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Using FinOps for Cloud Cost Optimization (full recording)

FinOps—or cloud financial operations—is the practice of embedding financial accountability, management, and cost optimization within engineering teams. FinOps is growing in importance and relevance among financial and engineering teams alike.A recent Forrester report predicts that over 90% of organizations are overspending on cloud costs due to several factors, including lack of skills and over-provisioned resources. CIOs, business leaders, and the media are all talking about FinOps in 2023. Interest in FinOps is growing at an unprecedented rate, especially given recent economic fluctuations.C2C had the opportunity to host Sasha Kipervarg and Ken Cheney to bring their perspective about FinOps to the C2C community. Sasha is the co-founder and CEO of Ternary, the world's first native FinOps cloud cost optimization tool built for Google Cloud on Google Cloud. Ken Cheney is a business leader and advisor to SaaS and cloud vendors, large enterprise, and the government. During this informal chat, you will learn about the importance of: Accountability and enablement of cloud optimization Implementing this optimization via policies and useful resources (such as Ternary) that can help you:  tag resources (every workload, every cluster)  track untagged resources  track the biggest spenders and stay on top of the fluctuations in these costs  Reporting (the earlier the better) for aggregating spend and arriving at a total cost for various teams Setting reporting to make planning and forecasting easier.Watch the full recording here:  

Categories:Cloud OperationsSession Recording

CarCast with Bruno Aziza 3/19: Data! What Is it Good For?

This week, Bruno breaks down what matters and what doesn't matter in the world of Data (he's brought a special guest to help him out too!). This week, Bruno was featured in Harvard Business Review and he points to some of the latest research from that piece: for instance, did you know that 81% of organizations have increased their data and analytics investment over the past two years?!This CarCast covers:What To Pay Attention To & What To Ignore. Gartner's 2023 Emerging Tech and Trends Impact Radar is out!  The graphic and research behind it contains a lot of trends. One tip: look for the biggest bubble, closest to the center.  What To Expect at the 2023 Gartner Data & Analytics Summit.  Data Fabric, Data Products & Data Engineering are some of the trends to watch out for this week. Read Philip Russom's post to find out more here. Data Leaders You Can't Afford Not To Know or Follow.  Bruno points to the incredible journeys of Data Leaders at Carrefour, L'Oreal, Yves Saint Laurent, Groupe Rocher, Kerin, Swarovski & Servier and ways to connect with them here, here and here!And finally, if you are planning on attending the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit at the end of the month, don't hesitate to connect with Bruno and let him know if you'd like to meet in person, at sessions or the various Data, AI and analytics gatherings throughout the week!Analytically yours,Bruno

Categories:Data Analytics

Managing Complex Multicloud Security with Anthos (full recording)

After hearing the NEXT’22 presentation about validating an organization’s security posture, I was intrigued to find out more, specifically about the trends contributing to the growing complexity and real-world examples of solutions to these challenges. This C2C 2Chat grew out of this interest to find out more about this growing complexity, especially in multicloud environments, and to uncover how Anthos has helped in real-life instances.Google Cloud Innovator Champions and Fellows Jason Quek and Vincent Ledan joined from Sweden and France respectively to elaborate on this topic. Both are Anthos Fellows and as such are passionate about evangelizing about Google Cloud and Anthos and how the latter can help with security problems, including cloud-native security and platform engineering.    This event was a master class in Anthos and security, exploring factors adding complexity to the security landscape and to the very real concerns of organizations worldwide, including:How do I keep my applications running in a highly available manner and protect them against attacks?  How do I secure environments that span multiple clouds and also live on prem?  How can I most effectively secure clusters at scale? It’s easy to secure one or two clusters, but with so many options available for configuration, how do I do so most effectively?Together with my colleague Dimitris connecting from Greece, and our members from Asia Pacific, we were privileged to hear about real-life examples and solutions from our expert panelists from Scandinavia and Central Europe.  I am thrilled to have hosted this chat from my home in Sydney Australia and am in awe of the power of a truly global community like C2C, to bring members together to learn, but also to drive change that ultimately benefits customers (refer to the example and commentary on the final question).0:00 - 06:45 | Welcome and Introductions 07:30 - 12:30 | Challenges modern organizations face contributing to security landscape complexity: Organizations are looking to prevent malicious software supply chains, e.g. rogue containers running in a cluster; ensuring that all development teams use the same level of security; how to create network segregation given a cluster and network policy. We discussed Google’s controls (e.g. binary utilization) that allow management of containers in clusters, without creating bottlenecks in development teams. Platform Engineering teams are focussed on security at scale across multiple clouds,  beyond DevSecOps or even DevOps.  12.45 - 14:45 | How is the Anthos ecosystem responding to the challenges: Defense in Depth - creating multiple layers of defense; Critical functionality that exists within the Anthos ecosystem, like the Anthos Policy Controller based on the OPA Open Policy Agent ensuring that clusters are always pulling the latest security policies available via a controlled, auditable, and central repository that’s always up to date. On the Application side, there’s Anthos Service Mesh, ensuring the right microservices are talking to each other across multi-tenant workspaces. In this sense, a Defense-in-Depth approach with Anthos spans multiple layers of defense, including binary authorization, OPA gateways, and across Service Mesh.  14:45 - 17:45 | Common mistakes: Without these security mechanisms, organizations create opportunities for exposure, configuration mistakes, and developer mistakes in a cluster that might lead to leakage of private data, or the ability to retrieve logs of common shared nodes. It becomes important for developers and not just Kuberneters administrators to understand eviction logic, scheduling logic, and mitigation strategies. 18:00 -  30:00 | Actionable Tips and Examples, Validate security posture: When dealing with a multicloud mesh of clusters, a proven tip is to incorporate, as part of the cluster creation step, pulling out the security policies from a GIT repository.  Create landing zones for each of the environments to provide coverage for the intricacies of each cloud. Once these landing zones are set up, Anthos does the rest, resulting in a Kubernetes compliant cluster.  Use Anthos service mesh. Engage support and problem-solving. Support paths for Google-supported products. Consider the implications of an incubating fast-moving open-source software product like Istio for support and the ability to respond quickly. Reduce complexity and leverage the tools available, e.g. IAM security.  Consider security early on. In this particular example, implementing network security after a few deployments proved very difficult (and costly) Greater investment and focus are needed to effectively stress test and pen test clusters. 31:00 - 33:00 | Examples of container-aware load balancing and traffic encryption between services. 33:00 - 35:00 | Wrap up by Erika 35:00 - 44:00 | Q&A  Question from Ben from Brisbane Australia regarding Gatekeeper policies and book: Answer made reference to a book titled Google Anthos in Action, including a very practical chapter on Security and Policies and real-world use cases. Google Anthos in Action was written by a team of twenty-three Googlers involved with Anthos development and Anthos fellows assisting customers in the field, including our very own speaker Jason Quek, and also Scott Surovich, Google Cloud Fellow and Global Container Engineering Lead at HSBC. Here is the link to look inside the book. Discussion regarding much-needed standardization across public cloud providers: Answer made reference to https://www.pulumi.com/ as an example. Thoughts on how to kick off standardization conversations: we need large customers to band together and push for constructive dialogue across the cloud providers seeking a unified interface. There is a real-world precedent that this approach works. For example, in Germany, a number of banks banded together and negotiated with Google to deliver something specific that involved exposing specific processes that wouldn’t have been possible on a 1:1 negotiation.   43:00 - 44:30 | Closing and thank you Watch a full recording of the event here:  

