Google Cloud woos the open source crew with cash-rich kisses for coder's compute time

Next '19 SF shindig kicks off with a rocket for Bezos & Co

Google Cloud Platform on Tuesday plans to announce a series of partnerships with open source software companies, a move that may mollify members of that community who believe cloud companies exploit their development labor without giving back.

The Chocolate Factory intends to reveal the deals at Google Cloud Next '19, a promotional event for the cloud confectionary that's being held at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Over the past year, open source companies have attempted to make life more difficult for cloud providers that sell open source software as a service. Redis adopted the Commons Clause license for its Redis Modules, only to drop its revised license in February. MongoDB did so too, adopting a new license last October. Graph database maker Neo4J embraced a similar strategy, as did Confluent.

These companies contend that cloud providers profit by using open source software without compensating code creators, which is allowable – open source licenses don't guarantee anyone a business model – but arguably unwise if project sustainability is a goal.

Google's decision to partner with these companies and others stands in contrast to Amazon's approach. Bezos's firm has launched cloud services that compete with MongoDB and Elasticsearch without cutting them in on the revenue, for example.

"We've always seen our friends in the open-source community as equal collaborators, and not simply a resource to be mined," said Chris DiBona, director of open source at Google, and Kevin Ichhpurani, VP of Google's global partner ecosystem, in a blog post provided in advance to The Register.

The cloud biz plans to provide fully managed services for Confluent, DataStax, Elastic, InfluxData, MongoDB, Neo4j and Redis Labs. That means a single GCP interface for managing these apps, unified billing and a single support window tied to the various support systems offered by these companies.

The terms of these deals are a closely guarded secret. Google's contracts with its partners stipulate that the finances can't be disclosed.

Single point of failure

The appeal for GCP's enterprise customers is that this arrangement provides one throat to choke when things go wrong.

Google is also launching: Cloud Run, a managed serverless execution environment; Cloud Run on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), which makes serverless environments run on Kubernetes clusters; and Knative, an API for deploying and running GKE in a way that's portable to other cloud providers.

Cloud Run is more or less Google's version of Amazon Fargate, a service for running containers without managing servers or clusters.

Google Cloud Functions is getting new language runtime support, in the form of Node.js 8, Python 3.7 and Go 1.11 in general availability, Node.js 10 in beta and Java 8 and Go 1.12 in alpha. It also now has a Functions Framework, which makes cloud functions portable to any container-based environment.

Sunil Rayan, Google Cloud for Games at GDC 2019

Within Google Cloud, a computer is muttering: Shall we play a game? Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of SaaS?


The cloud biz has some other additions as well: a beta version of Serverless VPC Access, which connects cloud functions to Virtual Private Clouds; per-function identity controls (general availability); and Scaling Controls, which keep auto-scaling systems from causing problems for backends that are slow to scale (beta).

Google's App Engine serverless platform meanwhile received a runtime upgrade with the addition of ​Node.js 10,​ ​Go 1.11,​ and ​PHP 7.2​ in general availability and ​Ruby 2.5​ and ​Java 11​ in alpha.

With the shiny services come four new GCP regions: two in early 2020 – Seoul, South Korea, and Salt Lake City, Utah in the US – and two before the first half of 2020 – Osaka, Japan and Jakarta, Indonesia. That will increase the GCP global footprint from 19 regions today to 23 bit barns.

In a phone interview with The Register, David Mitchell Smith, VP with IT consultancy Gartner, said Google's challenge will be to convince businesses that it won't just shut its cloud services down, as it has done more than a few times with its consumer-facing services.

"I think the thing they have to do is work their way through the trust issue," he said. "Trust is not the same as security. If you're selling to enterprises, they have to trust you." ®

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