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Google Cloud Next, Google Cloud’s annual conference bringing customers, partners, and Googlers together to discuss and explore the latest cloud technology developments and Google product updates, is the biggest community event in the Google Cloud ecosystem. In 2023, for the first time, the C2C team appeared onsite to bring sponsoring partners and existing and prospective customers into the Google Cloud Customer Community in real time.For two and a half days, from August 29 to 31, C2C manned a booth right next to the conference’s main presentation space, greeting Google Cloud community members from all over the world. C2C’s Director of Communities, Alfons Muñoz (@Alfons), traveled to San Francisco from his home in Guadalajara, Mexico to host a live keynote watch party with Google teammates Kyle Murley (@kylemurley) and Chris Willis (@willisc7), and to spread the word about C2C’s online and face-to-face community programming.Alfons and Maureen BarahonaWhen Alfons arrived, he was most struck by the size of the event and the organization that went into it. “Next is a summit,” Alfons explains. “It’s where you meet everyone. Every partner. Every customer.” Besides the C2C booth, where Alfons spent most of his time, he saw booths hosted by Google partners large and small, including Accenture and Deloitte, a designated space for the Google Cloud Champions, home to the Google Developer Experts, and another space for the Google Cloud startups community, where he was able to meet longtime colleagues Louis Huynh (@louisphuynh) and Madison Jenkins (@MadisonJenkins).One of the most exciting parts of the experience for Alfons was meeting other guests who had traveled internationally to attend the conference. “We had conversations with companies from Germany, and also the Nordic countries,” he says. “I had a lot of visitors from Latin America, a lot of people from Chile, a lot of people from Brazil.”One of Alfons’ biggest initiatives as Director of Communities has been to launch the C2C Community in the LATAM region, where C2C has already hosted several in-person events in Portuguese. Alfons was happy to be able to talk about the LATAM community with attendees based in the region, including some state government officials from El Salvador, Honduras, and his home country of Mexico. “They were just getting into the cloud space, trying to do these public projects on the cloud, and they were sharing with me because we are in the same country.”In addition to making new connections, Alfons was able to connect face-to-face with colleagues with whom he has been in communication on the C2C platform for years. C2C’s community partners were all tabling onsite, and Alfons made a point of introducing himself to all of them, snapping photos to post on LinkedIn with representatives from Aiven, Splunk, DoiT, Deloitte, and Rackspace, as well as customer Optimizely and Google Developer Expert Maureen Barahona (@evilmona).Alfons and Hugo HuangAlfons also met Canonical/Ubuntu Product Manager Hugo Huang (@Hugo), an attendee at many of C2C’s online and face-to-face events, in person for the first time. After connecting with the team, Hugo agreed to join C2C’s 2Gather event in Boston as a speaker.After each full day of conference programming, partners hosted afterparties for attendees, but according to Alfons, they filled up so fast that hundreds of guests were stuck waiting to get in. Alfons was not surprised. While the focus of the content presented at the conference was technical, the main goal for most of the attendees was networking. Plenty of guests approached Alfons looking to connect with more customers and peers, and luckily he knew exactly what to tell them. “One person approached me on how to get more clients. ‘How can we use the community to get more clients?’” he remembers. “I said, well, use the community. Jump into the community. Talk with people. Interact with people.” Extra Credit:
From August 29-31, Google Cloud hosted 1,500 people in San Francisco for Google Cloud Next ‘23. The event touched on several changes coming to Google Cloud that are sure to help businesses and organizations across the world, as well as noteworthy changes to AI platforms like Duet AI. The event was also home to the Google Cloud Partner Awards, presented to standout Google Cloud partners who have achieved significant success in a given field or technology. The partners listed below are this year’s winners in each award category.Global Partners of the Year With an already impressive history as an established leader in cloud consultancy and technical services, SADA has won the Global Partners of the Year award for the sixth year in a row. The company was awarded for its significant accomplishments in the Google Cloud ecosystem, including adding more than 566 new customers to its portfolio in 2022 alone. Another award in this category went to Deloitte in recognition of its positive impact on the private sector. From tax services and business consultation to mergers and acquisitions, Deloitte has carved out a space where its cloud-based services can be a powerful tool for its global customers. The momentum is noticeable, with the company reporting a record-breaking 14.9% growth in 2023 and a global workforce that just recently reached 457,000. Service Partners of the Year Deloitte - North America also picked up the award for Service Partner of the Year, presented to partners who continue to provide unparalleled Google Cloud services and solutions to customers. Deloitte continues to demonstrate a vast knowledge of Google Cloud and understands the right combination of cloud services to tailor to a client’s needs. Sales Partners of the Year (Regional Winners) Searce (Asia Pacific) and Devoteam (Europe, Middle East, Africa) both took home awards for Sales Partners of the Year in the regional category, which is awarded to partners who have seen remarkable success in building strong customer relationships, identifying customer needs, and selling Google Cloud products.A 15-year partner with Google Cloud, Searce Inc. has dedicated itself to ensuring that businesses across various industries are modernized and