Categories:Session Recording

Women in Cloud: Meet Clair Hur

Please introduce yourself: My name is Clair and I’m a Senior Program Manager at Vimeo. I work with C-suite, multi-country product leads, and PMO managers to produce meaningful organizational change. I also deliver business critical initiatives at an enterprise scale and my expertise is in digital transformation, process redesign, and revenue optimization. I currently live in Manhattan with my husband, and I’m originally from Korea. You have a diverse background from working in design to consulting, how did you find yourself in tech? When my father got third stage cancer, I was 17 and education was a luxury. It took away my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer, and I had to work 2 jobs to be the breadwinner of my home. When I was 19, I submitted a 1200-word article to the Korea Times' Thoughts for Times section. The Korea IT Times Editor in Chief took notice of my work and scouted me as a reporter while I was taking online University classes. I learned from the world’s tech leaders and served as a media partner to over 200 IT companies to promote their products and services online. I promised myself that once my baby sister graduated college, I’d pursue a Master’s program with my own savings, and it took me 10 years to reach that goal. From all the schools I applied to, Parsons School of Design offered me a merit-based scholarship, and I chose to study strategic design and management, allowing me to dive deep into different methods of design thinking and managing creative work. This time in my life came with a few different challenges, as I applied to 320 companies and revised my resume 221 times. However, each time I received a rejection letter, I’d dissect the job description and dedicate myself to self-improvement. New knowledge and certifications led to the project opportunities with Nike, Delonghi, and Toyota’s design and engineering teams. In 2018, PWC gave me an opportunity by the time I gained 6 certifications, including, The Wharton School Financial and Business Modeling, PMP, CSM, and Google Adwords. By the time I completed the Lean Six Sigma course, I was led to the tech industry, Vimeo.  How has Google Cloud made an impact on you? Google Cloud has always been my amplifier. In 2022 at Vimeo, the principal engineer of the hosting Ops team designed a new container solution with our Core Services and Video Platform team to cost-effectively store large video files at Vimeo. We selected Google to be our partner for this endeavor when we were using multiple regional storage solutions. Through the Google Cloud STS service, we migrated large legacy video files into a new bucket safely in less than 3 months. The principal engineers of Google partnered with our video platform, core services, and hosting ops teams to assess risks and proactively manage them. The success of this complex project, in partnership with the best teams of both parties, resulted in substantial cost savings. A shout out to Dave Stoner’s team at Google! Additionally, in 2005, I was a reporter at the Korea IT Times.  We had a competitive advantage for being the nation’s first English IT specialized online/offline journal. However, the business couldn’t sustain itself with new technological advances. When my paycheck fell behind, I suggested to the CEO to redesign our website to meet Google News requirements. At that time, we had to rebuild the entire website for our English content to syndicate to Google News. We did this for the first time in Korea, and what this meant was an increase in sponsorship by 200% and revenue by six folds. When our media partners exhibited at the international fairs, they could share the article link in the follow up email rather than distributing the paper kits. Google has always been a powerful tool in my life and has been a driving force to help solve critical issues.  What does being a leader mean to you?I think sometimes I struggle to define that myself. It used to be about “Am I doing enough for others? Am I dedicating enough time for them?” I thought those were the qualities of a leader. When I think about the term today, I believe it’s rooted in company growth. The challenge here is to be the force of nature as a leader that can empower others to reach their own destiny while also balancing the needs of a team. I think rather than always being the person who relies on facts, guidelines and analysis, I’m learning to embrace my natural feminine identity in the progress of striving for effective communication. When faced with a challenge or obstacle in life, how do you handle it? To be honest, being in the United States has really helped. Failures and obstacles are viewed as a part of the journey rather than a form of shame. However, in the culture I grew up in, mistakes were viewed harshly. As an immigrant from a different country, I struggle with  questioning myself and my expectations. When this happens, I turn to music or running. A recent hobby of mine has been writing TV show scripts, and I realized that writing helps me to look into the bad moments of a day from a bird’s eye view. It’s very therapeutic and helps me to understand that whatever is happening is just a part of season one.  If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would that be?I would tell myself that when there is a will, there's a path. When I was younger, I always had a will but keeping faith was a challenge. Life felt giant, and everyday felt like I was never excellent enough to become successful, when really, I didn’t have a definition of success. I’d tell myself to create a vision, get credentials, and never stop learning. In my case, every time I was about to give up, someone always found me and led me closer to my ambition, and they took notice of  my track record dedicated to continuous improvement. I believe you shouldn’t stop being an eternal student. Continuously seek wisdom through knowledge, and have faith that the perfect award awaits you.  How would you like to see organizations celebrate female talent?I was recently very inspired by an event titled “I Am Remarkable.” Culturally, we grow up hearing that modesty is the best virtue. Especially when you are a woman, the better job security is there when we nail the back scene supporter role. It was an emotional event for me to witness because these amazing women celebrated their wins from small to big, and were being vulnerable while also empowering each other. It made me want to create more time and space to participate in these events to nurture my own confidence so that I can be more comfortable in my own skin. The remarkable women were building a strong community by recognizing greatness in others, and I'd love to belong to more communities like this to inspire meaningful changes in the world.  What is your favorite aspect of working with other women?Women together are like “stars aligned” in my perception. I once belonged to a certain type of culture where men with a higher title would serve the role of a “hero” of a team. We have great female leaders that joined Vimeo from Google and Amazon for our key product areas. Our presence helped mixed groups at Vimeo to shine brighter together. Sometimes I imagine us looking like a Saggitarius together, other days like an Aquarius––here when the stars are aligned, we constantly ask each other what can be done by the work function or at the leadership level to remove impediments and overcome any limitations for the simple mission: enable the power of video. We bring balanced perceptions, empowerment, and strong will to accomplish our mission together.    Who are your role models? Currently, the CEO of Vimeo, Anjali Sud, and CFO Gillian Munson have deeply inspired me. I’ve never seen such strong leaders who empower us with smart management who are also furiously vulnerable with us and display humility. This is the first time in my career where I am working for or with a female C-Suite. Recently, when Anjali spoke in our Town Hall that times like this define who we truly are and how together we can become stronger, I dearly missed my Japanese grandmother. She was devoted and positive throughout all crises, including post-war family loss and rebuilding. She has been a true role model in my heart.  For young women going into the tech space, what advice would you give them?First, you need to find and understand your interest, then connect it to tech areas where you could make an impact. I’d recommend researching what you have to accomplish in terms of credentials to get into that market, and I’d also narrow down the search to areas that you’d be interested in learning more about as well. There are many online courses available that will provide you with a glimpse of University professors teaching different topics that will help you strengthen that interest. Once you’ve narrowed it down, take a look at the job descriptions in that field, because it is like a cheat sheet for where you want to go! Dissect the requirements and see which ones you can tackle currently and map out the ones that you can achieve in the future. There are small, tactful hints you can catch in job descriptions that are quite actionable now and will make you feel like you’re working towards your end goal. Dream on! Want to read similar articles? Check out these other interviews with women in Cloud: Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana Shankar

Categories:Careers in CloudNetworkingCloud OperationsGoogle Cloud PartnersInterview

How the Cloud is Driving Innovation in the Financial Services Industry

Innovation is a natural value of cloud technology. The cloud itself is an emerging, growing technology, and cloud nativity is increasingly becoming the norm for younger and more forward-thinking companies. This makes the cloud an intuitive fit for companies building emerging solutions and working in growing industries, but innovation happens everywhere, even in some of the biggest and most varied industries on the market––including the market itself. When it comes to innovation in the financial services industry, there are no opportunities available like those offered by the cloud.In some ways, innovation in the financial services industry occurs naturally. Every company is reliant to some extent on the financial services industry, and probably partnering with multiple financial services companies to manage its payroll, its benefits enrollments, and its investments. Innovation across the business universe will inevitably occur in step with innovation specific to financial services. With this innovation essentially a foregone conclusion for the industry, established advantages of cloud adoption like scalability, speed of operations, cost reduction, and security should be top of mind for financial services companies.At C2C Global, a worldwide online community of Google Cloud users where people work together to solve problems and build new solutions, we’ve seen financial services organizations share that a huge opportunity for migrating to the cloud for their business is better insights from data analytics. Legacy organizations hoping to get the necessary value out of their increasingly massive datasets will struggle to process their analytics using on-prem models. Using AI and ML to augment these insights will be even harder without access to the training available to AI apps and ML models built on the cloud, where more of these models are available, as well as more computing and processing power.One major financial services provider just opted to migrate to Google Cloud: banking giant Wells Fargo. The bank began its migration recently, announcing the partnership with Google Cloud in 2021, but it’s already made big plans, including a customer experience engine using customer metadata to build predictive models that proactively offer personalized suggestions. To prime for the migration, Wells Fargo created sandbox environments for developers to build apps and tools on the cloud. The speed with which the teams were able to build the infrastructure for the customer experience engine on the cloud as opposed to on-prem was immediately apparent. The engine also has access to Google Cloud’s vast network of AI and ML data models, which are trained on trillions of petabytes of data.Many legacy banks may be hesitant to migrate to Google Cloud, or to the cloud at all, due to the inertia processes experience after years on an on-prem architecture. However, migration is not only possible; with the right support, it’s a smooth and comfortable process. Google Cloud offers a service called Cloud Customer Care that makes migration manageable and minimizes lift for companies looking to modernize. Data Capital Management (DCM), an innovative financial services company using automation to make the investment process more accessible to consumers, used Cloud Customer Care to manage a complex migration to Google Cloud. The data and computing power required to maintain DCM’s AI models made the migration essential. Cloud Customer Care made it easy.Many of the most exciting innovations in the financial services space are coming from cloud-first retail banking companies. The FinTech space is exploding now that electronic payment is emerging as the default mode of payment for organizations and individuals alike and alternative financial models like cryptocurrency and other forms of decentralized finance are going mainstream. Other innovations like embedded finance and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) show great potential for growth in the near term. Much of this innovation is being accelerated by the growing prevalence of remote work. Just like innovation in financial services is dependent on the business ecosystem as a whole, FinTech continues to evolve as more and more companies adopt it to modernize.More than just work has gone remote since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many transactions that individuals and businesses once conducted exclusively face-to-face have now become possible online, from takeout orders to doctors’ appointments. Self-service models for banking are emerging as well, quickly and effectively enough that in the coming years, negotiating a mortgage and closing on a house virtually might become as simple as ordering a new pair of shoes online.These are just a few of the innovation use cases available to financial services organizations hoping to modernize on the cloud. Each, though, demonstrates the clear advantages of cloud adoption for organizations in the industry and beyond. For businesses, scalability, computing power and storage capacity, and speed and cost reduction will make for advantages too attractive to pass up. For individuals, innovation in financial services will mean autonomy, control, and a world of resources at their fingertips. We can afford to migrate. We can’t afford to wait. Extra Credit:  

