As part of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Google recently announced that it is now offering enterprise level support. Premium Support is offered in three tiers, depending on the needs of the client. We spoke with Unitas Global CTO and Co-Founder, Grant Kirkwood, for his thoughts on Premium Support.
What are your thoughts on Google Premium Support?
Grant: I think Google is recognizing that they need to move up the stack in terms of support to make further inroads into the enterprise space. Microsoft probably has the most robust kind of support in terms of the traditional look and feel of the enterprise: that is kind of expected when you’re dealing in the enterprise space. Amazon is a little more geared towards the kind of dev ops-type support as opposed to the traditional enterprise team of people approach that Microsoft has.
What struck me as interesting about Google is that they’re taking a bit out of both playbooks for Premium Support. They described that very traditional enterprise approach with a technical account manager, TAM. They’re dedicated experts that know the environment, which is very much an enterprise-type approach. Yet the things they’re supporting tend to be more cloud native technologies than geared towards traditional enterprise workloads.
So, it’s interesting: Google is kind of combining both. I think it’s smart because, from a cloud perspective, Google’s platform is well-suited to cloud native, modern container micro services, scale out kinds of architectures. But at the same time, they’re trying to make this enterprise play—a cloud native platform with an enterprise approach. I think it gives them a way to go to traditional enterprises that are at that stage where they’ve done all the easy lift and shift in the cloud. And now they are rebuilding or building new applications in cloud native and they need help doing it. I think that’s who Google is targeting with Premium Support and that it’s a pretty smart approach.
Question: Is this Google’s version of a managed service? How would you compare support options for on-prem vs. in the cloud?
Grant: Well, I think the important thing is that, yes, it’s a managed service, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no burden of management there. It’s just shifted further up the stack. It used to be that you had to manage the rack, the gear, and all the way up to stack to the VM. Enterprises are putting on-premise infrastructure in data centers. Right. All of that underlying plumbing and infrastructure is all covered, managed, and consumed: a utility-like model. Now that means enterprises have infrastructure up the stack that previously didn’t need to be managed and maintained. The need for monitoring and managing didn’t go away, it’s just different.
Cloud providers have all, to varying degrees, taken a partner-driven ecosystem approach to supporting higher level managed services: things that get into the application stack itself. This is what Google’s Premium Support offering clearly does. AWS’s take on managed service is like database as a service. They’re managing the underlying database infrastructure, but not the database itself. Google’s taken that a step farther by actually helping clients with their application architecture.
Does Premium Support spell competition for Unitas when it comes to managed services?
Grant: No, that’s not the same business that we’re in. There are a bunch of companies it will eat into, but not Unitas. Unitas architects a cloud design, then takes great care to maintain it after implementation. We monitor, manage, and update everything running in a client’s cloud. We don’t have a proserv body shop/dev shop kind of arrangement where we’re helping people write their applications themselves: we enable cloud so our enterprise clients’ IT and developer resources can go towards innovating for their business.
At Unitas, we manage each of our services with a unified, technology-neutral approach to cloud to make sure our clients are fully supported. Our managed services mission is simple: we enable our clients to offload day-to-day infrastructure, connectivity, or public cloud operations so they can refocus and optimize their core business initiatives.
Learn more about managed service offerings from Unitas Global here.