ready for the future of tech. Along with cloud modernization, Searce Inc. leverages AI, software engineering, and data intelligence to help businesses keep up in the ever-evolving modern world of technology, ensuring no one is left behind. Devoteam was named Sales Partner of the Year for the fourth year in a row, further proving the company’s commitment to understanding current technologies and the needs of its customers. Devoteam is working to change the technology we use for the better, with service offerings ranging from digital and cloud products for businesses to cybersecurity and even digital sustainability. Sales Partners of the Year (Sub-Regional Winners) A multi-award-winning startup with exceptional cloud-based experience, DoiT added another award to its roster for sub-regional Sales Partner of the Year. DoiT offers the support of over 150 senior cloud architects who live and breathe cloud service technology. This dedication to learning and understanding the cloud has allowed DoiT to position itself as a top-performing sales partner. Technology Partners of the Year The Technology Partners of the Year award is presented to partners who are able to think creatively about customer needs, allowing them to deliver innovative solutions to problems and ensuring customer satisfaction. Winners in this category included Gitlab, Quantum Metric, NetApp, Palo Alto Networks, and Dialpad. Gitlab won the award in the Application Development (DevOps) category for the third year in a row. Their work in tech development, security, and operations has paved the way for new customer solutions and applications, while continuously driving AI-powered features that place the utmost importance on privacy and security. Quantum Metric received the award in the Technology (Collaboration) category for its willingness to go above and beyond for customers. Quantum Metric strives to thoroughly understand its customers, and in doing so has created a process called Continuous Product Design that allows a high-level overview of a customer's data to show how it's being used and how it could be used more effectively to meet the needs of the customer. NetApp won two Technology Partner of the Year Awards, one for Infrastructure–Storage and the other for Infrastructure–Marketplace. NetApp is a pioneer in cloud storage solutions which allows customers to fully realize their data management strategies in a streamlined process. The solutions that NetApp offers allow for seamless integration and scalability, giving customers a new level of flexibility in day-to-day business operations. Palo Alto Networks also brought home several awards, winning in the categories of Marketplace Security ISV Partner, Security Infrastructure, and Security Configuration, Vulnerability Management & GRC. With an emphasis on helping organizations grow digitally through cybersecurity, Palo Alto Networks continually explores new ways to disrupt the cybersecurity industry with cutting-edge research and innovation. Dialpad took the award for the remaining category, Productivity and Collaboration. Known primarily as a digital communication tool for businesses, the company’s work with AI technology has not only allowed for easier software integrations across all platforms but has also helped customers find new and fast solutions to their needs. By placing an emphasis on optimizing conversational AI, Dialpad has solidified itself as a leader in upcoming AI technologies. Industry Solution Services Partners of the Year Industry Solution Service partners are those who have found new ways to create service solutions that have had a significant impact on one industry across regions. Deloitte received its award in the Generative AI category, having consistently demonstrated an ability to adapt to the continuous evolution of generative AI. Deloitte’s vigilance in staying ahead of these industry trends has allowed the company to provide fresh and effective customer solutions that yield strong results. Publicis Sapient won for the Sustainability category, which recognized the company's dedication to working with organizations to fulfill their sustainability commitments. Google and Publicis Sapient recently partnered with Renault on Plug Inn, a new initiative that aims to add 475,000 new electric charging stations in remote regions. Specialization Partners of the Year Searce, Devoteam, and Deloitte all picked up additional awards for Specialization Partners of the Year. This award is given to partners who have earned a specific Specialization and have gone on to excel in that area, resulting in significant success for their customers. With a specialization in location-based services, Searce works with customers to deliver real-time insights on location-based data. From automated routing and tracking services to actionable Google Maps data, Searce has proven to be an expert in location data technologies, earning it the Location-Based Services award. Devoteam is an expert in AI utilization for a variety of industries and continues to study new AI trends with workshops and hackathons to find new features and implementations. Devoteam then selects the most valuable use cases to push into production. This approach earned the company the Machine Learning Specialization award, and has had a positive impact on both customers and Devoteam itself, strengthening brand representation externally and team productivity internally. Deloitte was recognized with a Specialization in Security award. Cybersecurity is constantly evolving, and its best practices are always changing. Deloitte continues to evolve with these trends to ensure that it continues being recognized as a trusted cybersecurity partner offering unmatched security solutions to customers. Breakthrough Partner of the Year Aiven was awarded the Breakthrough Partner of the Year award, recognizing the company’s dedication to providing customers with the tools they need to fully harness the power of open-source technologies. By leaning into Aiven’s knowledge of managing cloud data infrastructure, customers have seen positive results on a global scale. Interested in learning more about our partner program? Visit our partner page today.