Categories:Industry SolutionsFinancial Services

Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana Shankar

Please introduce yourself! My name is Shobana Shankar and I’ve currently been at Google for 5 years leading the ISV Sales Specialist team. I have been in a few previous roles at Google, such as initiatives related to resellers. However, the current focus right now is on ISVs. There is a lot of growth expected over the next few years for us in this area, which is very exciting!  What were some of your hobbies and interests growing up that you think led to your current career path? I have had hobbies and interests all over the map. Growing up, I was highly involved in competitive sports. Track and field as well as volleyball were some of my favorites. I was also working towards joining the Olympics team during high school. Overall, I played a lot of sports for my district and for my state. I never really saw a classroom on a daily basis because all I wanted to do was be out there playing sports. The competitiveness, team dynamics, and the end goal of winning a game is what really drove me towards athletics. After my dad moved to the United States, my passions eventually switched. I found myself becoming involved with dancing. From hip-hop, modern contemporary, and Bollywood, I indulged myself in many different styles of dance.I’ve also always been interested in math and science, which naturally led me to pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer systems engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I was the only female in my class as well, but found myself very excited about the subject. I think teamwork, collaborating, and the idea of winning together are fundamental values that I have carried throughout my personal and professional life. I think of my team and I as one driving force trying to figure out how to succeed together, and my background in sports is what instilled my beliefs about team dynamics.  What advice would you give women that are trying to break into this industry?I think any woman who wants to break out into this industry would benefit from finding a mentor. My mentor helped me to navigate difficult situations that I faced and I was able to follow the example of someone that I looked up to. They can also help you navigate the industry and connect you with people who can help you succeed. I also believe that representation is very important. There are now a lot of female leaders in the tech industry and success stories that are published and discussed, as well as success stories involving women. I think following those stories will inspire others to chase their dreams and eliminate any self-limiting beliefs. Believe in yourself and your passions and it will take you far!  How can the tech industry demonstrate that it truly values female talent? I think there have been a lot of good changes that will continue to help. Organizations continuing to highlight female talent and creating an inclusive as well as equitable environment by celebrating the successes of women is making a positive impact. This also goes back to representation and showing women that this can be done and that they have the ability to do it themselves. Outside of that, Google is doing some amazing initiatives as well that involve promoting a culture that empowers female talent.  What is your favorite aspect of working at Google Cloud?The people, hands down! The talent here is unmatchable, which leads to a great culture. There is a word we have here at Google, which is “Googleyness.” It’s hard to define at times, and everyone has their own unique perception of it. However, I think it’s a combination of grit and passion as well as doing things the right way. At Google, it is more about how you do it than what you do, which I think fosters a lot of positive energy and promotes collaboration.  Could you share an empowering story that highlights being a woman in tech?Jim Anderson built a women’s community within the partner channel in our group that gets together on a monthly or quarterly basis. The group is rooted in sharing each other’s stories and how we’re navigating different environments as women. I shared a story as a part of the kickoff that was about me almost quitting full-time work to take care of my children. After the kickoff, I  received so many messages from other women who shared a similar story. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves, and we often tend to hide things that are going on, especially when you’re a mom. There’s so many scenarios that involve work and family that can often be stressful. I think it’s important to remember that there are many other people going through something similar who are trying to juggle 100 responsibilities at the same time. Having a supportive community and talking about it is what truly makes a positive difference.  As a woman, how do you balance being career-oriented with other aspects of your life?I wish I had a magical answer for that question. It is not always the easiest, but I think taking it one day at a time is important. Thinking about your overarching goals and having a good support system is also helpful. When I just had my kids, COVID hit very hard, and I went from working in an office everyday to being fully remote with two small children, which was quite difficult. It was the leaders who made the difference during that time. For example, when I wanted to quit, It was the leaders who suggested taking two months to figure out what worked for me in terms of my working style. Within the first month, I was able to determine what would work for me, and it was the support from leadership that provided me with that flexibility.  How did you realize Google Cloud was a good fit for you?I’ve always looked at Google as a great company to work for, since the beginning of my career. It’s known for its great talent, and we’ve all had a chance to use their products. Google Cloud reached out to me when I was working at a startup in San Francisco. Someone I worked with at Cisco who was at Google at the time reached out to me about the role. The interview process also reassured my positive perception of Google. The questions that were asked as well as discussing the culture demonstrated that Google truly cares about hiring the right leaders and people. The ground-breaking technology and amazing culture is why I know I’m at the right place.  What advice would you give to women in tech who are still early in their career journey?Network! Look at people who are successful in the areas that you might have an interest in. Meet as many people as possible, explore different avenues, and definitely lock in that mentor. Have an open mind when meeting people, especially in tech. Networking can make a huge difference as you progress in your career and are looking for different transitions.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud StrategyCareers in CloudNetworkingInterview

C2C Monthly Recap: February 2023

Each month, C2C shares the latest news from the team and the best highlights from all of you here in the community. Read on for the most essential C2C updates from February 2023. C2C’s in-person events returned with plenty of energy and excitement in February of 2023. Our 2Gather events in Sunnyvale, Munich, Zurich, and New York City brought together dozens of Google Cloud customers for the kinds of unique networking and collaboration opportunities that only a community like C2C can offer. Read on below to hear stories from each of these events. SunnyvaleFor our first in-person event of the year, we returned to Silicon Valley, where Google was born, for another event in Sunnyvale, California. The event included a fireside chat with C2C partner NetApp and a customer panel featuring speakers from NetApp, Lytics (another partner), Exabeam, and Cisco Systems. Bruno Aziza, Senior Director, Outbound Product Management, Google Cloud, introduced and hosted the event––one of many events Bruno will be joining in the coming months. According to Dylan Steeg (@Dylan_Steeg), Vice President of Business Development at Aible, “The event had extremely thought-provoking insights stemming from the issues of modern-day data analytics and how it impacts a customer base, as well as a panel that discussed their personal experiences with data.” Read more about the event here:  Munich2Gather: Munich was a customer-led event featuring sessions with Volkswagon, Soravia, and Nagarro. First, Kiran Francis (@kiranfrancis), Google Cloud Foundation Services Product Owner at Volkswagon, led a session about the company’s Group-wide Google Cloud Landing Zone. Then Hannes Gutemeier of Soravia and Jörg Weis of Nagarro sat down for a fireside chat about VDI modernization. Andy Hardy (@Andy Hardy) of Workspot, a regular at C2C events in the EMEA region, was particularly pleased. “Brilliant event!” he said. “Thanks for great organization, and a fascinating ‘Customer 2 Customer’ agenda!" Zurich2Gather: Zurich was the second of three events C2C hosted in February featuring guests from our partners at NetApp. At this event, NetApp chatted with Dentsply Sirona about using Cloud Volumes ONTAP to manage a hybrid deployment. The event also included a conversation with ParaShift AG about using Google Vision AI for intelligent document recognition. Oliver Ruf, Head of Middleware at Coop, Switzerland, told C2C afterward, “The community meetup was an incredibly insightful and inspiring experience that also allowed me to meet new people. The diverse range of perspectives and ideas shared by attendees, combined with the opportunity to make new connections, left me feeling energized and motivated to continue exploring new ideas and expanding my network.” New YorkOur most recent 2Gather event in New York City doubled as a formal launch party for the C2C Financial Services community. Michael Beal (@MikeBeal), CEO of Data Capital Management, who hosts the group on our platform, appeared alongside speakers from OpCo and PaerPay and partners Publicis Sapient and NetApp. The sessions and the networking at the event continued conversations that began the night before at an executive dinner for companies in and adjacent to the financial services industry, where customers like Deutsche Bank and Vimeo made valuable connections and explored new opportunities to collaborate and build on existing relationships. “Being able to see the community, it’s a lot of fun,” said Derek Canton, CEO of PaerPay. “I see the people in the space more than all the cool tech. There’s tons of cool tech and things that we’re talking about, but there’s so much depth behind that that I think is really important.” Read our report from the scene here:  Are you looking for more, including recordings from virtual events? Browse All Articles  We are excited to feature some special guest speakers from Google Cloud at our in-person events in March. Bruno Aziza in Paris and LondonTuesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 16Bruno Aziza, Head of Data and Analytics, specializes in high-growth SaaS, enterprise software, and everything data, analytics, data science, and artificial intelligence. Bruno, alongside customer speakers at both events, will host panel discussions about overcoming data challenges. Each event will also explore other unique challenges cited by speakers from the consumer packaged goods, retail, and financial services industries.Sign up for Paris.Sign up for London. Kelsey Hightower at the Cloud Adoption Summit TorontoThursday, March 23Kelsey Hightower, Principal Developer Advocate, has helped develop and refine many Google Cloud products, including Google’s Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Functions, and Apigees’s API Gateway. Kelsey will be joining us for our first event in Canada where the agenda includes various perspectives on optimizing cloud adoption plans. Topics include a shift from “cloud first” to “cloud also,” data center migration, cloud transformation, and cybersecurity. Sign up for this event. You can also find Kelsey speaking in upcoming Let’s Talk Tech events this April in Chicago and Atlanta. Find those and more by browsing our full events calendar. Sign Up for an Event   ConversationsWhether C2C members are sharing their opinions, trying to troubleshoot—or help others troubleshoot—Google Cloud tech, or having casual career conversations, we love to see excellent threads like these. Our online communities are a great way to find new connections with fellow Google Cloud users. Want to start connecting with the community? Start a Conversation   Want to make sure you’re in the loop? Don’t want to wait for these posts each month? Stay up-to-date on everything C2C by updating your profile and notification preferences so we can deliver you the most relevant news in real time.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C News

