Back in October an email landed in our inbox, we were invited by Google to attend their Google Next 19 event in London. The event typically runs over 2 days and covers everything related to Google in the Cloud.
It was the first time we had received an invite to attend, we've watched streams from previous Next events so it was great to get the opportunity to visit.
Registering and getting there
The event was held at the Excel in London where we have attended previous AWS Summit events so arranging travel and accommodation was an easy 'copy & paste'.
Google has a dedicated app called, Cloud Next which provides attendees with their session details and agenda for the day. I found the app easy to use and offered a much better experience compared to the AWS Events app which in my opinion needs work.
The eagle has landed
I arrived around 7:30am at the registration hall and dropped off my bag then went across to collect my badge. Where were the queues? Unlike the AWS Summit I pretty much collected my pass straight away and was on my way within 10 minutes.
The next stop was obvious, the closest coffee stand.
The layout of the event draws similarities again to the AWS Summit, but whereas the Summit had numerous smaller halls Google Next had larger areas all which had their own theme. I suspect was due to the fact that Google don't offer the immense range of services as AWS does.
During the day I had a number of sessions pre-booked which I attended but also dropped into a number of Cloud Talks, DevZone and Booth Talks.
(09:00 - 10:30)
The keynote started things off in the busy auditorium where the Google Executives walked through the key highlights in terms of service performance (fiscal/customer uptake), new innovations and some predictions for the future.
As far as keynotes go it was pretty good and engaging with a noticeable data lens on each talk which seemed to continue throughout the rest of the day. I particularly liked one of the discussions on the data lifecycle and how the different Google Cloud services related to each part of the process, as per below;
- Data Transfer Service
- Migration Service
- Data Fusion
- Cloud Storage
- Business Intelligence
- Cloud AI
- Connected Sheets
Once I was juiced up on the Google services following the keynote I had 45mins to refuel on caffeine and explore the exhibitors before the next session.
Getting the Most Out of Your Modernization Journey
(11:15 - 12:05) - Nick Freyer and Ulku Rowe
The first breakout session of the day was hearing from Nick Freyer and Ulku Rowe learning how one organisation, PaymentSense used the Google Cloud services to transition their on-premise infrastructure to the cloud.
Ulku started the session off providing an overview on how Google Cloud can be used to transition from an on-premise configuration to cloud. Ulku highlighted the need for organisations to train their teams in order to maximise the investment in Google Cloud which is sometimes an after thought but should be considered right from the start of a cloud adoption strategy.
Once Ulku had finished the overview Nick took the stage and gave an honest account on the PaymentSense journey to Google Cloud. I found Nick to be a great presenter and engaging throughout, at times he even earned a few laughs from the crowd (techies can be tough crowd!).
I'd recommend watching the YouTube video above more information, definitely worth listening to if you are considered moving your stack to Google Cloud.
By 12:30 I was ready to get some food, thankfully the catering was pretty good although similar to the AWS Summit events there wasn't much/any seating but hey.
After lunch I made my way back through the floor checking out the other exhibitors again and also dropping in to chat with the Google team regarding certification and their partnership program.
Before heading to the next session I called in and had a great catch-up with the team from Apigee. I reviewed the Apigee and Kong services whilst working with a Manchester based client however we never got to the prototype stage so I still had a few unanswered questions for the team. Apigee is a great product and certainly something we will be using on future API projects.
Engineering Reliable Mobile Apps
(15:05 - 15:55) - Nathan Harvey and Stefanos Harhalakis
Next up, Engineering Reliable Mobile Apps in the 5th Nine Lounge. The lounge was decked out in a traditional British Cafe theme which was pretty impressive and felt very 'Googley'.
The session discussed all aspects of how to apply Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) to mobile applications specifically from a Google perspective. It was interesting to learn how Google applies the techniques across their services and the benefits to the end customer.
Both Nathan and Stefanos provided great worked scenarios of how SRE could be implemented and the impact in their example for an Android application user.
I've always been aware of SRE but hadn't appreciated how complex and vast this subject was, its definitely something I'm going to explore further during 2020.
Finally, I need to mention the cookies and coffee in 5th Nine Lounge - awesome.
Did the coffee taste any sweeter at Google?
Any readers of my blog or the Yellow Mango content will know we are AWS Partners and we can't recommend their services enough. I love the innovation that AWS brings and with it the opportunities for businesses and end customers.
Attending the Google Cloud event from my personal point of view allowed me to gain a different perspective on cloud services, you could argue that a service in the cloud is agnostic to the provider and it doesn't really matter who is hosting it but attending the event definitely highlighted the differences between AWS and Google.
My main takeaways were that Google is all about data, data data. Whereas AWS as mentioned earlier offer a huge range of services aiming to cater for all, Google definitely position themselves data first and then appear to have added the services on around the data. It was obvious from the day that Google don't want to compete with AWS on the service offerings but that they want to provide amazing data services and everything else to help support these such as API gateways/integrations, containers/docker and virtual networking.
Readers maybe wondering whether I thought Google was any 'better' than AWS but thats the wrong way to think about it. I personally think that Google had more of a mature data service offerings which could be used by end users very quickly. Usability and customer experience wasn't an after thought, it appeared to be factored into the design and build.
Google Cloud at the time of writing is the third largest cloud provider (after AWS, Azure) and I believe they will continue to expand their share slowly. I wouldn't expect existing AWS or Azure customers to shift to Google unless there are compelling reasons such as significantly reduced compute time or incentivised training to help organisations upskill their teams at little cost.
To end, I enjoyed the event and i'll be looking to explore the Google training courses during 2020 who knows we may even look at the partnership program.
If you would like more information on the event, Google Cloud or just want to get in touch please drop me a line.