Please introduce yourself.My name is Olga Lykova. Actually, it’s Olga Ivanou. I’m newly married and getting used to using the new last name.I currently go by three titles. I work at Workspot and I have recently been promoted to run all of the go-to-market. I’m responsible for cloud partnerships with companies like Google, AWS, Microsoft, Intel, and NetApp. I also run our business development team and partner marketing, so a lot of the initiatives with C2C are under my realm.I’m also a founder of Women in Industries, which is a 10-year-old network. The network is known for their annual panels featuring executive women leaders who share their experiences in an open forum to help professionals discover how to build their dream career, overcome obstacles, build their support bench, find mentorship and sponsorship, and navigate specialization change in pursuit of a "dream job." It is rare that we can have open discussions about what an ideal career looks like. In the last 10 years we had multiple C-level executives from Google, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Adobe, and even the NBA join our panels, sharing their diverse experience with our network.My third title is Thought Leader for Forbes Business Council, I write articles on business trends and leadership insights. What is your secret to managing a team of people?I think this is a twofold concept. First is managing the partners, and second is managing the team. Managing partners is about determining what drives them and what their key motivators are, which has helped me a lot. Working with C2C, I view you as a partner, and it’s about bringing the right customers that will share an exciting story or thought-provoking content. I think about what a partner needs and then build a go-to-market strategy surrounding that. For companies who have a great product that fills a gap for a well-known brand, the best way to generate revenue is to attach themselves to the partner. It is a very different way of marketing because you have to become an extension of a different sales team, speak their language, and ensure ongoing transparency with customers and partners. When it comes to building my team, I don’t usually state a salary range when interviewing. My favorite question to ask is, “what would make you happy?” We define ourselves in a title role as well as the monetary component, and I don’t want to limit people to a certain number. I want to figure out what makes them happy in that role. That’s been my winning formula to get the right people who also feel appreciated by the company. I also always want to recognize the work of people who go above and beyond. When people get creative and push for new ideas, I try to recognize them in front of the executives on a weekly basis. How has your journey been becoming an official member of the Forbes Business Development Council?Every time I went to events, I would bring my notepad. At my first company, Apttus, I suggested the idea of turning my notes into a blog post about post-event content. When I joined Copper and was working with their marketing team, I thought we could elevate content further by discussing the journeys of start-ups, since we were working with many of them at the time. One of the CMOs suggested that I should write for Forbes, since I was already writing about webinars and doing a lot of content output. I applied, did the interview process and now I’ve been writing for them for 4 years.It’s all about different topics, and I love how it’s open. It’s similar to what C2C advocates for about sharing insights and best practices and staying away from a sales pitch. It’s easy to start making content look like a sales pitch, so I have to take a step back and remember to talk about what customers are asking for. My favorite article was writing about top tips I’ve heard over the years from leaders. A tip that has still stuck with me is anytime you have an issue, don’t hide behind an email. Pick up the phone and talk to the other person, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Works every time! What is the best advice you have ever received? One of my biggest motivators is Corinne Sklar, Vice President of Marketing at IBM Consulting. We worked together on multiple panels, and she has really inspired me. She once said, “do you have that crazy feeling of being excited and nervous in your stomach when you are doing something?” I said, always. She goes “keep that feeling, because that’s your motivator, and that’s how you know that you’re learning”. When I feel nervous about not knowing how to do something, I realize I'm actually in the process of learning and figuring it out. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I think the industry that Workspot is in is at a pivotal point. The industry is on a peak of change, and I never worked for a company that had a product that was so ahead of the game until I worked at Workspot. I think the biggest opportunity for us is to amplify that message. The challenge I want to figure out is, while the industry is changing, I want to see how customers react to it and how we tackle industry changes. On a personal level, I’ve always wanted to create a one-stop shop where people can come and thrive. I started writing a book called “Rules to Thrive.” I was looking at the definition of thrive, and the word itself means “to grow vigorously, flourish, gain wealth or possession, and prosper”. I think that definition incorporates learning, growing and achieving success. I don’t believe it’s an end destination, because we’re always trying to grow. Once you achieve one dream, you start dreaming again. I want to unite young professionals and small businesses together to become that one-stop shop for successful career growth. The end goal after 5 years is to be that one place where people can network about a variety of subjects and topics through referrals as well as advocating for things that work. What is your favorite aspect of being a keynote speaker at our events? In that room, you have people who want to be there. It’s a gathering of people who are curious and want to do better for their company. You are in a place where the mindset is amazing, because they are not required to be there, they want to be there. My favorite part is not only do we get to talk about the lessons we have learned, but we also get to share things to avoid. We get a chance to be transparent about what’s possible and what’s not possible. I always encourage our customers to share what didn’t work and what could have been done differently. In the audience, I’d say one out of 5 people may have been considering a similar project, and as speakers we are giving them the tools to learn. I think when you share what didn’t work, they walk away with something tangible, where they can re-evaluate how to tackle something. Also, it’s just really fun! You feel like you’re a part of a community, not just an event. How does Workspot empower female employees? I think it’s about who wants to step in and help. I don’t think we differentiate who it is and who wants to do it. We know what the issues and gaps are within the company, and it’s about people who raise their hands to get stuff done. I think there’s room to grow, but for many people, it has to do with the ability to ask for it. I think many of us think, if I don’t fill two out of five requirements for a job, I’m not going to apply for it.Just recently, my mother was applying for a job and then didn't want to apply because she didn’t fit all the requirements. I told her that you can learn on the job and the company can teach you. This is the mindset that needs to change, because you don’t have to fit all the requirements for the job description, you just have to have the willingness to learn and to be able to ask questions. Workspot enables employees to do that, you just have to ask for the opportunity. What inspired you to become a founder of the Women in Industries Network? Apttus, now Conga, was the first tech company I ever worked for, and I didn’t really understand how to evolve in my role. Partnerships and go-to-market was a new concept for me, and these are newer roles in the industry all together. For me, I wanted to learn from my partners and start creating a community. We started doing events, and the first one was at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, with around 50 people in attendance. After the event was done, I felt super motivated and received the insights that I wanted. A few months later, people were asking if we were going to do this again. It then evolved into more sessions, and just last year we hosted a female panel that talked about making six figures. Another topic that was covered was how we can help people to land their dream interview and prep them on how to stand out. It started from my own natural curiosity and then turned into a few thousand members10 years later. Check out our other Women in Cloud articles here:Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana ShankarWomen 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
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!”
