Southeast Asian organisations warm to Anthos

Google Cloud sees pockets of interest in Anthos and could review its pricing strategy as adoption of the multi-cloud management platform grows

The growing use of Kubernetes to orchestrate containers in a hybrid cloud environment will drive demand for multi-cloud management platforms, according to a regional Google Cloud executive.

During a media briefing on the sidelines of the Google Cloud Summit in Singapore, Tim Synan, regional director of Google Cloud in Southeast Asia, said this is already happening in the region, where governments, banks, retailers and telcos are either exploring or deploying Google Anthos.

These include the Singapore government, a large e-commerce platform, and a retailer that is using managing and orchestrating workloads across multiple cloud services, said Synan.

Previously known as the Cloud Services Platform, Anthos promises to make it easier for enterprises to manage containerised applications regardless of where they choose to run them – on different public cloud services or on-premise.

In an interview with Computer Weekly in April 2019, Urs Hölzle, senior vice-president for technical infrastructure at Google, compared Anthos to Linux for the cloud.

“If you choose Anthos, it’s like choosing Linux,” he said. “It’s open, high quality and you can run it anywhere. It’s the first cloud stack that’s actually a cloud stack – it’s an extension of Linux and Kubernetes, and all the open source systems fit in nicely.”

In Southeast Asia, said Synan, Anthos is now one of the first or second topics that come up during his conversations with IT leaders. “And as more organisations become more comfortable with Kubernetes, we’ll start to see Anthos really ramping up,” he said.

Meanwhile, Google Cloud is building up a partner ecosystem that includes hardware manufacturers to make sure Anthos can run on hardware platforms such as hyper-converged infrastructure, said Synan.

But deploying Anthos can be costly, making it a primarily large enterprise play.

With a list price of $10,000 a month for every 100 virtual CPUs (vCPUs), the managed software will require enterprises to right-size their workloads to avoid paying for vCPUs they do not need. That is on top of the cost of enterprise-level support and the underlying Google infrastructure services that vary across cloud regions.

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Asked whether Google will be more flexible with its pricing strategy for Anthos, Synan said the company wants to be as flexible as possible, while stressing the benefits that Anthos can bring to enterprises.

“It’s a really hard thing to write an application once and deploy it everywhere without making changes to the code base,” he said. “As Anthos matures in terms of its uptake in the market, we’ll take a view of what the appropriate pricing should be.”

Anthos is not the only platform that enterprises can use to run applications in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Pivotal Cloud Foundry, as well as Red Hat OpenShift, which is being supported by major public cloud suppliers including Google Cloud, achieve similar outcomes.

Jeffrey Hammond, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester, said in a blog post that enterprises should add Anthos to their OpenShift versus Cloud Foundry evaluations while leaving room for similar offerings from Microsoft and Amazon.

“Expect each platform provider to support the core table stakes – containers, orchestration, service mesh, API [application programming interface] management, logging and tracing,” he said. “In the near term, look for platform differentiation in developer experiences and DevOps tools, functions-as-a-service, support for events and integration with unique public cloud services.”

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