Looking for the Opportunity: C2C President Josh Berman Reflects on Working in the Tech Sector

For many months, the tech sector has been experiencing intense change, spanning layoffs, re-organizations, and budget strategy pivots. Now, a few months in, many of us have likely either been directly affected or worked closely with someone who has. As a community leader in the tech space, I want to take this opportunity to share some of my own perspective, for the benefit of those who may find themselves in a difficult place. I invite the community to also weigh in. The more we share and compare experiences and recommendations, the stronger we are.There’s truly a confluence of events going on right now. Much will and has already been written about this particular moment. Restated simply in my own words, we are through the pandemic, but we experienced a huge growth surge in all things tech. Now we’re on the other side of it, and we are dealing with it. Seemingly all tech companies are facing a combination of heightened demands to achieve profitability, rapid spikes in interest rates, and slowing sales motions. Most notably, a lot of earlier stage companies or companies with investors involved have incredibly different expectations on them today compared to a year or two ago. Until recently, the emphasis had been topline growth with long-term trends toward profitability, and the market responded well to that. Needless to say, there has been a big shift in short term profitability expectations, and it’s impacting the tech sector quite a bit.We now find ourselves in the midst of tech sector economic ripples. Every company is going to address it. Every person is going to feel it, and we all will navigate our own way through it. This will be hard, especially for those professionals who have never experienced anything like this. A lot of younger professionals wouldn’t have any reason to have had this happen. We’ve been in such a growth mode for so many years that this is really a rude awakening, and it’s personally hard to navigate. We all need to use a mix of common sense, smarts, and all the empathy we’ve got. While a layoff feels incredibly personal, we have to rise above that and recognize that it’s actually not personal. Like most tech sector cycles, this cycle is a step or two back to take us many more steps forward.To me, this feels very similar to tech adjustments that we’ve experienced before, going back to my own personal experiences in the early 2000s and again around 2008. The early 2000s, known as the “dotcom era,” gave us the term “irrational exuberance.” You saw a lot of growth on growth, and it was relatively easy to raise money, relative to the past. Professionally, for most in the tech sector, it was easy to change jobs. People were tripping over themselves to seize what appeared to be frequent and unlimited upside opportunity. There was a kind of hyperactive energy that eventually ended, quickly and aggressively, for many people, myself included.In my early twenties, I was getting promoted every year. A lot of my friends were changing jobs regularly. I remember vividly being put in situations that were unrealistic given my limited experiences, skill set, and professional background. Things were moving fast, to the point where I’m quite sure customers were not receiving the value exchange the tech providers and consultants were promising.In October of 2000, I went from being a rising player to laid off along with most of my teammates. This stung, as I was the 89th employee at a company that grew to about 1000+ employees in just a few short years. We even experienced an IPO! All kinds of exciting things were happening. Sure, there were “growth concerns” and business hiccups along the way, but my experience was that we always found our way up and to the right. “There is no better trusted place to step forward than within and among the diverse professional community you call home.” Then, overnight, most of the company’s personnel was let go. It was nothing short of shocking, and certainly a difficult personal experience for me, but time has given me perspective on it, even appreciation for having gone through it. Many important lessons were learned––namely, that a career trajectory isn’t always a straight line up, but if you work hard, keep up a strong network, and actively work to put yourself in a good position (working with good quality people, smart solutions, healthy industries, smart financial governance), when you zoom out from a moment like then and now, all historic signs indicate that the trends are truly up and to the right.Once I was laid off, I was on a journey. I took time to evaluate my interests and the unfolding new market. I took stock of my skill set, my network, my experiences, and what I liked and didn’t like about where I was and where I had been aiming to go professionally. A lot of my now newly available work friends, who decided to stay in industry, ended up taking a step sideways or even back with their next job, specific to role and compensation. Many ended up going to grad school, or pivoting completely to another industry or profession. For me, after much self-reflection and market research, I chose to stay in industry, but retool myself, shifting from technologist roles to business operating roles. I found a path forward. The client I was working with asked me to come onboard to help them transition away from the company I had worked for. The original contract was for two to three weeks, and I ended up being there for about five and a half years as an hourly contractor. Along the way, I earned my MBA part-time during my nights and weekends. At the same time, I upped my industry network, and developed what I viewed as next-level experiences and skill sets. As that pullback faded, I found myself better organized, more focused, and more qualified for the next step in my professional journey. When I look back, community greatly helped me, shaped me, and motivated me through unplanned, uncharted times. In that sense, I was developing a passion around all things community, even back then. I was not afraid to admit that I needed help. I was also not afraid to admit that I needed to work on my game. My solution was to actively look around for people with experiences to learn from. I leaned into my network for ideas, feedback, and guidance. I have always been a big believer in having your own personal board of directors, in always surrounding yourself with trusted, diverse thinkers, people that have no reason to give you anything other than unfettered, honest feedback that supports you. If you’re one of the many who was recently laid off, you remain in control. I say that from personal experience. This is a setback surrounded by opportunity. Back up and really think about where you are, what you’re curious about, where your passions lie, what your requirements are, and don’t be afraid to knock on doors. Don’t be afraid to get into conversations. You now have that precious time and space you lacked before. To think. To share ideas. To explore opportunities.  Like 2000, this is a wonderful moment for many people to ask “Am I where I want to be? Is this really an area of personal passion?” And there will be lots of opportunities. There are interesting migrations and paths that people are going to find that they wouldn’t have thought of or pursued before. I view this era’s tech layoffs as much like picking up a rock in a thriving garden. We’re going to see a tremendous amount of talent moving. To new industries. To emerging roles. To classic industries taking on technology like never before. I suspect, like I did in 2000, that a lot of tech employees are going to find their way to their previous customers. We’re already seeing a lot of hiring in banking, retail, and in pharmaceuticals. It’s a hard experience to go through, personally, but look for the upside and the opportunity. Push your network to help you. They will. Most of all, don’t be afraid. I don’t know anyone I have studied or personally look up to who has it all figured out or has experienced a straight up-and-up journey. There is no better trusted place to step forward than within and among the diverse professional community you call home.

