SADA CTO Miles Ward talks about the significance of the announcements and why he’s scratching his head over one.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

October 8, 2019

5 Min Read

Implementing Google Anthos projects is no easy undertaking and, so far, most of these initiatives fall to large system integrators — the accessibility and affordability have yet to trickle down to a lot of other players in the channel.

Nonetheless, the promise of Anthos for end users, via the indirect channel, lies in its hybrid architecture. As Google explains it, enterprises may build and manage modern hybrid applications on existing on-premises investments or in the public cloud. And because Anthos is built on open-source technologies including Kubernetes, Istio and Knative, there’s consistency between an organization’s cloud and on-premises environments.

That said, there’s a hope within the channel that Google eventually will shift Anthos from being deeply developer-centric to something more buyer-friendly. It’s a sentiment that comes after Google recently announced some important technical additions to Anthos, as well as more partner news.

The Technical Nitty-Gritty


Google Cloud’s Pal Bhat


Google Cloud’s Jennifer Lin

In mid-September, Jennifer Lin, Google Cloud’s director of product management, and Pali Bhat, the company’s vice president of product and design, published a lengthy blog detailing new Google Anthos capabilities: Anthos Service Mesh, Binary Authorization, part of Anthos Config Management and Cloud Run for Anthos.

“With Anthos Service Mesh, you have uniform policies for enforcing service aware network security including encryption in transit, mutual authentication and powerful access controls,” Lin and Bhat wrote. “This allows your IT teams to implement zero-trust security that moves across environments with your application without making application code changes, allowing you to focus on delivering critical business functions faster.”

Binary Authorization, meanwhile, helps enterprises build defined security checks into the development process earlier, “making sure you deploy only trusted workloads in your environments,” they wrote.

Finally, Lin and Bhat explained, “Cloud Run for Anthos enables you to be more agile by letting you write code like you always do — without having to learn advanced Kubernetes concepts.”

What Does All This Mean?


SADA Systems’ Miles Ward

Channel Futures asked Miles Ward, CTO of top Google Cloud partner SADA and Google Cloud’s former director and global lead for solutions, for clarification on what the news means for partners.

“The first part is really a technical announcement,” he said. “There are a couple of specific functions that used to be either exclusive to Google Cloud or unmanaged open source that have now been plugged into Anthos.”

In essence, partners or enterprises now may turn on these functions and automatically build applications in the security layer.

Binary Authorization, meanwhile, ensures that “every container you run is actually what you thought it was,” Ward said. In other words, developers no longer have to worry about components from other places — think Python, WordPress and so on — lacking security.

The third piece, Cloud Run changes up container development, allowing simple spin-up to happen within the enterprise data center, “which is cool,” Ward said.

“It reduces the time for developers to get applications up and running,” he added.

All this is important, Ward noted, but the part of the Google Cloud blog discussing the extended Anthos partner ecosystem interests him the most. When…

…Anthos launched in April, Google Cloud said it had more than 30 partners ready to adopt the platform. On Sept. 16, Lin and Bhat said the number now stands at more than 40.

“On the one hand, that’s bigger, but normal cloud growth usually goes from like 30 to 3,000,” Ward said. “So it’s a little head-scratchy that the number’s as low as it is.”

That likely has to do with the limited applicability, for now, of Google Anthos to very large system integrators. So far, firms including Accenture, Deloitte, Atos, Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro and more have signed on.

“I think they’re figuring out how to get more of the partner ecosystem to jump in and participate,” Ward said.

Google may have to overcome some stigma to make that happen more quickly and among more partners. The company faces a reputation for killing projects. Partners may be reluctant to get on board with Anthos, despite the big names that have teamed up with Google.

For his part, Ward believes Google will support Anthos for the long haul.

“That Anthos is moving from launch in April to a series of new features suggests a lot of people are putting a lot of effort into Anthos development,” he said. “As someone trying to make decisions about the platforms you recommend to customers, a big signal is how much investment these platforms are receiving from providers. I see strong signals that Google’s behind this one.”

Still, Ward finds the lack of partner customer testimonials to date intriguing but has a theory as to why that’s the case: Google Anthos is complex and expensive, and not enough enterprises have completely adopted it.

“None of our customers are yet full-fledged,” he said. “It’s a huge system to stand up.”

Finally, Ward suggested that Google Anthos would see more momentum if Google would make it friendlier to buyers rather than software developers.

“Anthos has incredible capability to be for buyers,” he said. “You run it on-premises, go to a marketplace, an app store for my cloud and the app will work. None of these announcements is about moving that forward and it’s pretty surprising. … It’ll be interesting to see if Thomas Kurian drives the business more and more to accommodate the needs of the buyer.”

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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