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:
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:
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
Before Shalini Mayor (@smayor) brought her background in automation to leadership roles in the private sector, she “almost became an astronaut.” As a subcontractor to NASA’s Langley Research Center, Shalini worked on various coding and algorithm development projects. She may have moved on from NASA before experiencing space travel, but much of her work as a director of Enterprise Automation at Salesforce is not unlike observing Earth from a distance. “With the explosive growth that you’ve seen at Salesforce, it’s very easy to get disconnected,” she told the crowd at a C2C 2Gather event in Sunnyvale, California. “Everything runs as a little startup within itself…when I was brought in, my primary role was to bring some structure to this madness.”“Since then we’ve been scaling out,” she continued, “trying to figure out ‘where do we have the most repetitive processes?’” Finance, HR, and IT operations are the major sites of repetitive processes at Salesforce, according to Shalini. What does it take to automate processes in so many different areas at a company with over 77,000 employees? In Shalini’s opinion, it takes more than just robotic process automation (RPA). “What we’re looking at really is a business process end to end,” she told Sunnyvale. “RPA is a small part of it. What about the rest of it? How do we reduce manual intervention in any process? How do we actually take that away so that it will just run?”To answer these questions, Shalini is thinking beyond the scope of the automation currently adopted at most organizations, sometimes back to the math and science she studied in graduate school as the basis for her education in AI and ML. “Anything that you look at all the way back down to the rudiment, it’s still exactly the same,” she said in an interview after the Sunnyvale event. Even though the extent of what’s possible with automation today is “mind-boggling,” the automations themselves are still based on the same linear algebra as the first AI and ML models Shalini encountered as a student. For Shalini, thinking about the foundations of automation makes it possible to look beyond RPA bots and straightforward rule-based models, incorporating approaches like decisioning and illuminating new opportunities. “What we’re looking at really is a business process end to end.” At Salesforce, these new possibilities include Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technologies like Google Cloud’s Document AI and other solutions in high demand at the company’s contact centers, which Shalini sees as high-priority contexts for automation use cases. Despite her enthusiasm for automation, however, Shalini is careful not to forget the human factor of workplace processes. She is not interested in reducing or combining job roles, as some workers fear executives may plan to do with automation in place. “If I can take some of these mundane tasks off people’s lists,” she told Sunnyvale, “that’s where the growth comes in.”This human factor is also what Shalini recognizes as the value of a customer community and open spaces for peer-to-peer discussion like C2C’s events. At Sunnyvale, she particularly appreciated “the fact that I could speak with so many people and help them learn something” and “learning that people are facing similar issues.” on November 10, 2022, Shalini’s colleague at C2C Partner Automation Anywhere, Vice President of Commercial Sales Ben Wiley, will appear alongside a diverse panel of guests to elaborate on some of what Shalini discussed in Sunnyvale, face-to-face, with a fresh group of Google Cloud customers and partners looking to automation to solve their business problems. To join them, use this link to register today. Extra Credit:
Google Workspace Chat enables teams and organizations to connect easily and collaborate in real time. Going beyond “conversations in Chat,” however, developers can extend Chat with custom apps that can automate processes, integrate existing solutions, and deliver notifications in line with the way teams are already using Google Chat.@ChasMaxson, @rowanmanson, and Kim Sherrell joined C2C to look closely at Google Chat apps and common use cases, from how to get started using them to how to build your own. Watch a recording of the session here: Extra Credit:How to Build a Google Chat App with Apps Script Google Workspace Developers YouTube Channel
Did you hear the announcement at Google Cloud Next '22 about the new C3 machine series powered by the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor and Google’s custom Intel Infrastructure Processing Unit (IPU)? In case you didn’t, we had Intel’s Nita Sharma, Harshad Sane, and Kshitij Doshi (@Kshitij_Doshi) and Equifax Fellow Vipul Mapara join us to chat more about the announcement and how you can reduce latency and improve workload efficiency on Google Cloud using Intel Instances.In this session, our guests discussed how Google Cloud and Intel are partnering to help their mutual customers optimize their most demanding workloads. The Intel Software Center of Excellence (CoE) for Google Cloud launched as a pilot in North America last year, and the results were dramatic, leading to a now global expansion of the program. Watch a full recording of the presentations and discussion here: Extra Credit:
