SAN FRANCISCO — Google teamed up with several top open source software vendors including MongoDB, Elastic, and Redis Labs at its Cloud Next event, doubling down on its commitment to open source and drawing a stark comparison to Amazon’s cloud strategy.
During the opening keynote and later in the afternoon at a roundtable discussion, CEOs and engineers championed openness and hybrid cloud — and enabling open-source-centric companies to make money.
Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian announced a new integrated Open Source Ecosystem and partnerships with seven open source data management and analytics companies: Confluent, MongoDB, Elastic, Neo4j, Redis Labs, InfluxData, and Datastax.
“Recently the open source community has found that cloud providers are not partnering with them but attempting to take away their ability to monetize open source,” Kurian said. We at Google do not believe that is good for customers, for the development community, or for software innovation.”
Kurian didn’t name names. But he’s talking about Amazon Web Services (AWS), which takes a distinctly different approach to open source. AWS takes popular open source projects developed by other coders and companies, packages them as proprietary services, and then sells them to customers.
For example, Shay Banon open sourced Elasticsearch code in 2009, and three years later launched a company called Elastic around the open source search engine. Banon wasn’t too happy when AWS announced AWS Open Distro for Elasticsearch last month.
Redis Labs experienced something similar with its managed open source database and “was one of the first open source companies to realize that the current open source licensing scheme falls short when it comes to use by cloud providers,” co-founder and CTO Yiftach Shoolman wrote in a blog.
Redis Labs CEO Ofer Bengal joined Kurian onstage during the keynote and said the new ecosystem takes Google’s open source street cred “to the next level.”
“Monetizing open source was always the big challenge for open source vendors, and more so in the cloud era,” Bengal said. “Google is taking a very different approach from the other cloud vendors, and I think this is great news for the open source community.”
‘Buried’ by AWS
Customers can still buy software-as-a-service (SaaS) from these companies and others like MongoDB and Confluent on the AWS Marketplace. But, as InfluxData CEO Evan Kaplan said during the Google Cloud Next roundtable, these open source companies’ offerings are “buried” on other cloud providers’ marketplaces.
“If cloud is the future, open source needs a future in the cloud as well,” said Urs Hölzle, senior vice president for technical infrastructure at Google and host of the open source roundtable. “We need to keep the innovation model and openness of open source, but in the event keep a business model that will work for everyone.”
To this end, Google is partnering with open source vendors, and making it easy for enterprise customers to find and use these companies’ software licenses by putting them in a single user interface and offering them as fully managed services running in Google Cloud. Google also offers unified billing so customers get one invoice from Google Cloud that includes the open source partner’s service, as well as support for most of the partners so users can manage and log support tickets in a single window instead of with multiple different providers.
“What this allows you to do as a developer or a customer is to use the best-of-breed open source technology,” Kurian said. “We’re fostering this new open source community to ensure that open source continues to thrive and has a vehicle to grow in this world.”
Open Source Strategy
It’s also not purely altruistic. Enterprises are moving to multi-cloud and adopting open source, so making it easier for them to do both should help Google’s bottom line as well.
“From a Google point of view it seems plenty obvious: data has gravity, you have seven of the top open source companies, that’s a phenomenal strategy,” Kaplan said.
As Google struggles to grow its enterprise business and gain market share from the top two cloud providers AWS and Microsoft Azure, it’s a smart move and a strategic differentiation.
“This is a good example of where the strategy for the big vendor, the cloud provider, actually fits with the open source community,” Kaplan said. “This feels like the right intervention at the right time — especially with what Amazon’s been doing lately.”
Other Cloud Next News
In addition to the Open Source Ecosystem, Google announced several other cloud updates at the event, including a new hybrid cloud product called Anthos that works on premises and in other public clouds including AWS and Azure. It also introduced Cloud Run, a serverless compute platform for containerized apps, and new cloud regions in Seoul, South Korea, and Salt Lake City.
Google introduced a new cloud storage archive class designed for long-term data retention. It will be available later this year at price points starting from $0.0012 per-gigabyte, per-month ($1.23 per-terabyte, per-month). This follows a similar cold storage option that Amazon rolled out last month at its AWS Summit.
Google also updated its cloud networking portfolio with Traffic Director, a managed configuration and traffic control plane for service mesh that’s available in beta. Traffic Director supports both virtual machine (VM)-based and containerized services. Google also said High availability (HA) VPN will come soon, in beta, to connect on-premises deployments to Google Cloud Platform Virtual Private Cloud with a 99.99% service level agreement (SLA). And it announce a new 100 Gb/s Dedicated Interconnect to connect hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.
A new set of plug-ins called Cloud Code are designed to make it easier for enterprises to develop and manage cloud-native apps. And a slew of security tools provide better visibility and threat detection along with speedier response and remediation, data exfiltration risk mitigation, supply chain security, and improved policy compliance.