Categories:Careers in Cloud

Cloud Cost Reduction: Our Top 9 Cloud Cost Optimization Strategies

Cloud cost optimization is the process of minimizing resources without impacting performance and scalability of workloads within the cloud. Cloud cost best practices are rooted in determining methods to eliminate costs by identifying unwanted resources and scaling services accurately. There are many external factors including inflation and a changing labor market that force businesses to restructure financial priorities.Though many models of cloud computing offer flexible payment structures and pay-as-you go methods, cloud cost optimization strategies will allow businesses to tighten their grip on controlling resources. Additionally, cloud cost optimization tips will also highlight if the amount of resources being used are in alignment with the infrastructure and business goals of an organization.The following are strategies that will help run applications in the cloud at lower costs. 1. Eliminate Resources One of the most simple, yet effective cloud cost-saving strategies is to eliminate resources that are not fully benefiting a business. For example, users may allocate a service to a workload that is temporary. Once the project is complete, the service may not be eliminated instantly by an administrator, resulting in unwanted costs for the organization. A solution would be to examine the cloud infrastructure and look for servers that are no longer needed within the environment if they aren’t serving business needs. Cloud cost optimization strategies are not just about eliminating spending but also ensuring that costs are in alignment with an organization’s objectives. If a particular server or project is no longer serving a business, eliminating this resource will be beneficial as it enhances cloud infrastructure optimization.This can be accomplished through routine scanning and testing to identify resources that are idle. 2. Rightsize Services Rightsizing services is allocating cloud resources depending on the workload. By allocating resources, rightsizing allows users to analyze services and adjust them to the appropriate size depending on the needs of a business. By evaluating each service task and modifying the size until it matches a specific need, cloud computing services will maximize capacity at the lowest possible cost, resulting in cloud cost reduction. In addition, many businesses rely on vendors to deploy cloud resources when they do not understand operational goals. The solution to this problem is to develop rightsizing approaches that are customized to your business, strengthening cloud resource optimization. Customized approaches develop transparency by creating a clear view of what resources are needed for your specific cloud infrastructure. Rightsizing services will also assist with analyzing the volume of certain metrics that are being used and can inform business decision makers to either upgrade or terminate specific services. 3. Create A Budget Develop a clear budget between engineers, product managers, and other team members in regard to utilizing cloud computing services by setting a monthly budget rather than an arbitrary number. Building a culture that is rooted in transparency and cost awareness will also influence how users utilize cloud services. 4. Monitoring Cloud computing platforms may have some small incremental changes when it comes to pricing. However, users should keep an eye out for any unexpected spikes that may impact cloud spend optimization and overall spending. A solution here would be implementing an alert when cloud computing costs are going over the budget. Detecting the root of these large increases and analyzing the cause can also ensure that overspending on this particular factor will not occur again, allowing for stronger cloud cost control. 5. Select Accurate Storage Options Organizations need to consider many factors when selecting an appropriate storage option.  Performance, security needs, and cost requirements are all components that should be taken into consideration when selecting an appropriate storage model. Selecting a storage tier that is user-friendly and is also aligned with a budget is critical to cloud cost efficiency. Storage tiers that are underused should also be removed for cloud cost reduction purposes. 6. Use Reserve Instances (RI’s) If an organization is using resources for a specific amount of time, consider purchasing a cloud cost optimization tool, such as a reserved instance. These are prepaid services that are discounted and are similar to saving plans that are ideal for steady workloads that have a clear timeline. When purchasing an RI, the organization selects the type, a region and a time frame that may vary depending on the purchase. 7. Manage Software License Costs Software licenses can often have high costs and monitoring them can be challenging in regard to cloud cost management. There are often forgotten fees that are associated with licenses and  many organizations face the risk of paying for licenses that they have stopped using. Conducting a thorough software audit will not only help you to understand what software is being used within the business, but it will also demonstrate what software is critical and what licenses are no longer needed. 8. Define Clear Metrics Highlight what metrics are most important to your organization. Metrics, such as, performance, availability, and cost can also help to create reports and dashboards that outline activity in the cloud. Major cloud providers have a process whereby metrics are tagged which allow an organization to create a detailed report that provides insight on cloud cost analysis. These reports should be used to track spending as they outline trending patterns in regard to finances. 9. Schedule Cloud Services It is common for organizations to have services that are idle and not being used during certain times of the day. Reduce spending by scheduling services during specific time slots in order for them to be fully used. A duty scheduler tag can be used, and the scheduled services will then be implemented. Leveraging a heatmap can also help to establish when services are being underused in order to determine an effective scheduling arrangement. SADA, an organization that serves as a cloud consultant and helps other businesses in their own cloud journey, recognizes how effective this strategy can be. SADA’s Director of Customer FinOps, Rich Hoyer, states that “Of these strategies, we have found that scheduling cloud services’ runtimes are often one of the largest overlooked savings opportunities we encounter. Specifically, non-production workloads, such as testing, development, etc., are commonly left running full-time, 24/7, instead of being scheduled to run only when used. The potential savings of running those workloads only during business hours are often surprisingly large, and they can usually be realized via simple automation and modest revisions to maintenance schedules. The first step is to analyze exactly what is being spent on these resources during the hours they sit idle. The number is often large enough to quickly motivate the implementation of a workload scheduling regime!”

Categories:InfrastructureGoogle Cloud StrategyIndustry SolutionsCloud OperationsGoogle Cloud PartnersFinancial Services

C2C Launches Financial Services Community at 2Gather: NYC

On February 9, 2023, C2C formally launched its Financial Services community with a 2Gather event at Google’s Chelsea Market offices in New York City. However, for participating speakers and guests, the community experience began the evening before. On the night of February 8, at Chelsea’s Le Zie Trattoria, executives from some of the largest financial services enterprises, including JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, and TD Bank, mingled over cocktails and traditional Venetian fare with technologists, startup founders, and representatives from C2C partners Publicis Sapient, NetApp, and Workspot, the latter a sponsor of the dinner. The relaxed atmosphere and emphasis on personal connections set the stage for the event experience to come the next day.“It’s so easy to show up to these events and be corporate, buttoned up,” said Paerpay CEO Derek Canton, who dined with representatives from Publicis Sapient before switching seats and trading stories about recent travels in Southeast Asia with Michael Beal, CEO of Data Capital Management (@MikeBeal), who leads C2C’s financial services group. “I’m more casual, because I want to be approachable. I’m just like, ‘this is me.’ I felt super comfortable, and it really created space for that, so I loved that.”“Publicis Sapient works with large enterprises, and PaerPay is a startup, so we don’t cross paths as often,” said Sharonyka Kumar (@sharonyka.kumar), Group VP and Global Head of Google Practice at Publicis Sapient. “Their solution has a very intriguing piece to it around data monetization, which is something that we care a lot about for our customers, and our paths would not have crossed if it were not for the community bringing us together.”C2C and WorkspotExecutive Dinner at Le ZieIn addition to meeting the PaerPay team for the first time, Sharonyka also discussed current and future collaborations with Deepinder Kaur (@Deepinder) and Larissa Filine of Deutsche Bank. “Deepinder is specifically responsible for their cloud transformation journey. It was a great connect for her and I, and she knew Publicis Sapient because of her work with her peers, so she hears our name quite a bit,” Sharonyka said. “What we decided to do at the end of it was come back to her with some of our key stakeholders in the US, whatever SVPs or financial services live here in New York.”At the event itself, the relationship-building facilitated at the dinner made for lively discussion onstage. “That vulnerability is really important,” said Derek, who was particularly animated during Paerpay’s fireside chat with Publicis Sapient and during a panel discussion with Sharonyka, Michael, OpCo Operating Advisor Mark Etherington (@Metherin), and Geoff Tudor, Director of Google Cloud Solutions at NetApp. Geoff also delivered a presentation and, at dinner the night before, discussed a potential new business opportunity with Clair Hur, Senior Program Manager at Vimeo (@write2clair). During the discussion, the panelists agreed early on that legacy financial services organizations can be unnecessarily obstinate when it comes to the prospect of cloud adoption, setting the tone for a conversation that explored ample controversial territory.The ideas introduced during the sessions, however, were only the points of departure for the conversations that followed during the closing networking reception, where attendees deepened the relationships they’d built throughout that day and the previous night. “A lot of events that are put on, they’re hyper-focused on the topic at hand, whereas you guys are able to take everyone a step back from that and think about the power of community and actually driving that at a higher level,” said Bogdan Petrescu (@bogdan.petrescu), Senior Director of Strategic Alliances at Workspot. “I like that a lot.”To be a part of these conversations and make connections with these and other colleagues, join the C2C Financial Services community!

Categories:Industry SolutionsFinancial Services

2Gather Sunnyvale: Strategies Surrounding Data Optimization in Cloud Technology

An engaged audience eagerly listens as Sanjay Chaudhary, Vice President of Product Management at Exabeam explains how hackers are able to use MFA bombing to hack employee emails in order to gain confidential company information. This is one of many topics surrounding data optimization discussed at the 2Gather event in Sunnyvale, California on February 3rd. “Not coming from a technical background, I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first event. However, the panel’s rich and engaging narrative made data security into an amazing story to listen to!” said June Lee, Senior Program Manager at Workspot. The first C2C event of the year embodied the essence of forming meaningful connections. At the beginning of the event, all attendees were asked to introduce themselves to two other individuals they have not spoken to. This created a strong sense of openness and going beyond comfort zones to spark personable interactions. Through peer to peer conversation, guests connected on driving advocacy and feedback surrounding how to use Google Cloud in regards to data analytics. The event was composed of a diverse panel of Google partners including NetApp, Exabeam, Lytics as well as Cisco systems. “Everything starts with a customer,” stated Bruno Aziza (@BrunoAziza), the Head of Data and Analytics at Google. This approach is the driving force behind Google building close relationships with their customers, understanding their journeys and what challenges can arise, one of these being receiving value from data that has been collected. “A large amount of organizations are struggling to turn data into value and money is being spent on data systems, yet companies are not always benefiting from it” says Bruno. Organizations now have access to large sets of data, however, critical pieces of data are not typically within their internal environment. A step in the right direction is to create data products that assist with tackling this issue. One of the major keynote speakers, Vishnudas Cheruvally, Cloud Solution Architect at Netapp provided insight on solutions that the organization is working on. “One of the main goals of Netapp is to build an environment that is rooted in trust and to create an infrastructure where users do not have to worry about basic tasks associated with optimizing data,” says Vishnudas. Through billing API’s and resizing data volume with Google Cloud services, customers have accessible tools that allow them to make informed decisions. This includes creating a customized dashboard to observe what is happening within their environment. Along with data optimization, emerging global trends and the impact it has on data sovereignty was also a recurring topic that captivated the audience. “Data sovereignty and upcoming global trends within data security were key topics discussed at the event and are also motivating factors of solutions developed by Netapp,” stated Vishnudas. “Everything starts with a customer.”  “An emerging trend is using excessive resources through multiple clouds and essentially creating a wasteland,” says Jascha Kaykas-Wolff (@kaykas), President of Lytics. This conversation sparked the topic of global trends, data sovereignty and cloud strategy. With high amounts of data being stored by organizations, questions begin to arise in regards to ownership. “Data has to live in a specific area and there has to be control or sovereignty over it,” says Jascha. The panel engaged in a conversation that covered dealing with shifting global trends and how it impacts customers. Sanjay Chaudary brings in a product management perspective, which is rooted in solving customer problems. “With more regulations being created, data cataloging is essential in order for customers to understand what is critical in terms of their data and security threats. The core principle of data is the same, the most important thing is being able to detect a problem with the data and how fast it can be addressed.” says Sanjay. From ownership to data security, the discussion highlighted a variety of fresh perspectives. What stood out amongst guests is the diversity of the panel that brought in differentiating views. “The event had extremely thought-provoking insights stemming from the issues of modern day data analytics and how it impacts a customer base as well as a panel that discussed their personal experiences with data,” said Dylan Steeg (@Dylan_Steeg), VP of business development at Aible. Both speakers and guests then attended a networking session following the event. Over refreshments and drinks, guests were able to mingle with one another to further expand the conversation. Most importantly, they were able to create meaningful connections. Connections that may lead to future collaborative efforts as well as identifying solutions that can take data optimization to new heights.You and your organization can also build these connections. To start, join C2C as a member today. We’ll see you at our next 2Gather event! Extra Credit:  

