After HPE, VMware and Cisco, why should I trust Google Compute Engine?

The transition to a cloud service model is an arduous journey - whether from the customer or provider side. Going from a legacy IT vendor to a cloud-first vendor is as painful if not more so than moving your enterprise to a cloud-first delivery model. Recently HPE, VMware, and Cisco announced disruptive customer changes to their cloud strategies. It highlights why I frankly don’t trust Google for enterprise cloud. 

HPE abandoned their Helion public cloud offering and no longer directly contributes to OpenStack. While not making any announcements about vCloud Air, VMware has shifted focus to their AWS partnership which uses the vSphere API vs. the vCloud Air API. And most recently, Cisco announced the shuttering of the InterCloud service. 

Enterprise IT companies are having a difficult time selecting a cloud strategy and sticking with it. Microsoft and IBM may be the exceptions. If I were in a position of choosing a cloud provider to help guide my organization into the era of hybrid-IT, why would I select Cisco, VMware or HPE? 

It’s an unknown area for most enterprise IT shops. All three companies are trusted advisors. Their technologies drive the business critical apps in our data centers today. However, they’ve consistently fumbled on cloud strategies. Worse than fumbling they’ve stranded customers. I’d hate to be the architect that championed one of these technologies over AWS or Azure. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. 

All of this brings me to Google Compute Engine or GCE. I’ve never considered Google as an enterprise IT company. Google has had some high-profile SaaS wins that include my former employer PwC. So, smart people disagree with me. 

Google’s core business is selling and serving ads. Services that improves serving ads makes sense. Unlike Amazon who sells anything they can make a margin on, Google is more or less focused on the ad business. 

Google changed its corporate structure to reflect that fact. The entity of Alphabet was created earlier in this year. All of the non-ad focused businesses were split out from Google into separate business units. I anxiously watched what Alphabet would do with GCE. While hiring a well-respected executive in Dian Greene to run the service, Alphabet chose to leave GCE as part of the Google business unit. 

The messaging to me is that GCE is still an experiment. Alphabet sees the service as something that needs incubating inside of the Google business unit. As an enterprise customer that scares me. I've just witnessed the likes of HPE, VMware and Cisco fumble on enterprise cloud. These three companies' core business is enterprise IT. 

How serious is Google, an ad company, about enterprise IT? Putting Diane Greene as CEO of a business unit dedicated to enterprise IT sends a message. Unfortunately, the message that sent? Enterprise IT is still a moonshot within Google.