The Google Cloud Next ‘22 Opening Keynote was the headline event across the tech universe on Tuesday, October 11, with watch parties hosted by Google itself, Google partners, and C2C taking place simultaneously in all different regions of the globe. In addition to standing up three watch parties in EMEA, C2C also participated in multiple partner-led events, including Pythian’s Next on the Road watch party in New York City, where C2C president Josh Berman (@josh.berman) appeared as a speaker alongside Pythian CTO Paul Lewis and Google Data Analytics Product Manager Sami Akbay. The three hosted a session called The Data Points: Key Take-aways from Google Cloud Next Keynote, which offered just that: a digestible breakdown of the deluge of information delivered during the keynote address.The keynote itself included announcements from every corner of the Google Cloud ecosystem: a smattering of customer success stories, numerous new product introductions, and some major new company partnerships. The news ranged from predictable (new out-of-the-box low- and no-code AI and ML models) to unexpected (a partnership with cryptocurrency trading app Coinbase). After an hour of new developments to process, guidance from leaders like Josh, Sami, and Paul came as a relief to the guests in the room.Some key points from the discussion included projections about the business value of new AI tech. Josh pointed out that C2C research indicates AI is still “look but don’t touch” for a lot of companies. Sami offered stats to support this point: 80% of Google developers have active AI projects, while 10% believe they’re getting their desired value from these projects. A deeper dive into the Coinbase partnership also ignited some debate in the room between crypto skeptics and partisans who would happily take advantage of the option to pay for cloud services in crypto. “I think Josh did great,” said Paul. “The way I moderate, they were ill-prepared with any of the content. I come out with content… It’s a little tougher to be on the stage because of that, but I think he caught everything and he answered in an amazing way.”Guests connecting between sessions atthe Pythian Next on the Road watch partyMoments of humor also helped the group take everything in. Calling out Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s recorded segment of the keynote, Paul tossed off a short bit about Sundar’s elusive persona. Is Sundar himself an AI Google developed to play the part of a CEO in public? One guest suggested he might be a hologram, like the 3D likeness of Tupac that made its stage debut at Coachella 2012. Josh joined in as well. After a quick review of a customer story from Ford, he threw out a fun fact: Jim Farley, the Ford CEO who appeared in the keynote, is late comedian Chris Farley’s cousin.Following the panel with Josh and Sami, Paul invited Amit Gupta, VP of Business Intelligence and Data Analytics at Sotheby’s, April Johnson, Global Head of Change at Thoughtworks, and Karl Havilland, CEO of Nearly Human, for a deep dive into wins and lessons learned. The conversation rehashed many of the points raised during the keynote, but from a broader perspective including April’s background in change management and Karl’s as the CEO of a younger startup. The guests offered some more candid comments during a comparison of cloud native and cloud agnostic business approaches, which Paul considered one of the moments that made the conversation real for the audience.“I think the conversation on cloud agnostic versus cloud native was an interesting conversation,” he said. “I honestly don’t think there is a conclusion. I think it is pretty situational. Will it ever be native, no, because there’s competition. All clouds are different.”April’s Thoughtworks colleague Andy Yates (@andy.yates), an early active C2C member who traveled from London to attend the event in a vintage C2C hoodie, also found the customer panel particularly valuable. “It’s about bringing different perspectives, bringing together people from different domains,” he said. “That last panel was a great example, actually, which brought three very different customers, three different views on things, who were able to––along with the audience––synthesize that into a real understanding that we can take home to our businesses and think about how we’re going to make the most of these announcements. That is much more useful to me than watching presentations at home, and then trying to connect with the online community afterwards to help make sense of it all.”Watch the full Google Cloud Next ‘22 keynote address below: Extra Credit:
On October 11, 2022, Google Cloud and C2C Global partner Pythian will be participating in the “Next on the Road” series of watch parties for the Google Cloud Next ‘22 keynote address and announcements. C2C President Josh Berman (@josh.berman) will co-host the event with Pythian CTO Paul Lewis, a regular participant in C2C events and content. The event will include a welcome lunch, a screening of the Next ‘22 keynote, a discussion of the takeaways from the keynote hosted by Josh, a session on Pythian’s 2022 wins and lessons hosted by Paul, and a closing networking reception. We caught up with Paul in advance of the event to discuss his hopes, expectations, and predictions for the event and the broader Next ‘22 program. Read our conversation below. There’s so much programming around Next: from Google, but also from the many partners hosting watch parties. What for you is really going to make this event experience unique? I think it’s the make-it-real aspect. It’s always interesting to hear the keynote and get a full appreciation for where the Google advancements are going to be, or their strategy potentially on acquisitions, or at least incorporating those acquisitions into the organization, into the framework, but the goodness comes from, well, what does all this mean for me? How do I take the announcement I just heard and apply it to my actual application infrastructure strategy? How do I look at my 2023 budget and say, “Should it be augmented based on what I heard, or does my architectural assumption differ because of what I just heard, and what’s the double-click? Not just what it means to me, but what’s the impact to my strategy going forward?” The reality is, the announcements create excitement, but the real work starts now. Looking forward to the keynote, obviously that’s going to be a big draw. What are you expecting as someone who’s been a Google partner for a long time and has a real stake in what’s going to be announced? What are you hoping to hear? What are you expecting to hear? Imagining? I think I’m