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October 12, 2021

Google Cloud Widens Its Big Data Reach at Next ’21

Google Cloud kicked off its Next ‘21 conference today with a torrent of news impacting a wide swath of its big data, advanced analytics, and AI offerings, including the unveiling of Google Distributed Cloud, a new data science notebook for Vertex AI, and the launch of Spark on Google Cloud, among others.

Let’s start with Google Distributed Cloud, which is a new portfolio designed to extend Google Cloud offerings to the edge and to customer and partner data centers. The offering will allow customers to run their Google Cloud services in a variety of places, including the 140+ Google network edge locations around the world, operator edges maintained by communication service providers (CSPs), and customers’ own data centers or edge locations.

Google Distributed Cloud is based on Anthos, Google Cloud’s platform for hybrid cloud computing, and eventually will encompass many of Google Cloud’s services (but obviously not Spanner, which requires specialized hardware and is available in a limited array of Google Cloud data centers around the world; see “Google Cloud Gives Spanner a PostgreSQL Interface” for Datanami’s exclusive coverage of Google Cloud’s Spanner news).

The first two products that Google Cloud is launching under the new banner are Google Distributed Cloud Edge and Google Distributed Cloud Hosted. Google Distributed Cloud Edge is aimed at bringing the expected influx of 5G radio traffic closer to customer applications like computer vision and Google AI edge inferencing applications, which will minimize latencies and maximize customer experience.

Sachin Gupta, vice president and general manager of Open Infrastructure at Google Cloud, says Google Distributed Cloud Edge will “5G-enable” the digital economy for services like ride sharing and food delivery.

Google Distributed Cloud will encompass a range of Google Cloud offerings (Image source Google Cloud)

“By moving these compute workloads closer to the user, together with our telco partners, we can reduce latency levels and offer a whole new range of mobile experiences that were simply not possible before,” he said during a press briefing last week.

Google Distributed Cloud Hosted, meanwhile, is designed for more sensitive workload that need to meet strict data residency, security, and privacy requirements. The offering does not require any connectivity to Google Cloud at any time to manage infrastructure, services, APIs, or tooling, the company says. Users will manage it via an Anthos control plane. It will be available in preview in the first half of 2022, Google says.

Google is partnering with two European companies to deliver Google Distributed Cloud Hosted as part of its “Cloud. On Europe’s Terms” initiative. That includes T-Systems, which is building a “sovereign cloud offering” for public sector organizations in Germany, and OVHCcloud, which is doing something similar in France.

The company also launched Vertex AI Workbench, a data science notebook offering to go along with Vertex AI, which it launched in May. The key aspect of Vertex AI Workbench is it works across all of Google Cloud’s offerings, including BigQuery, Dataproc, and Dataplex, said Gerrit Kazmaier, Google Cloud’s vice president and general manager of databases, data, analytics, and Looker.

“We‘ve seen an incredible increase in productivity, more than a five times increase in development productive, meaning reduced time of development because data scientist and data engineer do not need to context switch anymore,” Kazmaier said during the press briefing. “They have the same experience as they go across the full machine learning development lifecycle.”

Google Cloud has global reach (image coutesy Google Cloud)

Similarly, the company also announced Spark on Google Cloud. Currently in preview, the offering makes Spark “a premium offering on Google Cloud,” and is aimed primarily at data engineers, the company said. Spark on Google Cloud will be available to users regardless of whether they start in BigQuery, Dataproc, Dataplex, or Vertex AI, the company said.

The Mountain View, California company also announced the general availability of BigQuery Omni, the hybrid big data analytics offering it originally unveiled in July 2020. With BigQuery Omni, customers have the capability to use BigQuery to analyze data that’s residing in Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure, without moving data sets.

The company also announced expanded partnerships with several vendors in the big data space.  The partership with Tableau, for instance, will enable the visualization leader to access Looker’s semantic layer. Current Looker users will also be able to expand the semantic layer to Tableau. Google Cloud also said it was expanding work with Collibra, Informatica, Fivetran, and Databricks.

Google Cloud Next ’21 is taking place today through Thursday. Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian and Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet, will be kicking things off with a keynote this morning at 9 a.m. PT. See for more information.

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