Like every other tech vendor, Google’s grand conference plans for 2020 changed. Instead of an in-person mega-event for cloud aficionados, we’re doing a (free!) nine week digital event called Google Cloud Next OnAir. Each week, starting July 14th, you get on-demand breakout sessions about a given theme. And there are ongoing demo sessions, learning opportunities, and 1:1s with Google Experts. Every couple weeks, I’ll highlight a few talks I’m looking forward to.
Before sharing my week one and week two picks, a few words on why you should care about this event. More than any other company, Google defines what’s “next” for customers and competitors alike. Don’t believe me? I researched a few of the tech inflection points of the last dozen years and Google’s fingerprints are all over them! If I’m wrong with any of this, don’t hesitate to correct me in the comments.
In 2008, Google launched Google App Engine (GAE), the first mainstream platform-as-a-service offering that introduced a compute model that obfuscated infrastructure. GAE (and Heroku) sparked an explosion of other products like Azure Web Apps, Cloud Foundry, AWS Elastic Beanstalk and others. I’m also fairly certain that the ideas behind PaaS led to the serverless+FaaS movement as well.
Google created Go and released the new language in 2009. It remains popular with developers, but has really taken off with platform builders. A wide range of open-source projects use Go, including Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, Prometheus, Hugo, InfluxDB, Jaeger, CockroachDB, NATS, Cloud Foundry, etcd, and many more. It seems to be the language of distributed systems and the cloud.
Today, we think of data processing and AI/ML when we think of cloud computing, but that wasn’t always the case. Google had the first cloud-based data warehouse (BigQuery, in 2010) and AI/ML as a service by a cloud provider (Translate API, in 2011). And don’t forget Spanner, the distributed SQL database unveiled by Google in 2012 that inspired a host of other database vendors. We take for granted that every major public cloud now offers data warehouses, AI/ML services, and planet-scale databases. Seems like Google set the pace.
Keep going? Ok. The components emerging as the heart of the modern platform? Looks like container orchestration, service mesh, and serverless runtime. The CNCF 2019 survey shows that Kubernetes, Istio, and Knative play leading roles. All of those projects started at Google, and the industry picked up on each one. While, we were first to offer a managed Kubernetes service (GKE in 2015), now you find everyone offering one. Istio and Knative are also popping up all over. And our successful effort to embed all those technologies into a software-driven managed platform (Anthos, in 2019) may turn out to be the preferred model vs. a hyperconverged stack of software plus infrastructure.
Obviously, additional vendors and contributors have moved our industry forward over the past dozen years: Docker with approachable containerization, Amazon with AWS Lambda, social coding with GitHub, infrastructure-as-code from companies like HashiCorp, microservice and chaos engineering ideas from the likes of Netflix, and plenty of others. But I contend that no single vendor has contributed more value for the entire industry than Google. That’s why Next OnAir matters, as we’ll keep sharing tech that makes everything better.
Ok, enough blather. The theme of week one is “industry insights.” There’s also the analyst summit and partner summit, both with great content for those audiences. The general sessions I definitely want to watch:
- Opening Keynote. Let’s see Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian do his thing.
- Planning for Retail’s New Priorities. Every industry has felt impact from the pandemic, especially retail. I’m interested in learning more about what we’re doing there to help.
Week two starts July 21, and has a theme of “productivity & collaboration.” A couple sessions stood out to me:
- Supercharge Productivity With No-Code Apps Using AppSheet. This is a recent acquisition by Google, and I’d like to see this low-code service in action.
- Value of Cloud: Assessing IT Priorities in the Near and Long Term. I’d like to hear about these “proven frameworks” for making budgeting decisions in these crazy times.
Next OnAir has a tremendous list of speakers, including customers and Google engineers sharing their insight. It’s free to sign up, you can watch at your leisure, and maybe, get a glimpse of what’s next.