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Google Cloud goes to Washington

Protocol Enterprise

Welcome to Protocol Cloud, your comprehensive roundup of everything you need to know about the week in cloud and enterprise software. This week: Google Cloud has some new toys for government customers, why Salesforce's Bret Taylor can't wait to get back to the office, and a tough assignment from IBM.

The Big Story

Bring us your secure workloads

Years of indifference about working with the federal government are in the rearview mirror at Google Cloud, judging by this week's Google Cloud Next event.

The virtual event, postponed thanks to the pandemic, introduced two interesting new services aimed at government and other security-conscious customers, while also extending the reach of one of its more popular products to function with services provided by AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Perhaps the most notable announcement was Assured Workloads for Government, a service designed to make it easier for U.S. customers with strict security or compliance requirements to get up and running on Google Cloud.

  • Google is pitching this as distinct from the way AWS and Microsoft operate special "government cloud" regions, claiming those regions "don't come with the technology and benefits that a modern commercial cloud provides, and often require users to operate two distinct application and operation supply chains, adding cost, complexity, and risk."
  • While the pitfalls of operating in a government cloud might be a tad overstated, anything that simplifies onerous compliance requirements might be tempting to government customers and suppliers who have so far dismissed Google Cloud during its relatively short life as a government-certified provider of sensitive cloud services.

Google also introduced a service called Confidential VMs, which protects the fundamental processing unit of cloud computing — the virtual machine — while data is being processed.

The third prominent announcement involved BigQuery, Google's take on a cloud-based data warehouse that is a favorite of data scientists and machine-learning researchers.

In courting government organizations and late-arriving cloud customers, Google Cloud is aiming to win a big chunk of the next wave of cloud business. There's still a lot of that business out there, and given the disruption caused by the pandemic, industry analysts expect the shift to the cloud to accelerate over the next year or so.

  • The challenge for Google, as always, is that AWS and Microsoft are far more well-established options for potential cloud customers.
  • Yesterday's announcements show that Google is determined to compete with those two companies with new technology ideas and consultative services, rather than pricing.
  • At some point, however, if Google Cloud wants to gain significant market share, it needs to find a way to leapfrog AWS and Microsoft with a service cloud buyers can't resist.

Of course, there's still time for that, with a lot more to come from Google Cloud Next '20 — a seven-week event with new technical content released each Tuesday. Imagine spending seven weeks in a convention center.

This Week In Protocol

Taylor made: Salesforce COO Bret Taylor seems destined to take control of the enterprise software giant when CEO Marc Benioff decides he's ready to exchange the boardroom for the beaches of Hawaii. In an interview last week with Protocol, he shared more detail about how Salesforce is coping with the pandemic, why low-code tools will be a big part of the recovery, and the reason he's keen to get back to Salesforce Tower.

Chips in: It's an interesting time for the staid world of semiconductors, with Nvidia passing Intel in market cap last week and Analog Devices snapping up Maxim Integrated Products this week for $21 billion. Both the latter companies are modest players in the data center world right now, but they're well-positioned to cash in on the surge in connected car applications.

Human weaknesses: It's hard enough for Black and brown people trying to make their way in the tech industry, and a lack of support from the HR department does not help. Protocol interviewed several tech workers and HR experts who pointed out that lots of HR departments only exist to protect the company, not its employees.



The benefits of the cloud are well known: reduced costs, improved scalability, and more agility. But not all applications can be run in the public cloud. Compliance, security and other complex dependencies sometimes make it impractical to move them. Bring the cloud to you by taking these 5 steps to transform to on-premises cloud services.

Around the Cloud



By 2022, IDC says more than 90% of enterprises worldwide will rely on a mix of on-premises of dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds, and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs. Here's how COVID-19 is accelerating the move to hybrid cloud, and why 2021 is already talking about as the year of multi-cloud.

Correction:Last week, we wrote that AWS and Microsoft were already carrying Nvidia's latest Ampere graphics chips for their artificial intelligence customers. Actually, they have only announced plans to do so.

Thanks for reading — see you next week.

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