Khash Sajadi is CEO of Cloud66, a company that has been doing container management since… well since long before Kubernetes was even a glimmer in the eyes of its creators. I first met Khash five years ago or so and soon after came on board as an adviser and investor.

Since then I haven’t had much to do with the business – I’ve been busy and the world of container management has gotten increasingly noisy. But last week during Google’s NEXT conference, I sat down with Khash to get his perspective on Google’s cloudy ambitions generally, and the world of containers and Kubernetes more specifically.

While his views are obviously slightly skewed by his perspective as a vendor in the space, it’s certainly worth having a read of the viewpoint of one player in the ecosystem. Herefollows some edited insights about the show.

In search of a USP

Google Cloud was initially started back in 2007 with the rollout of AppEngine. However the recent wave of attempts by Google to make it a major player in the market have seen different approaches over the years. Traditionally there are areas of computing that Google is ahead of everyone else by miles and at the beginning, Google Cloud tried to leverage those angles as a differentiator.

First, Google pushed really hard with their extraordinary ability to ingest and analyze big data with the rollout of Big Query. Machine learning was the next big focus area as another one of Google’s unique value props in the market. While extremely impressive technically, none of those areas had the wide appeal of base compute, storage and network which is the“bread and butter” commodities of the cloud computing.

Signing up Spotify or Snapchat as customers, Google tried to pose as a wide-appeal cloud provider while those companies have a very specific use case around “computer at edge” which is another Google unrivaled offering. So the search for USP continued…

Kubernetes: The new cloud commodity

Over the past couple of years, Google seems to have finally found that broad-appeal common ingredient that can put it on the map alongside AWS and Microsoft: Kubernetes. Google’s heritage in running containers shows in how they are miles ahead of everyone else when it comes to running containers at scale and in production and they are now pushing very hard to make containers and Kubernetes the main way to run infrastructure. Kubernetes has been the wedge GCP is using to push harder into the market and these efforts are starting to bear fruit.

Biased Customers? Perhaps. But don’t dismiss the achievement

It is true that this year at Next, Google had Target on stage which naturally would be more inclined to use Google’s cloud instead of a rival’s (Amazon) but I have no doubt that by the next Next conference, Google will show off a much more neutral and impressive customer as the headliner.

The pie is just going to get bigger

At Cloud 66 we’ve been advocates of running applications in containers since 2013 and have built a complete suite of tools and products to let our customer achieve that at cost and quality.

Google’s push for containers and Kubernetes has increased the size of the market for us by many orders of magnitude. As a result we are seeing exponential growth in demand for our Container Deployment Pipeline product, Skycap as more and more Kubernetes clusters are popping up all around the world and this is only going to grow.

Openness: a key to being at the table, all the time

Another takeaway from the event was the emphasis on open cloud. Google has made sure (through CNCF and other methods of custodianship over Kubernetes project) that all vendors stay on track with the vanilla upstream Kubernetes without forking and turning it into another Open Stack. This means they can use that as the best way to reach out to customers with multi-cloud or hybrid cloud strategies. Use of Kubernetes Federations allows Google to be always part of the game with any enterprise who’s running on any cloud provider, Google or not.

The not-so-surprise move by GCP to rollout GKE on prem was the main indicator of this strategy. Proven to be the best place to run Kubernetes, GKE has the credentials needed to convince a lot of customers to buy turn into GKE on prem customers, even if they don’t have a public cloud piece in their stack.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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