looking forward to evolution on a few fronts. Front number one: security. They just completed their acquisition, and now they’re going to say, “Well, here’s my holistic security set of offerings.” In fact, we might even hear an evolution of the security pillar to, say, it’s not just either application- or data-centric security, but maybe it goes beyond that. Maybe it goes in networking, in infrastructure and PII, privacy. That would be an interesting foray. Data protection. How do I empower the Chief Information Security Officer? How do I make them my primary buyer? That would be an interesting evolution on the security side.I’d also like to see the evolution of the Google data foundation work. Let that be a primary architectural design, and then everything else they’re going to build on top of that, things like Cortex, things like specific industry solutions from core systems ERP all the way to visualization and Looker. Show me those assets I’ll be able to download from the marketplace, or secondary assets so that I can create out-of-the-box solutions that I can now augment to what makes sense for me personally. That’s number two.Number three I think is innovation. Innovation in AI, innovation in ML, innovation in cognitive, all of the new. Here’s what we spent time and energy on in 2022 that is now going to be available in 2023 for you to consume, so I don’t need you to be an expert in doc AI. I want an easy way for you to consume that and apply that to your actual business problem, and by the way, here’s 15 examples of it working effectively. Last time we spoke, we were promoting an event where you were speaking specifically about AI solutions. We just published a survey of our membership, and one of the big insights was that while AI and ML are not the technologies most users are working with right now, they’re number one in terms of the technologies they’re expecting or hoping to implement in five years, in three years, next year. How specifically do you think AI and ML is going to figure into that innovation forecast for the coming year? I think what won’t be true is more development platforms for creating ML algorithms. Because I think that is difficult to consume. What’s much more easy to consume is out-of-the-box, downloadable, industry specific algorithms that I can apply. So, how do I make it really easy to train? How do I make it really easy to infer? How do I make it really easy to implement within my application process? That’s where I think we’re going to see the value there. They’re going to say in your IEE, in your BigQuery configuration, even in your Looker dashboards, you should be able to apply out-of-the-box marketplace algorithms and make your modifications for it to suit your purpose. So a lot of low-code and no-code? Exactly. While I philosophically don’t believe no-code low-code will displace code––there’s always a reason why there’s code––I think it’ll be a much more dramatic use for things like data analytics going forward. We’re very excited that Josh is going to speak. I’m interested in why it was important for you to have Josh involved. What are you hoping that he’s going to bring to the conversation with the rest of the Pythian universe? It’s the making-it-real conversation. The value of C2C is to say, well, I want to have conversations with my peers. I want to network within the community, and Josh in effect is representing the community in that room. I want to be able to take what we just heard and say making it real means of the eight things we heard, four things are way more important than they might have suggested, and these four things are the ones that are going to contribute the most to changing the value of the CIO, changing the value of IT, shifting IT from being an order-taker to a value provider. That’s the real-time feedback we want to provide to the crowd, and then when we say, “Okay, here’s the four that we think will provide the most value,” let’s then take that conversation to the next step and say, “How does it feel for you, individual CIO?” There’s going to be a session with Josh, and then there’s also going to be a session that you’re leading, which is about your wins and lessons of the past year. It’s interesting to me that at a watch party for Next you’re making the point of taking time to look back and assess what’s really worked up to this point. Why that choice? Why last as well as Next? Because so much of what happened this year affects my strategy for next year. And the biggest, of course, is talent. I lost a decent amount of talent. I am trying to innovate, which requires new skill sets. What am I going to do to acquire or upscale or rescale the talent that I have in order to implement what we just heard? So give me a sense of what capabilities you have, or that you missed. Give me a sense of the value you produced within cloud that you didn’t think you achieved the goal on. Let me get a sense of the investment you want to do in analytics, where it might provide value to you in 2023. Because arguably 2022 was a growth year. It was not unlike in sports. It’s preparing for the championship in the following year. Nobody was winning awards in 2022, because of all those macroeconomic impacts, but now that you’ve prepared for that, where are the banners coming from in 2023? So the wins from last year were preparation for wins in the coming year. Exactly. Do you have any parting thoughts before we leave? I think it’s going to be a great event, personally. I think we’re going to have a lot of people, and the big thing we added to the end was “Birds of a feather” tables. What we really want to do is have people come together not necessarily on tech. While there might be a couple tech tables, industry I think is going to be way more interesting. Let’s get a couple retail together, a couple banking together, a couple manufacturing together. Let’s talk about what we heard and how it impacts us as an industry. And yes, if you want to know a little bit more about BigQuery, that conversation will also occur. It’s a good mix in the room. We’re going to see executives and practitioners and partners and middle ground. I think everybody’s going to be in there, which I think will make for a fun event. Extra Credit:
