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Google recasts Anthos with hitch to AWS Outposts

If at first you don't succeed, change names and try again

Google Cloud's Anthos on-prem platform is getting a new home under the search giant’s recently announced Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) portfolio, where it will live on as a software-based competitor to AWS Outposts and Microsoft Azure Stack.

Introduced last fall, GDC enables customers to deploy managed servers and software in private datacenters and at communication service provider or on the edge.

Its latest update sees Google reposition Anthos on-prem, introduced back in 2020, as the bring-your-own-server edition of GDC. Using the service, customers can extend Google Cloud-style management and services to applications running on-prem.

For example, customers can use the service to provision and manage Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) clusters on virtual machines or bare-metal servers in their own datacenters, and do it all from the Google Cloud Console.

GDC Virtual doesn’t appear to introduce any new functionality not already found in Anthos on-prem.

“Customers of Anthos on-premises… will continue to enjoy the consistent management and developer experience they have come to know and expect, with no changes to current capabilities, pricing structure, or look and feel across user interfaces,” Chen Goldberg, GM and VP of engineering for cloud-native runtimes at Google, said in a statement.

The announcement marks the latest evolution to the Anthos hybrid cloud platform, which launched in early 2019 following Thomas Kurian's appointment as CEO of Google Cloud.

Anthos was initially conceived as a way to extend a consistent management plane to applications running in multiple clouds — GCP, AWS, Azure, etc — or workloads that customers weren’t ready to see leave the corporate datacenter.

The idea was that customers could manage their workloads wherever they were deployed and migrate them to GCP with minimal retooling. The platform quickly picked up additional features, including integration with VMware's vSphere VM management suite, and a migration tool designed to re-wrap virtual machines to run in containers on GKE.

Google’s motivations don’t appear to have changed much in that regard. The company cites customers with “significant investment in their own VM environments” or those wishing to “migrate their applications to the cloud” as the target market for GDC Virtual.

Despite the emphasis on GDC, we’re told the platform isn’t so much the spiritual successor to Anthos, but rather a consolidation of SKUs powered by the platform aimed at simplifying customer journeys. Or put another way, making Anthos a little less confusing for customers.

Only time will tell whether we’ll see Anthos subjected to the same fate as so many of Google’s products. I’m looking at you Google Talk, I mean Hangouts, or wait, is it Chat now? ®

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