First Annual Google Cloud Summit, Stockholm 2017

By Pierre Lemerle

This Tuesday, October 3rd at Stockholm Waterfront Congress, the first Google Cloud Summit in Sweden took place, following Google’s strategy to invest in the European cloud computing market. The event was at full capacity, meaning 1500 people attending, among which 9 were from Diabol! 

The whole event was really well prepared (rooms, schedule, topics, …) allowing people to get the most out of it. However, as might have been expected, it clearly was a promotional event aiming to market/educate people on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Google’s business in general.  

Keynote

The keynote was at a very high level, but nevertheless interesting. It was clear that technical folks were not their only target audience, although they did cite 60% of those in attendance being engineers/developers. 

Over the past 18 years, Google experienced tremendous growth while trying to pursue one main goal: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” but finally in a more general way trying to constantly innovate by predicting and anticipating the future.

Google is actually not the unique example. To highlight this, they referenced the average age of Fortune 500 companies. In 1960, the average age of a F500 company was 50 years, and today that average has shrunk to just 10 years. Not to say that being small is nowadays an advantage but moreover that being fast is the key!

All this analysis was a perfect demonstration in favour of one of the biggest cloud computing advantages: Scalability. Obviously, the high scalability provided by the cloud is a huge advantage to allow organizations to quickly adapt, respond and then catch new business opportunities. But, this is true with all cloud providers! So, they then try to differentiate from their concurrent, introducing themselves as the best alternative in specifically three domains: Security, Reliability and Cost:

Security is a big concern with cloud computing, so this was given a great amount of emphasis, they even did some live demonstration to prove how they use some services to anonymise all the data they have to record, the sensitive text data (names, dates…) as well as the pictures or videos (faces).

To describe the reliability of the GCP, they used Google’s very own businesses as an example. With over seven different services (gmail, youtube, android, etc) with 1 billion users per day, they show that they are really the experts when it comes to being reliable at a very large scale.

Finally, there was cost. They describe three innovations (according to Google) which make them by far (actually by 60%, once again according to them): price per second billing (although recently introduced by AWS as well), sustained use discounts, and committed use discounts. On a more personal note, I must say I’m not fully convinced by this cost argument, because first all the cloud providers are now innovating a lot regarding the pricing strategy and then because this is so much depending on the real use cases that I would have like to see a demonstration on a concrete implementation to see this 60%.

Among others they also talked about the Google suite in general. Trying to show with few examples how they improve collaboration between workers and increase the work productivity (Gmail automated answers which represent now 10% of mail traffic, or smart Spreadsheets which allow the user to build request in an intelligible, declarative way).

Breakout sessions

After this big keynote and before the traditional networking cocktail the rest of the day was what I would describe as a on demand menu with several ‘breakout sessions’ to pick from. As a former developer and being interested in implementing some GCP solutions myself, I made the choice to mainly attend technical topics like machine learning, live coding applications and scaling microservices, The latter was really rich and interesting, covering many different topics (Kubernetes, MongoDB…). It was already challenging to introduce it in a 45 minutes session (congrats to Sandeep Dinesh for trying to do it), so it would be meaningless to sum it up here, instead here are all the details and documentations related to let you discover and enjoy it:

Last but not least I would like to mention the session titled “Where should I run my code? Deciding between Compute Engine, Container Engine, App Engine”. Why? Simply because if I had to pick one, it was to me (once again with my Developer background) the most interesting one.

It was also the topic I was the most curious about before the event because when I started to do some online training with GCP, this question “Where should I run my code” was exactly the one in my mind! Obviously, there is no universal answer. Nevertheless, Sandeep Dinesh really manage to explain each options constraints and advantages and even more to illustrate how they are related to each other. Starting in an ideal world to use App Engine (really fast to set up), and moving to Container Engine or finally to Compute Engine to get more freedom.

To conclude Google will organize next month, the 10th November: “Cloud Onboard” at Stockholm City Conference Center. For more information and to register, visit: https://cloudplatformonline.com/2017-OnBoard-Stockholm.html

 

Pierre Lemerle

Continuous Delivery Consultant

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