Announced on Monday, Google has expanded its Cloud Platform so that it supports a number of Microsoft operating systems and applications.
Over the past several months, we've watched Microsoft become a bit more open-minded, as it has rolled out applications and services specifically targeting iOS and Android. Google's announcement seems to suggest that the Search company is similarly becoming liked-minded by opening up its Cloud service to Microsoft customers. It seems to suggest that even Google believes Microsoft may be on to something.
In addition to allowing Windows Server 2008 R2 customers to run on the Google Cloud Platform (Windows Server 2012 support is slated soon), a feature called "Microsoft License Mobility" gives Microsoft server application software customers the ability to run critical apps in the Google Cloud. Through a partnership with Microsoft (which is unheard of), customers running SQL Server, Exchange Server, and SharePoint can migrate their applications to Google's Cloud service without purchasing any additional software licenses.
The idea here is that you only need to purchase one license. For example, if your organization is currently licensed for an on-premise version SharePoint, you can migrate your entire SharePoint implementation to the Google Cloud Platform without any additional fees – well, except having to pay for a Google Cloud Platform subscription.
Obviously, Google really wants to show the industry that it is serious about transforming its Cloud services into a business-friendly service. Google has had considerable trouble convincing analysts and customers that it can cater to the corporate world. Azure and AWS continue to lead the pack, and Google has a huge gulf to bridge just to be considered viable. Google also has to contend with an industry that deems its business practices for privacy and data security as untrustworthy.
Incidentally, SharePoint is the most-used application for AWS, so Google may have a two-pronged approach with its announcement. On one hand, it's easy to recognize that Google is targeting Microsoft customers, but since SharePoint is the most popular application for AWS, this is also a competitive lob at Amazon. With Microsoft on such a steady tear with Azure and Office 365 momentum, Google may see Amazon as the easier target.
But, who really wins here?
Obviously, the customer is key. Having a multitude of options for migrating on-premises systems to the Cloud gives the customer control over the decision process. But, it's my opinion that Microsoft is the clear winner for this round, despite the announcement coming from Google.
If Microsoft can shift Google's focus on AWS, Google and Amazon will get caught duking it out for years, giving Microsoft free reign in the Cloud with very little competition worry. However, as we've watched this year, Microsoft doesn't care where its applications run, or which platform they run on, as long as customers are still buying and using them. Both of these scenarios benefit Microsoft in the long term. And, with the Cloud pricing wars still ongoing, it will have little to do with cost and more to do with trust – which is a near unsurmountable problem for Google.
What say you? Are you comfortable moving your SharePoint implemenations to the Google Cloud?