When Google announced Anthos last year at Google Cloud Next, it was a pretty big deal. Here was a cloud company releasing a product that purported to help you move your applications between cloud companies like AWS and Azure — GCP’s competitors — because it’s what customers demanded.
Google tapped into genuine anxiety that tech leaders at customer companies are having over vendor lock-in in the cloud. Back in the client-server days, most of these folks got locked into a tech stack where they were at the mercy of the vendor. It’s something companies desperately want to avoid this go-round.
With Anthos, Google claimed you could take an application, package it in a container and then move it freely between clouds without having to rewrite it for the underlying infrastructure. It was and remains a compelling idea.
This year, the company is updating the product to include a couple of specialty workloads that didn’t get into version 1.0 last year. For starters, many customers aren’t just multi-cloud, meaning they have workloads on various infrastructure cloud vendors, they are also hybrid. That means they still have workloads on-prem in their own data centers, as well as in the cloud, and Google wanted to provide a way to include these workloads in Anthos.
Pali Bhat, VP of product and design at Google Cloud, says they have heard customers still have plenty of applications on premises and they want a way to package them as containerized, cloud-native workloads.
“They do want to be able to bring all of the benefits of cloud to both their own data centers, but also to any cloud they choose to use. And what Anthos enables them to do is go on this journey of modernization and digital transformation and be able to take advantage of it by writing once and running it anywhere, and that’s a really cool vision,” Bhat said.
And while some companies have made the move from on prem to the cloud, they still want the comfort of working on bare metal where they are the only tenant. The cloud typically offers a multi-tenant environment where users share space on servers, but bare metal gives a customer the benefits of being in the cloud with the ability to control their own destiny as they do on prem.
Customers were asking for Anthos to support bare metal, and so Google gave the people what they wanted and are releasing a beta of Anthos for bare metal this week, which Bhat says provides the answer for companies looking to have the benefits of Anthos at the edge.
“[The bare metal support] lets customers run Anthos […] at edge locations without using any hypervisor. So this is a huge benefit for customers who are looking to minimize unnecessary overhead and unlock new use cases, especially both in the cloud and on the edge,” Bhat said.
Anthos is part of a broader cloud modernization platform that Google Cloud is offering customers that includes GKE (the Kubernetes engine), Cloud Functions (the serverless offering) and Cloud Run (container run time platform). Bhat says this set of products taps into a couple of trends they are seeing with customers. First of all, as we move deeper into the pandemic, companies are looking for ways to cut costs while making a faster push to the cloud. The second is taking advantage of that push by becoming more agile and innovative.
It seems to be working. Bhat reports that in Q2, the company has seen a lot of interest. “One of the things in Q2 of 2020 that we’ve seen is that just Q2, over 100,000 companies used our application modernization platform and services,” he said.