Categories:Data AnalyticsCloud OperationsStorage and Data TransferDatabasesGoogle Cloud Partners

A Beginner's Guide to Cloud Computing Technology

When organizations talk about the “cloud”, they aren’t referring to that white ball of fluff in the sky on a nice day. The term “cloud” refers to a network of servers made up of information, software, and applications. Cloud computing is defined as the delivery of all of these components over a network or internet connection. There are distinct cloud computing technology services and cloud deployment models, as well as many cloud computing benefits for businesses.  Cloud Computing Services  Internet as a Service (IaaS)IaaS, also known as “infrastructure as a service,” is where third-party cloud computing providers offer computing infrastructure, such as networks and storage hosted in a virtual environment, so that any user can have access to it. It is primarily owned by the service provider and is usually accessed on a pay-as-you-go basis, making it cost-efficient for organizations. Additionally, IaaS is an impactful approach for projects or work that is temporary and subject to drastic changes. An example would be a company testing a new product and wanting to stay within a flexible budget. Platform as a Service (PaaS)Platform as a service is defined as complete deployment of the cloud. This service relies on the cloud provider for tools and infrastructure, providing developers with an environment that is already highly supported when creating apps. This allows developers to better use their time as it reduces the amount of code that developers must write themselves. Overall, the cloud provider supplies the infrastructure, including the network, storage, and middleware, and the developers simply select the environments they want to build or test in. Software as a Service (SaaS)Software as a service is where users access application software through a web browser or desktop system. It is a licensed model, as the software is provided through a subscription basis and the cloud computing infrastructure is delivered to end users through an internet browser. Major advantages of this service include its affordability, due to the subscription process, and convenient maintenance, as the provider supports the environment.  Cloud Computing Deployment Models Cloud computing deployment models define how a cloud platform is set up as well as which users have access to it. There are four main types. Public CloudThe public cloud model is the environment in which resources are owned by a cloud computing provider and can be accessed by multiple organizations. Users may differentiate in terms of data and applications that are being used. However, they are all accessing the infrastructure from the same provider. Public cloud offers users scalability, as the provider is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and any updates associated with it. This allows companies to cut cloud computing costs, as they do not have to invest in an entire IT team to operate the cloud computing infrastructure. Private Cloud The private cloud is a deployment model whereby the infrastructure is dedicated to a specific user, making it a single tenant environment. Cloud computing is hosted privately within the organization’s individual data center and cannot be accessed by other users. This model provides an extra layer of cloud security by restricting access, and is created by virtualization technology. Cloud storage resources are combined from physical hardware into pools that can then be shared. A layer of hardware is then added that keeps it separate from any other user’s infrastructure, enhancing cloud computing security. Hybrid CloudA hybrid cloud model uses a combination of one private cloud and one public cloud by managing workloads through both environments. It is operated through hybrid cloud management tools, which assist in both environments, operating in sync depending on the needs of an organization. This is accomplished through a function called cloud bursting, where workloads that are normally hosted on site or within the private cloud are expanded by the public cloud to meet the dynamic needs of the user. Multicloud Multicloud environments allow an organization to use at least two providers for cloud computing. They can involve various combinations, such as two or more public and private clouds. Companies can then utilize multiple cloud computing providers based on business needs or their strategy with regard to cloud computing. A multicloud solution is rooted in being accessible across the cloud computing infrastructure. It combines multiple providers, including SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS to form the architecture. This cloud model provides high flexibility as users are not tied to one vendor and can select cloud-based services from various providers based on their goals. Advantages of Cloud Computing Solutions Flexibility Organizations can choose what type of cloud deployment model or approach works best for fluctuating needs and workloads, providing a strong sense of flexibility. Whether an organization requires extra bandwidth or cloud storage, they are able to scale their needs and work within their budget in regards to cloud computing. CostCompanies on the cloud do not have to invest in their own hardware or equipment, reducing their cloud computing costs and overall spending. The maintenance and upkeep are the responsibility of the provider, which saves an organization resources. In addition, businesses can use the  pay-as-you-go model, allowing users to work with cloud computing within a budget. Data Security Cloud computing security features provide an extra layer of protection to stop breaches before they happen. There is often baseline protection for data, including authentication and encryption to secure information that is confidential within the cloud. This creates an environment where companies can work with confidential data and workloads. Scalability Scalability in cloud computing allows the user to increase or decrease their resources in order to adapt to shifting priorities. Certain needs, such as cloud data storage capacity, can be scaled through cloud computing infrastructure, which is beneficial when organizations experience sudden changes. Deployment SpeedCompanies are able to experience the benefits of cloud computing with just a few clicks. Fast cloud deployment reduces the time individuals and teams have to use to access resources, while simultaneously decreasing the amount of work that is required, such as maintaining or updating a database. Collaboration Cloud computing allows employees within a business to deliver and share corporate content at any time with any device, promoting a collaborative environment. For example, cloud computing tools support changes within data or documents. Users will automatically receive changes in real time, ensuring that employees have access to the most recently updated version. Cloud Computing In the Real World Workspot, an organization providing a SaaS platform that delivers Windows 10 Cloud PCs to devices, applies cloud computing technology to many of their daily operations. One cloud computing use case that delivers fast time-to-value and high ROI for the organization is end-user computing (EUC). Most enterprises are rethinking their end-user computing strategies and looking to the cloud to modernize. Key drivers for EUC modernization initiatives include:Hybrid and remote work is now mainstream. IT teams must be able to flexibly provide the right resources to end users, and then adapt quickly when requirements change.  Persistent supply chain issues continue to limit access to new hardware, so reusing existing hardware and switching to low cost endpoints is important. Budget constraints in a tough economic environment require creative solutions and innovation. SaaS solutions are strong contenders for lowering IT costs. An ever-changing threat landscape is challenging IT and risk management teams to examine zero-trust security policy from every angle. What Does EUC Modernization Look Like In the Real World? Workspot CEO Amitabh Sinha says, “Leveraging Cloud PCs can provide organizations with the scalability and cost efficiencies they need to mitigate the major pain points their users face. Replacing a physical PC with a Cloud PC provides secure access from any device or browser while maintaining high performance, total security, and the best user experience. Cloud PCs also future-proof end-user computing, so organizations are ready for the next technology wave––and the next business upheaval. This is why we are seeing end-user computing modernization initiatives across industries.” Extra Credit: ​​​​​​ 

