvesting in the “cloud”

    • http://www.allurefx.com Sekhar Ravinutala

      Hey MC, I don’t think it’s possible at this time to make a numbers-based case for/against clouds because we just don’t have enough data points. May be in a year or so. I think Leena makes a good case using good old reasoning/logic.

      Leena, one other big deal WRT attracting enterprise folks is the recent support for Java on App Engine. We currently have a Java project on GAE, and I’ve found that compared to the old Python based approach that was quite Google proprietary, the Java implementation is all standards based and should really attract enterprise folks.

      E.g., we’re using JPA for accessing Google proprietary non-relational BigTable, JavaMail for Google mail, JCache for their proprietary memcache, etc. Plus, it’s all a servlet setup, and we use even AMF to send the data back to Flex. My point is: (1) we can now develop like we develop for any app server and (2) we can move the whole thing over to say Oracle WebLogic Server on EC2 down the road if we want to – no lock in.

  • http://www.zoho.com Raju Vegesna

    Integration with on-site systems like LDAP is a good move and is required to make any headway into Enterprises. The reality is, no matter what vendors say, most enterprises prefer to keep their data inside their firewall for several reasons and integration with their existing systems is one of them.

    For SMBs, SaaS model works. For Enterprises, a new deployment model which is a combination of SaaS and ‘Behind the Firewall’ is emerging.

    • http://tarundua.net Tarun Dua

      Raju,
      Good point, however large multi-location enterprises are not closed computing silos as they are made out to be. Services that need to be provided to Road warriors and out of home workers can also be leveraged for public clouds.
      -Tarun

    • http://www.rehanyarkhan.com Rehan yar Khan

      Did I understand correctly that Google’s SDC is a App on the cloud with data behind the firewall?

    • http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/viewListing?productListingId=4648878+546703598972236382 Justen Stepka

      Solutions like Atlassian’s Crowd enable administrators to keep their LDAP passwords secure and on their own network by having Google Analytics dialout over SAML.

  • http://www.zoho.com Raju Vegesna

    Integration with on-site systems like LDAP is a good move and is required to make any headway into Enterprises. The reality is, no matter what vendors say, most enterprises prefer to keep their data inside their firewall for several reasons and integration with their existing systems is one of them.

    For SMBs, SaaS model works. For Enterprises, a new deployment model which is a combination of SaaS and ‘Behind the Firewall’ is emerging.

    • http://tarundua.net Tarun Dua

      Raju,
      Good point, however large multi-location enterprises are not closed computing silos as they are made out to be. Services that need to be provided to Road warriors and out of home workers can also be leveraged for public clouds.
      -Tarun

    • http://www.rehanyarkhan.com Rehan yar Khan

      Did I understand correctly that Google’s SDC is a App on the cloud with data behind the firewall?

    • http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/viewListing?productListingId=4648878+546703598972236382 Justen Stepka

      Solutions like Atlassian’s Crowd enable administrators to keep their LDAP passwords secure and on their own network by having Google Analytics dialout over SAML.

  • Leo

    That’s some great insight you offered us… thanks for the great job! ^_^

  • Leo

    That’s some great insight you offered us… thanks for the great job! ^_^

  • http://sthrt.com homepage

    Go Google Go… I’m excited about the Active Directory integration… break down the Microsoft Barriers.

  • http://sthrt.com homepage

    Go Google Go… I’m excited about the Active Directory integration… break down the Microsoft Barriers.

  • http://tarundua.net Tarun Dua

    Google, seems to make too much ado about not requiring operations time. What is gained in operations time is infact lost in additional developer time spent to develop and maintain applications on their ‘cloud’.

    -Tarun

  • http://tarundua.net Tarun Dua

    Google, seems to make too much ado about not requiring operations time. What is gained in operations time is infact lost in additional developer time spent to develop and maintain applications on their ‘cloud’.

    -Tarun

  • http://opensourceerpguru.com/ Open Source ERP Guru

    Google will never be a strong player in the enterprise world. sorry. I love G., they have great products, but it requires a lot more commitment than what Google are showing to become a software vendor or service provider in a fortune 500 company.
    Why will Microsoft never be strong in search? Why will Oracle never be strong in online ads? The same reason Google cannot become meaningful in the enterprise – it’s not enough to have great engineers and product managers, it takes a lot more than that. Sales cycles in the Enterprise are long, while Google generates revenue in fractures of seconds (serving ads). It has no sales people. No consultants. No long term contracts.
    The only way for Google to go into the enterprise is through acquisitions. Cash is no problem, Google has lots of it. But why would they want to do it?

