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Google's Anthos for Multi-Cloud goes GA!

Robin Percy
Google's Anthos for Multi-Cloud goes GA!

Last week Google announced the GA release of Anthos for Multi-Cloud. The reception was equal parts of excitement and confusion. For those of us that have worked with Anthos, the announcement is a significant milestone in enabling hybrid and multi-cloud adoption for enterprises. Unfortunately for those that haven’t been working with Anthos yet, the marketing-speak around Anthos makes it hard to figure out what exactly it is offering. In this post, I'll attempt to explain what Anthos is, why it matters, and what that means to your business.

What is Anthos?

Anthos is Google's attempt to bring "cloud-native" to the enterprise. In particular, this includes:

  • support for managing multiple Kubernetes clusters on non-Google platforms -- notably AWS and on-premise
  • tools to enable deployments across multiple Kubernetes clusters
  • a service mesh offering (based on Istio) to simplify microservice communication challenges -- including cross-cluster communication
  • support for serverless workloads
  • enterprise-grade security, logging, and monitoring solutions
  • tools to facilitate the migration from VMs to containers.

Why Anthos Matters

The last few years have seen an explosion in technologies that leverage cloud infrastructure to significantly improve the efficiency of engineering teams. While many of these solutions were developed and proven out at large, well-respected engineering organizations, their adoption so far has been much more feasible to startups and small businesses -- leaving enterprises to struggle to find a maintainable path forward. The first attempts to address this divide came from companies like RedHat and Pivotal, who were pioneers to bundle platform-agnostic Kubernetes with auxiliary tools and support for the enterprise customers. However, the first attempts do not fill the gap completely: while Kubernetes is a robust platform for hosting workloads, and while the tooling built for OpenShift and PKS add significant value, the price tags associated can be daunting and the auxiliary tools do not cover the full breadth of services offered by cloud providers.

Anthos is part of what I describe as the "second wave" of bringing cloud-native to the enterprise. This wave is driven by cloud providers themselves. It offers the advantage of integrating cloud-native adoption with broader migration efforts. In the end, if it is successful in its mission, adopting Anthos to modernize applications will automatically give you a significant head start on the cloud migration journey.

What This Means to Your Business

Migrating to the cloud is often daunting due to a number of factors. One of the most common and nebulous challenges is the interdependency between application architecture and infrastructure capabilities. You can frequently hear teams lamenting: "the infrastructure migration would be easier if our application components weren't so tightly coupled, but decoupling the application would be easier if we could rely on cloud infrastructure". It takes multiple rounds of back and forth between cloud infrastructure design and application refactoring before the full solution is found. Along the way, much effort is wasted on false starts, ramping up on new tooling, and faulty assumptions about constraints.

Anthos aims to facilitate cloud migrations by removing many of the tasks that cause dependencies between application and infrastructure teams. These tasks are obviated by managed versions of key cloud-native technologies, flexible deployment models that include on-premise environment support, and tools to automate the most tedious steps of the process. Product teams can have a dev environment running Anthos Service Mesh on Kubernetes within minutes. Operations teams can focus on infrastructure design rather than supporting open-source versions of Istio or Knative while leveraging rich tooling to enforce the integrity of those designs (e.g. Binary Authorization, Policy Controller and Config Management). Not to mention all of these benefits are compounded when an on-premise or AWS environment needs to be supported as well.

The Bottom Line

So what's the catch? Well, aside from Anthos itself being a brand new, relatively unproven offering, the cost is substantial at $30 per managed vcpu/month on a pay-as-you-go plan. Subscription plans are also available by engaging the Google sales team. None of this should be surprising given that Anthos is firmly positioned as an Enterprise Solution. Google claims that the efficiency and productivity gains with Anthos can lead to greater than 4x ROI - which is easily convincing given how inefficient most migration efforts are.

As someone that has worked extensively in the cloud-native space, I have seen first-hand how much value there is to be gained from modern application development practices and tooling. I have also seen how painful and expensive the adoption process can be. Therefore, I am optimistic about Anthos' approach to enabling modern practices while removing much of the risk with managed services. If you're in the enterprise space, you cannot afford to ignore this second wave of cloud-native platforms.

Want to learn more about Anthos and the cloud-native solutions it enables? Reach out to us at [email protected].

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