Categories:Hybrid and MulticloudCloud OperationsGoogle Cloud Partners

C2C Monthly Recap: January 2023

Each month, C2C shares the latest news from the team and the best highlights from all of you here in the community. Read on for the most essential C2C updates from January 2023. We stayed inside this month as the C2C team emerged from a short, wintery hibernation. But as many of us have learned over the past few years, “inside” doesn't mean “inactive.” Our virtual connections are here to stay—January was full of them, and we have some of our partners to thank for that! Partners Coming TogetherFour of our partners—all fast-growing startups with a goal of enabling companies with data-driven software options—took turns sharing their success stories using Google Cloud’s BigQuery. Here’s what they shared:Tinyclues discussed reliance on implicit versus explicit signals as a measure for predicting consumer behavior, using AirFrance’s first-party data as an example. Aible’s case study with Overstock.com demonstrated how AI-first approaches accelerate time-to-value. Connected-Stories and its latest platform launch, NEXT, rely on BigQuery to deliver personalized ads and creative intelligence. Snorkel AI focused on high-quality training of datasets and ML models for document intelligence, conversational analytics, and more.The full recording from their session is available to watch now. Cloud VolumesThat's the name of NetApp's proprietary solution for data storage on Google Cloud. Brian Wink, Director of Google Cloud Architects at NetApp, gave us some background on this tool ahead of the Google Cloud partner joining C2C at 2Gather events in Sunnyvale, New York City, Zurich, and Paris.In this interview with C2C’s @Content Stephen, Wink explains how Cloud Volumes brings NetApp's network-attached storage to the cloud using container technology. Wink also discussed access management and encryption considerations for the solution's security model, a necessary part of the foundation for building storage solutions in cloud environments.You can find the full interview here and read on in this recap to find some of the C2C events he’ll be joining. Are you looking for more, including recordings from virtual events? Browse All Articles  Alongside many more virtual chats and learning sessions, we're looking forward to meeting up again in person in February. Here’s where we’re going: Sunnyvale, CaliforniaThursday, February 2Discover how to use your data and storage options to optimize operations at scale at this 2Gather event. Take advantage of the experience of our speakers to learn best practices around platform development, scaling data processing pipelines, and more.Sign up for this event. MunichTuesday, February 7These days, whether you've decided to move to the cloud and are wondering "what's next?" or you're still debating your future, cloud adoption is likely on your mind. At 2Gather: Munich, we'll be hearing from Volkswagen, Soravia, and one of our newest C2C partners, Workspot, who will provide valuable input into your cloud adoption journey decisions.Sign up for this event. New York CityThursday, February 9At this event, we’ll explore industry solutions with speakers from top financial services organizations. Come to hear how they use Google Cloud to monetize data in new and innovative ways, develop a plan to create value from customer data, and much more.Sign up for this event. ZurichThursday, February 9This event features a mix of Google Cloud strategies from across industries. Parashift, a Swiss software company, uses cutting-edge technologies to extract valuable metadata from documents and vastly reduce processing time and effort. NetApp will be joined by Dentsply Sinora, a dental supply manufacturing companywhich uses Cloud Volumes as part of their hybrid deployment to streamline their data management on Google Cloud.Sign up for this event. Plus, you can find regional events hosted in a local language by browsing our full event calendar. Sign Up for an Event   ConversationsWhether C2C members are sharing their opinions, trying to troubleshoot—or help others troubleshoot—Google Cloud tech, or having casual career conversations, we love to see excellent threads like these. Our online communities are a great way to find new connections with fellow Google Cloud users. Want to start connecting with the community? Start a Conversation   Of course, the beauty of everything we do is having one central place for all Google Cloud users to come together to solve problems, connect and re-connect, and get access to everything from C2C. We strive to continually improve the experience of our online community, so here's the latest on what we've delivered. New Group: Financial ServicesThe C2C Financial Services group is a space for C2C members working in the financial services industry to explore challenges and brainstorm solutions, whether they’re looking to migrate legacy systems to the cloud, innovate in the world of decentralized finance, or generate the ideas that will lead to the next major development in this rapidly evolving field. Members who belong to this group are invited and encouraged to participate in specialized networking opportunities, including face-to-face events and virtual conversations. These opportunities are designed to unite participants with contacts across our extensive ecosystem of Googlers, partners, and customers. To get involved and meet your other industry colleagues, join the Financial Services group today. Want to make sure you’re in the loop and don’t want to wait for these posts each month? Stay up-to-date on everything C2C by updating your profile and notification preferences so we can deliver you the most relevant news in real time.

Categories:C2C News

Efficiency Up Front: An Interview with Brian Wink of NetApp

C2C partner NetApp will be appearing at upcoming 2gather events in Sunnyvale, New York City, and Zurich in February of 2023, and also in Paris in March. Each event will feature a presentation focusing on a specific use case for Cloud Volumes, NetApp’s proprietary solution for data storage on Google Cloud. The events will offer unique opportunities to learn about the product and discuss its capabilities with peers onsite, but for those whose interest is already piqued who want to learn more about it, we sat down with Brian Wink, NetApp’s Director of Google Cloud Architects, to talk the basics of Cloud Volumes and what it can do for your business’s data. First, give us a little background on you, your role at NetApp, and what you do there. My name is Brian Wink. I’m currently the Director of our Google Cloud solution architects, which means anyone in the field that’s talking tech, designing systems, doing any of that type of work, those guys roll to me. I’ve been in data storage since 1997. I was employee number 302 with NetApp. I worked here for 13 years. I left for a decade, and I was doing another cloud-backed storage company, so always storage, but that was an entree into cloud and distribution, and then when NetApp really wanted to build our cloud business, a friend of mine said, “Hey you should look at this, consider coming back,” and I did, and I’m having a great time, a lot of fun. At our upcoming events in Sunnyvale, New York, and Zurich, representatives from NetApp will discuss specific use cases for NetApp’s Cloud Volumes. What is Cloud Volumes, and how does it work on Google Cloud? Cloud Volumes is simply a container that’s running in the cloud, and its job is to hold bits. NetApp is very famous for NAS, which stands for network-attached storage, and in that there’s two real ways to do storage. There’s what’s called file, and what’s called block. In order to store a file, you speak a protocol. Your workstation is saying to a network-attached device, “Here’s a file, it contains some bits, please store it for me.” When I want it back, I’m going to ask for that file by name. I now get to decide what’s the best way for me and my software, my hardware, and my environment to actually store it so that I can make sure it’s going to be there when you ask for it, you’re going to get it in the amount of time you want, and if god forbid some disaster happens, I can either mathematically recalculate it, or go fetch it from a secondary or third copy somewhere else.NetApp’s been doing that for thirty years on prem. Now we’re taking that thirty-year legacy and saying, “How do I present that to you in the cloud?” We have two ways of doing that. We can say, “Listen, I’ll give you the keys to the kingdom, you can run it as a software, you can turn all the knobs and dials.” This is what’s called our Cloud Volumes on tap, CVO (we love acronyms). You get to run our software in all of its glory. The other one is called Cloud Volume service, CVS. This is where NetApp and our SRE team is running it. We’re operationalizing it for you, we’re making sure it has the right security, we’re making sure all the settings are correct, and we’re offering it to you as a service, so it’s a quick and go. You say, “Hey, I want a volume, I want a container to store some files,” and in about three clicks, you get it. A lot of companies who are running cloud volumes are using it in conjunction with Google Cloud VMWare. How does VMware fit into that picture? Here’s the thing: Storage isn’t always the sexiest thing in the world, but if you think about it, everything we do is either producing or consuming data, and so you have to have good quick access to data. VMware is just an application. It’s going to produce or consume data. There are two key ways that VMs do that. One is called guest mode. You have your VMware, which looks like a machine to the operating system running on top of it, Linux or Windows, and then whatever you’re doing with that operating system, you’re mounting a volume. It looks just like any other volume that you would have if this wasn’t VMware. There’s nothing overly special that we have to do for that from a protocol or communications standpoint. It’s still very important to make sure that that data is quick and accessible and in the right region and durable and reconstructable, but we’re presenting it as a guest.The other way is to say, “How do we present it as a data store?” This is where we’re saying that VMware is using the operating system where it’s getting its actual brain from. It’s living on us. That’s called data store mode. We do both. VMware is a really critical use case for us. I think the big advantage there is we do have a tremendous amount of customers in a traditional sense that are running VMware on top of NetApp and on prem, and when those guys want to migrate to the cloud, because we’re also in the cloud, it is the true definition of a lift and shift. I’m going to take it from here and I’m going to run it from there, end of learning curve. Security is also not the sexiest topic in the world, but it’s still a topic everybody has to think about. What sets Cloud Volumes’ security capabilities apart from everyone else’s? There are multiple layers of security. First of all, there’s “How do I allow people into what they should see and keep them out from what they shouldn’t see.” That’s access control. We’re going to plug into all the major access control providers. AD is a big deal in Google these days. We’re going to make sure that all the permissions and properties––can you see it, can you view it, can you edit it, can you execute it––all that stuff is there. What’s important is, how are we actually storing that? Maybe I’m protecting everybody from coming in the front door, but what if I’ve got a back door or side door that people would just run through? This is where we do a couple of things. How are we storing the data? We’re not storing it in terms of files, we’re breaking it up and chunking it up and compressing it and deduplicating it and obfuscating it effectively in our format, but then when we actually lay it down to some kind of media that Google is hosting, we’re encrypting that as well.Everything’s encrypted both at rest and in flight, and this is part of the security model. We maintain that security posture from the moment we see the bits. We’ve been certified by every possible organization known to man. We’ve got plenty of federal customers that I’m sure somebody would come and kill me if I told you about. We’ve passed all those audits, and we’re applying that all the way to cloud. One thing we implemented for a large financial within the last year was what’s called CMAK: customer-managed encryption keys. They can have a separate repository just for the keys, so we don’t even see the key, and we’re querying that repository to get it. We support things like that as well. You just gave me a great one, but outside of security, what are some other ways that Cloud Volumes could be used for a FinServ organization? A lot of the FinServs are really big, and so you get a couple different things. They’re going to run some of their key apps on it, they’re going to do data mining and things like that, because we can now. We can expose it to their AI and ML engine of choice, whatever that might be. The other thing that we’ve seen them do a lot, and the example I use––I’m trying not to accidentally tell you the customer name––what they wanted to do is create their own internal marketplace, so their IT organization evaluated the product, and then they put it on their marketplace. Now anybody inside their organization who needs storage, they go to the portal and say, “I need storage. I need this much. It needs to be this fast.” Boom. It gets lit up, and they don’t have to go through that evaluation every single time, because they’ve already done it.Some of the other things that they value are our high availability options and the various things we offer there, again pulling on that thirty-year legacy. I bring that up often because it is very important. So many cloud companies just started last year, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve worked for startups before in the past, and I like that, but when you’re dealing with storage, there’s something to be said to say, “Listen, I know what I’m doing. We haven’t always been perfect, but we’ve had thirty years to figure out how to get to perfect, and we’re leveraging that every single day with our customers.” We’re a community of cloud users. NetApp is coming from this legacy history, but recently moved into the cloud space. What’s the value for you of getting in front of a room full of people who are all coming from cloud, not just to talk about Cloud Volumes, but to have an actual peer-to-peer conversation? It kind of goes back to what I said at the beginning: storage isn’t the most sexy thing. A lot of times it’s not thought of first, or even until the very end. Somebody goes out and designs a wonderful application that solves world peace, but if they haven’t considered how to properly use the storage, they could be compromised on any one of many things. It could be security like we’ve already talked about, it could be pricing, it could be performance, it could be efficiency. It’s like saying, “Hey I want to build the house, and then at the very end I want to pour the foundation.” No. You have to lay the foundation first, and know that the ground is compacted and you’ve got your sewer connections and all the various things that you need, and now you can build a really great house on top of it.How do I approach the problem? How do we allow you to identify what your data is, how you’re going to use it, to use it efficiently. I’ve had customers come to me and they’ve made decisions up front that don’t let us do certain things with the data, like maybe they want to encrypt their data in their application layer. They can do that, but maybe they’re making that decision because they want security of data at rest. If the application doesn’t encrypt it up front that allows us to do certain things with it. We can compress it, dedupe it, encrypt it, add that layer of efficiency to it, but also allow us to back it up and move it around efficiently. It’s all about that efficiency up front. Extra Credit: If you’d like to take part in a larger, in-person discussion about Cloud Volumes and its many capabilities, come to one of these upcoming 2Gather events:2Gather: Sunnyvale 2Gather: New York City 2Gather: Zurich 2Gather: Paris

