With Google's announcement at Google Cloud Next 2019 in April that the Google Cloud Services Platform had been renamed Anthos, channel partners and customers alike were eager to hear what this meant for their cloud infrastructures.
A lot, as it turns out. A massive amount, in fact. As multi-cloud continues to grow in popularity, a platform that allows you to host your applications and data in any cloud, regardless of vendor, has the potential to offer customers a completely different approach to managing their applications, data, infrastructure, and cloud journey more broadly.
For channel partners, meanwhile, the introduction of Anthos gives them a flexible product to go to customers with that will tackle many of the key concerns that sit alongside a cloud migration - cost, complexity and vendor lock-in. The platform also offers the opportunity to engage with large enterprise customers with complex cloud architectures that may not have previously considered Google Cloud as an option but that could benefit considerably from the flexibility Anthos offers.
So what is it? In short, Anthos is an enterprise hybrid and multi-cloud platform that enables enterprises to run applications in their private datacenter and on Google's cloud, while also offering support to AWS and Azure. What this means is that enterprises will be able to deploy and manage their applications on any cloud via a single platform.
What Anthos actually offers customers (and, therefore, channel partners) is, in essence, a unified, open-source platform that will allow enterprise customers the choice to build on top of whatever type of cloud preference they happen to have. Think what VMware did for virtualization in the late 1990s - Anthos is doing the same thing within the Kubernetes and container ecosystem, and by virtue of doing so, customers can build on top of Anthos and enjoy full portability for whatever multi-cloud infrastructure they wish to pursue.
Customers seeking a hybrid environment will also benefit from being able to keep however much of their infrastructure on premises, while also hosting as much or as little as they want in the cloud - whichever cloud they choose - but all with only having to manage one platform.
Google is making a bold move in an effort to lead with a platform that affords their customers the option of choice, so clearly channel partners can benefit from that by offering their customers the same when introducing them to Anthos.
By looking at the market and realizing where their strengths lie, as well as noting where AWS and Microsoft are in their cloud efforts, Google is making a bold push as the first to market with a platform like Anthos, which offers a level of portability not yet seen in the industry and unlikely to be matched any time soon.
But what does all this mean for channel partners? In a word: opportunity. Masses of it, in fact.
With Anthos channel partners finally have a platform that will enable them to engage their customers wherever they are in their cloud lifecycle and, crucially, on whichever cloud they wish to host their infrastructure - even when it's a competitor's.
As far as the enterprise is concerned, by finally entering into the enterprise datacenter space, Google is offering channel partners like SADA Systems a huge opportunity to open their customer ecosystem and broaden their addressable market considerably with Anthos.
In addition, Anthos has the potential to open doors that otherwise weren't ready to be opened, such as customers who have chosen not to embark upon a cloud migration because they see it as too costly, too complex or laden with the risk of vendor lock-in. Anthos tackles this head on by allowing customers to utilize the platform for whatever version of multi-cloud they desire, regardless of vendor. This gives channel partners the opportunity to revisit customers that may have previously turned away their services, including existing customers who chose not to pursue a previous cloud offering, as well as customers that wouldn't have been on the radar previously because they were already working with a certain cloud vendor and/or didn't want to exert too much change on their cloud infrastructure.
Channel partners can also take advantage of Google's being first to market with a platform like Anthos. While there's no way of knowing if AWS and Microsoft or other key competitors will build a cloud platform of their own that offers the portability and flexibility of Anthos, right now the first-mover advantage that channel partners can enjoy with Anthos has the potential to elevate their businesses to new levels that will offer significant returns on investment.
Anthos is a game changer. Channel partners who get on board will find a whole new wave of potential customers to work with and a whole new way of migrating customer workloads to the cloud, whichever cloud that may be. The portability of Anthos is the future of cloud - and those channel partners that engage with it now will find themselves ahead of the curve and their competitors, with a unique story to tell and an offering that delivers every outcome.
Dana Berg (pictured) is COO of SADA Systems.
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