Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Friday, August 14, 2020
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Google Expands Cloud Support For Windows 


Google took aim at a cloud rival this week with an announcement it would support Microsoft's database management server and other Microsoft services on Google Cloud Platform.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced Wednesday (Feb. 1) it would expand its earlier support of Windows-based workloads that included deploying Windows Server 2016 onto Google Compute Engine to include Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise and Windows Server Core. The broadened support includes pre-configured images on Google virtual machines. Support for those images extends back to the 2012 edition of the SQL server.

The options would allow IT managers running Windows platforms to launch pre-configured virtual machines on the Google cloud, paying either by the minute or using an existing SQL Servier license.

In challenging its cloud rival, Amruta Gulanikar, product manager for Google Cloud Platform, asserted: "SQL Server instances running on Compute Engine benefit from price-to-performance advantages, highly customizable [virtual machine] sizes and state-of-the-art networking and security capabilities."

Stressing high availability and disaster recovery capabilities, Gulanikar added that Google cloud also supports Windows Server "failover clustering" and Microsoft's SQL server availability groups. The tools allow users to automatically configure replicas in case of failure.

The support for Windows builds on earlier enterprise cloud moves by Google that included an expanded list of pre-configured images for Windows Server 2016 along with the standard version of its SQL server and SQL server web.

Google said it plans to roll out additional cloud support for Microsoft platforms later this year.

The aggressive moves by Google in the ongoing cloud wars reflects its strategy of moving beyond incremental tactics like price cuts to develop a long-term enterprise strategy. Overseeing that effort is Diane Greene, the VMware (NYSE: VMW) co-founder hired by Google in November 2015.

Greene, senior vice president of Google's cloud business, has led the search giant's foray in the enterprise cloud market, emphasizing its cloud infrastructure along with a growing list of business tools. While many industry watchers assumed Google was poised to take on AWS, this week's announcements indicate the company is jockeying for position with Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT) as a viable enterprise alternative to the AWS cloud.

Observers also note the public cloud customers leery of vendor lock-in with cloud leader Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) are embracing a "multi-cloud" strategy as a way of hedging their hybrid IT bets as more workloads move to the cloud.

Giving credence to that view, Google's Gulanikar noted in a blog post, "…expanded support for SQL Server images and high availability are our latest efforts to improve Windows support on [Google] Compute Engine, and to build a cloud environment for enterprise Windows that leads the industry."

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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