Categories:Storage and Data TransferGoogle Cloud Partners

2Gather: Cloud Adoption Summit (session recordings)

The 2022 Cloud Adoption Summit at Google’s offices in London was the banner event of the year for the C2C community. The day-long conference featured over two dozen customer, partner, and Googler speakers and brought in well over a hundred guests. The networking at the event facilitated dozens of connections between organizations in attendance and sparked generative debate on topics ranging from sustainability in the cloud space to how employee upskilling impacts cloud adoption prospects. These connections were unique and irreproducible, but the content presented at the event spoke, and speaks, for itself.In December, we caught up with attendees to hear about their experiences at the event for an exclusive report from the scene. Now, full recordings of the sessions hosted at the event are available for viewing on YouTube. Check the embeds below to find the session you want to see––or see again! Welcome from C2C and Google and Opening Keynote  Industry Insights Panel and Discussion  Cybersecurity with GEMA and Palo Alto Networks  Industry Panel: Change Management with Deloitte  Infrastructure Modernization and Migrating VDI Workload to Google Cloud with Workspot  De-risking RAMP with Cloud IQ and Appsbroker  Customer Panel: What Do We Know Now That We Wish We'd Known When We Started  Extra Credit: Do you want to see more sessions like these and interact live with the speakers and other guests? Come the to the next Cloud Adoption Summit on March 23, in Toronto, Canada!

Categories:C2C NewsSession Recording

5 Cloud Trends to Track in 2023

The following article was written by C2C Global President Josh Berman (@josh.berman) as a member exclusive for TechCrunch. The original article is available here. In many ways, 2022 was a year of growth for the cloud technology space. Unpredictable macroeconomic developments saw many organizations thinking about and preparing for greater wins in the years to come instead of right away.In 2023, much of this preparation could come to fruition as the growth achieved in 2022 contributes to a stronger economy and rapid advancements, particularly in tech.Global IT spending is projected to climb by 5.1% to $4.6 trillion in 2023, according to Gartner, driven by a 11.3% increase in investments in cloud applications to $879.62 billion. What does this kind of increased spending and investment mean for organizations? C2C Global, a Google Cloud customer community, has identified five cloud trends to watch in 2023. “Moving forward, custom solutions, rather than one-size-fits-all offerings from individual providers, will increasingly become the norm.” AI and ML tech adoption will rise Every organization wants to harness the many and varied capabilities of AI and ML technology. Some want to use their data to enhance analytics and build predictive models, and others want to automate repeatable processes.Currently, many AI and ML models require extensive testing and training before they can be implemented at scale across large organizations hosting petabytes of data or serving wide customer bases. In fact, C2C’s research has found that only 47% of respondents are currently using AI and ML. However, these technologies ranked high among the ones that respondents hope to adopt in the future.The promise of these technologies is too significant to ignore. As models are refined, and training and testing become more reliable and automatic, organizations will come to rely on these technologies more. We’ll see more low-code/no-code app development platforms Partly due to the rush to adopt AI and ML technologies that still require a lot of maintenance to perform reliably at scale, development teams are likely to implement low-code and no-code applications to reap the benefits of these technologies without the burden.For skilled developers, low-code and no-code options promise a lower barrier to entry for introducing and managing complex models. Significant savings in terms of time and cost, as always, will also be a massive draw. More organizations will host resources in multicloud environments Every cloud strategy requires delicate analysis to determine the proper balance of cost, efficiency, performance, scalability and security. For a lot of organizations, sticking with a major cloud provider promises attractive savings that make a lot of practical sense.However, as cloud technology grows, individual products will be just as attractive to companies prioritizing scaling and transformation. Moving forward, even for companies using one cloud provider, adopting and implementing new resources from other providers may add value, and custom solutions, rather than one-size-fits-all offerings from individual providers, will increasingly become the norm. Remote work tools will continue to improve While remote work emerged during the pandemic as an emergency measure, the tools developed to accommodate it are now available as part of the expanded landscape of hybrid work technology. As AR and VR technology become more viable, organizations will continue to introduce and adopt new means of building a work environment that suits the needs of a diverse and changing workforce. Cloud adoption will increase in formerly resistant sectors Until recently, organizations in the government and financial services used to resist transformation due to the risk and burden of retiring entrenched legacy systems and migrating massive amounts of data. Lately, though, the advantages of cloud adoption have been harder to ignore, and more organizations in these industries are adapting accordingly.For example, the U.S. Army recently said it would start using Google Workspace for its personnel operations. This expansion into previously less served areas of the cloud market speaks volumes for cloud adoption.

Categories:AI and Machine LearningApplication DevelopmentHybrid and Multicloud

C2C 2022 Year-End Recap: Startups

C2C experienced spectacular growth in 2022, and a great deal of that growth occurred in our community for startups and startup founders. Community members forged new relationships, explored new solutions, and even founded more new startups. C2C is looking forward to answering more of your questions and solving more of your problems in the coming year. For now, though, let’s look back at some of the moments and the people that stood out for our Startups community in 2022. 2022 Highlights: Featured Events At The Effective Founder’s Project: Strategies to Overcome Startups’ Biggest Risks, Effective Founders Project creator Martin Gonzalez and Google Cloud Startup Success Manager Hannah Parker (@hannahparker) joined forces to educate founders across our startups ecosystem about the people problems that challenge growing startups and the management solutions that will help them thrive:  For the second iteration of our session The ML Mindset for Managers, KC Ayyagari (@kcayyagari), Senior Customer Engineer at Google Cloud, returned to C2C to run the Startups community through the essentials of machine learning and demonstrated some solutions startup founders can use to implement and manage ML strategically as they scale:  C2C’s fireside chat with Lance Legel, founder of 3co, took attendees through 3co’s entire startup journey, from its founding to its recognition as the provider of a leading AI 3D scanning solution, making time along the way to explore topics as diverse as the biochemistry of flowers and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche:  Finally, our conversation with Simon Taylor of 11:FS was a valuable education for startups and for customers across the cloud ecosystem in emerging trends and solutions in FinTech, including various DeFi models and Simon’s expertise, Banking-as-a-Service:  2022 Highlights: Community Members The Startups community is full of innovative thinkers from across C2C’s many industries and global regions––too many to recognize at once! However, a community is nothing without the people who belong to it. The following three C2C members made integral contributions to the growth of the Startups community by attending events, posting on the platform, and responding to others’ posts with thoughtful feedback and support. Simon Beeker (@ScottBeeker), OnlySpittersRajeev Bagra (@DigitalSplendid), Digital SplendidSimon Bain (@sibain), OmniIndex If you’d like to learn more about the work Scott, Rajeev, and Simon are doing or hear from them about their experiences in the Startups community, send them a message on the C2C platform––or better yet, come to an upcoming Startups community event and meet them live! What to Expect in 2023 C2C’s startups community flourished massively in 2022, but the growth is still just beginning. In 2023, get ready for more of all of the above, plus some exciting new developments. In-person events, which launched at the end of 2022, will become a standard offering for the startups community in 2023. We’ll also be doing more to highlight our community members on the C2C platform on a regular basis, and creating more of the same unique opportunities to collaborate with like-minded people and learn new skills. Are you a startup founder looking for more opportunities to build community with other Google Cloud cusrtomers? Join C2C as a member today to get involved! 

Categories:Google Cloud Startups