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Google Cloud Next 2018: Major MSP Initiatives, Partner Milestones Expected

Diane Greene
Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene

Numerous MSPs are set to rally around Google Cloud Platform during the Google Cloud Next 2018 conference in San Francisco. And it's safe to expect the search giant to put a big spotlight on those partners, sources tell ChannelE2E.

Dozens of MSPs, global system integrators and channel partners will describe their managed, cloud and professional services at the gathering. Key names to know include Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, CloudHealth Technologies, Deloitte, Equinix, Infosys, Onix, Rackspace, SADA Systems, Slalom and Tata Consultancy Services, among many others.

The Google Cloud conference and associated MSP initiatives arrive at a key time. Google's cloud revenues are growing rapidly -- reaching $1 billion per quarter sometime in 2017. And CEO Diane Greene earlier this year noted that many folks are grossly underestimating the size and momentum of Google's cloud business.

Google vs. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure

Still, the search giant realizes that it lives in a multi-cloud world -- and the company trails both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) business. Just yesterday, Microsoft said its Azure revenues jumped roughly 80 percent in the company's most recent quarter. And Amazon's cloud revenue jumped 49% to $5.44 billion in its most recent quarter.

Zoltan Szabadi

Amazon has strong, growing relationships with MSPs worldwide (here are the top 50 MSPs for AWS so far). Microsoft also has strong channel relationships, and earlier this month finally announced a formalized Azure Expert MSP partner program -- which was long overdue.

Now it's time for Google to return fire. The company has been building more formalized MSP partnerships over the past year or two. Last we heard, Zoltan Szabadi, head of MSP partnerships at Google Cloud, was leading the charge. But curiously, we didn't see him listed on the Google Cloud Next '18 speaker lineup. Regardless, multiple sources point to a major MSP push coming at the conference.

Rise of Multi-Cloud MSPs

Most vendors and research firms say customers are moving to a multi-cloud world. ChannelE2E is somewhat critical of that assertion.

When it comes to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), we believe most businesses will put most of their workloads into a single cloud, rather than mixing and matching workloads across AWS, Azure, Google and perhaps IBM or Alibaba.

Still, large MSPs have to live in a multi-cloud world -- since they'll can't dictate which of the three to five major public clouds end-customers select. The poster child for that multi-cloud movement is Rackspace, which has successfully unveiled and launched dedicated managed services for AWS, Azure and Google over the past year or more.

Cloud Monitoring Tools, ISVs

MSP-friendly software and monitoring tool providers will also take the spotlight at Google's conference. Key players like AppDynamics (Cisco), BetterCloud, Cloudability, Datadog, Dynatrace, iTopia, New Relic, Splunk and VMware will tout various IT management, monitoring and optimization tools at the gathering.

Just ahead of the conference, Google and VMware previewed a newly developed plug-in for VMware vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator. In this latest collaboration with Google, partners and customers can provision and consume Google Compute Engine Virtual Machines (VMs) with vRealize Automation, VMware said in a blog post.

Remaining Challenge: MSPs & Recurring Cloud Revenues

Despite all that ISV and MSP progress, partners face lingering cloud challenges. Chief among them: Most MSPs working on public cloud projects are generating one-time project revenues rather than truly recurring managed cloud revenues.

Chatter about that challenge was quite loud during an AWS conference this week in New York. Workspace as a service (WaaS), backup and security ISVs -- in particular -- say they can help MSPs drive recurring cloud revenues. I suspect that message will grow even louder at Google Cloud Next 2018.

Stay tuned here for regular updates from the conference.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.