    • http://www.rehanyarkhan.com Rehan yar Khan

      because they believe there are no worthwhile SaaS products out there to buy? After all SaaS is fairly nascent!

  • http://opensourceerpguru.com/ Open Source ERP Guru

    Google will never be a strong player in the enterprise world. sorry. I love G., they have great products, but it requires a lot more commitment than what Google are showing to become a software vendor or service provider in a fortune 500 company.
    Why will Microsoft never be strong in search? Why will Oracle never be strong in online ads? The same reason Google cannot become meaningful in the enterprise – it’s not enough to have great engineers and product managers, it takes a lot more than that. Sales cycles in the Enterprise are long, while Google generates revenue in fractures of seconds (serving ads). It has no sales people. No consultants. No long term contracts.
    The only way for Google to go into the enterprise is through acquisitions. Cash is no problem, Google has lots of it. But why would they want to do it?

    • http://www.rehanyarkhan.com Rehan yar Khan

      because they believe there are no worthwhile SaaS products out there to buy? After all SaaS is fairly nascent!

  • http://www.adbirds.com Randall

    “Clean & Green” AdBirds is an Austin Tx company taking on Craig’s List, eBay and online newspaper classifieds with better value in a family and business – friendly environment. Listings are free, and searches for anything on adbirds.com comes with a cool tool that gives users distance to the item or store, a map to any business, and to cost of fuel to get there if the user wants it. Brands, SKU etc. can be mass uploaded by any business FREE as the wind on AdBirds.com.

  • http://www.adbirds.com Randall

    “Clean & Green” AdBirds is an Austin Tx company taking on Craig’s List, eBay and online newspaper classifieds with better value in a family and business – friendly environment. Listings are free, and searches for anything on adbirds.com comes with a cool tool that gives users distance to the item or store, a map to any business, and to cost of fuel to get there if the user wants it. Brands, SKU etc. can be mass uploaded by any business FREE as the wind on AdBirds.com.

  • Tobatola

    Agree with OSEG – we just cut Goog in the first round of an enterprise RFP for a Fortune 500 company.

    Corporations want platforms they can customize for their needs. Google offers platforms they’ve customized for corporations. Not the same thing at all.

  • Tobatola

    Agree with OSEG – we just cut Goog in the first round of an enterprise RFP for a Fortune 500 company.

    Corporations want platforms they can customize for their needs. Google offers platforms they’ve customized for corporations. Not the same thing at all.

  • http://www.appistry.com/blogs/sam Sam Charrington

    The question is two-fold: whether the GOOG gets the Enterprise, and whether the enterprise wants what the GOOG has to offer.

    I address both of these in a post on Friday called “Yes, Google, we know EXACTLY what you mean when you talk about cloud” in direct response to Rajen Sheth’s post.

    http://www.appistry.com/blogs/sam/yes-google-we-know-exactly-what-you-mean

    The fact is, as much as it might like to think so, if there is one area that Google does NOT have a monopoly in it is innovation, and I for one am irked by the implication that the enterprise will hand over the “keys to the kingdom” because it’s not able to innovate.

  • http://www.appistry.com/blogs/sam Sam Charrington

    The question is two-fold: whether the GOOG gets the Enterprise, and whether the enterprise wants what the GOOG has to offer.

    I address both of these in a post on Friday called “Yes, Google, we know EXACTLY what you mean when you talk about cloud” in direct response to Rajen Sheth’s post.

    http://www.appistry.com/blogs/sam/yes-google-we-know-exactly-what-you-mean

    The fact is, as much as it might like to think so, if there is one area that Google does NOT have a monopoly in it is innovation, and I for one am irked by the implication that the enterprise will hand over the “keys to the kingdom” because it’s not able to innovate.

  • http://2thyme.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/google-syncs-to-active-directoryldap/ Google Syncs to Active Directory/LDAP « Scotsman on a Horse

    […] Google’s Enterprise Strategy May Be Solid After All Google rolled out Google Apps Directory Sync, a tool that will let businesses sync the user account information in Google Apps with Microsoft Active Directory or Lotus Domino. Google says it’s using technology from Postini, security and compliance company Google acquired in 2007, to import information from users’ LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) systems, which includes mailing lists, groups, and user aliases, to a user’s Google Apps account. Published in: […]

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