On August 30, 2022, C2C joined forces with our partners at DoiT to host a 2Gather event all about modernizing your organization on Google Cloud. Presented live at Google’s office in the repurposed Spruce Goose hangar in Playa Vista, California, Google Cloud Modernization with DoiT offered a deep exploration of the practices and technologies DoiT uses to help organizations modernize their resources and infrastructure on its Cloud Management Platform. DoiT’s Yuval Drori Retziver (@yuval) delivered the main program, comparing and contrasting the capabilities and advantages of Google Cloud Run and the Google Kubernetes Engine.Yuval prefers Cloud Run’s serverless, pay-per-use model, but he also made a point of mentioning numerous features and benefits of Kubernetes, including liveness, readiness, and startup probes and horizontal pod autoscaling. Even when Yuval offered to skip slides reviewing details familiar to most users, the crowd urged him to cover everything he had prepared. The various options for modernization Yuval described illustrated North America Head of Google Cloud Customer Community Dale Rossi (@Dale Rossi)’s comment that “As a Google Cloud customer, or any customer, it’s a journey.”Watch the full recording here: Extra Credit:
On August 11, 2022, C2C will host 2Gather: Chicago, the Google Cloud customer community’s first in-person event in the Chicago area. Moderated by Lilah Jones, Head of Corp Sales, Central US, Google Cloud, the event program will feature speakers Francisco Maturana, a data architect at Rockwell Automation, Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce, and Pythian CTO Paul Lewis. The panel will discuss the technical and business advantages of using AI and ML on Google Cloud. In advance of the event, we reached out to Paul Lewis, an engaged and active member of our community who joins us from our foundational platinum partner Pythian, to discuss AI and ML insights, connecting business and technical collaborators, and the value of a peer-to-peer Google Cloud community. Pythian has received significant industry recognition for its data solutions. To what extent today does a data solution necessarily require an AI or ML component? It is fair to say that most data solutions have a “why,” and that why is because I’m trying to create some sort of insight. Insight might be for the purpose of creating a new customer experience, or creating some insight for efficiency, or monetizing the value of a current set of offerings, and that insight requires a combination of three things: I need to find where the data is in my core systems from my third party, I need to create analytical value in a data platform, and I need to use AI and ML algorithms to source out that piece of insight which I’ll use to make a decision. So it has all three of those components. I’d argue that if you’re starting with the end, starting with the insight, all of that technology and process is required to deliver on it. You spoke with C2C earlier this year about cloud security and the shared roles of businesses and cloud providers. When working with systems and processes that are largely automated, what cloud security considerations arise? Cloud security requires the assumption that you are going to bring your algorithms to the data versus the data to the algorithms––a really big shift from exporting data out of a production system into your laptop, producing your algorithms in your API of choice, and then sending that algorithm back up to be both trained and tested. Now it’s about training and testing in the cloud, which has access directly to those data sets internally and externally. So that’s the big shift. Moving where you’re actually both developing your model, training your model, and creating inference or executing on that model. It is the best bet to do that in the cloud.A big problem in healthcare, as you can imagine, is sharing information across organizations. Since data sharing is required to make complex diagnostic decisions, I need to be able to package up that information from a diagnostics perspective, share it amongst a group of people, and then that prediction can come together. Multiple practitioners can participate in the model development, multiple practitioners can provide input into the model and the training, and then infer it for the purpose of new patients coming in. On August 11, at 2Gather: Chicago, you’ll be speaking alongside Francisco Maturana, a data architect at Rockwell Automation, and Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce. As a CTO, how does speaking alongside both technical and business professionals influence the kind of discussion you’re able to have? My conversations tend to be balancing the difference between why and how. On the business side, what are ultimately the business goals we’re trying to achieve? It tends to boil down to something like data monetization. Now, monetization could simply mean selling your data, it could mean creating a better insight on your customers, maybe as customer segmentation, maybe it’s wrapping a non-data related product with a data-related product. Like a checking account alongside an ability to predict spending behavior changes over time. Or it might be internal, making better MNA decisions or creating some sort of efficiency in a process, or just making general business decisions better or cleaner in a sense.So, you can take that why and say, ‘well, that why can be delivered on a variety of hows.’ A how can be as simple as a query and as complex as the entire data engineering chain. And that’s the bridge between the why and the how. Not only does the data engineer or data architect get a better appreciation for the type of business decisions I need to be able to make based on this work, but the business person gets to understand the potential difficulties of making that actually true. Do you think that most customers come to a peer-to-peer panel discussion with a why or a how in mind? Yes. Very rarely is it unanswered questions. Very rarely is it, ‘I know I have some nuggets of gold here, could you possibly look into my pot and see if there’s anything interesting?’ That might have been true five years ago, but people are much more well-read, definitely on the business and the technology side. There has to be a why, and if there has to be a why, there’s one too many potential hows. What’s our best bet to the how? Data engineers, data modelers, and data scientists are the go-to person to hire. In fact it’s so complex that I now need partnerships of talent, so I might now know that I need a junior, senior, or intermediate scientist, because I don’t have that background. I don’t have that expertise, so I’ve got to lean on partnerships in order to figure that out. Is being able to find the right why for the right how what makes a community of Google Cloud customers uniquely valuable? Exactly. It’s also sharing in our expertise. There’s this huge assumption that I just have to acquire the expertise to deliver on my particular why or how, that I just need to learn Python in twenty-one days, that I just need to get another data modeler to understand what a bill is, what a person is, what a patient is, what a checking account is, but the reality is you have to balance expertise with experience. You could hire a bunch of people or train up your existing staff, but if they’ve never done it before, that’s where you need partnerships. That’s why you need a community. That’s why you need to be able to talk to your peers. That’s why you need to have these kinds of conversations, to balance what I think I can do with what’s actually possible, or what’s been done before. Are there any particular conversations you’re hoping to have at the event in Chicago? Yeah, absolutely. The conversations I’m looking to have are unique or interesting whys that I think could be compelling across a variety of industries. What I find most interesting isn’t that two retail chains have the same customer segmentation problem, it’s that you can take a customer segmentation retail and apply that to manufacturing of cookies. So, something we can reuse across these industries, because in my opinion these industry solutions are going to be on the forefront of the whys. I’m going to be able to download cookie client segmentation and then augment it for my needs. I don’t have to invent it going forward. Do you have any final thoughts to share with the Google Cloud customer community? I’m really looking forward to this particular event. It’s rare that we get to have real peer-to-peer conversations, so I’m absolutely looking forward to it, and Google’s a nice space to do it in, so, that’s always a bonus. Are you based in Chicago? Do you need to find a how for your why, or vice versa? Join Paul, the C2C Team, and the rest of our distinguished speakers at 2Gather: Chicago on August 11! Register here:
On June 14, C2C hosted an event in Google’s Cambridge office. We believe in-person connections are invaluable to everyone in our community, especially when our members are able to immediately converse with amazing speakers who are sharing their journeys and business outcomes.The stories from this event—presented on stage from Google Cloud customers, partners, and employees—can all be reviewed below. Introduction from Google Yee-chen Tjie (@yeetjie), Google Cloud Life Sciences Head of Customer Engineering, kicked off the program at C2C Connect Live: Cambridge with a few words about how Google is using 10x thinking to make major unique and substantial investments in Healthcare and Life Sciences technology. Tjie made a point of mentioning Google’s record of solving problems using AI and ML, particularly with AlphaFold 2, the focus of the presentation Luke Ge of Intel gave later in the afternoon.After his opening remarks, Tjie hosted a round of Google trivia, inviting everyone in the audience to stand and then sit down every time they answered one of his true-or-false questions incorrectly. After guessing whether Google Suite was initially offered on CD in 2006 (false), the first Google Doodle was about Coachella because the founders were going (false––they were going to Burning Man), and the English translation of Kubernetes is “cargo ship” (false––it’s “pilot”), Tjie handed the lucky winner a free Google hub device. CISO Healthcare and Life Sciences Reflections Before beginning his presentation, Taylor Lehmann (@taylorlehmann1), Director of the Office of the CISO at Google Cloud, thanked the hosts for the opportunity to join and speak, noting that he had just had his “mind blown” talking to fellow presenter Jonathan Sheffi before the event. Lehmann went on to discuss some of the core principles of invisible security, and his office’s mission to “get to this vision where security is unavoidable.” A big part of this project, he explained, is eliminating the shared responsibility model in favor of what Google calls “shared fate.” Under this model, Google provides blueprints, solutions, and curated patterns to enable customers to manage their own security infrastructures. “If you have a bad day on Google Cloud, it’s a bad day for us too,” he summarized. “If you win on Google Cloud, you win too.” The History and Future of Human Genomics Jonathan Sheffi (@sheffi) formerly a Director of Product Strategy at Veeva Systems and Google Cloud, began his presentation by prodding the audience with an enthusiastic “How’s everyone doing?” and then added “First rule of public speaking, make sure the audience is awake.” The focus of Sheffi’s presentation, the history and future of human genomics, took the audience back to the year 1990, when, in Sheffi’s words, “Nirvana’s Nevermind is a year from coming out, it’s a very exciting time.”Sheffi went on to cover the advents of next-gen sequencing and of public cloud computing, government and pharmaceutical adoption of genomic sequencing, and recent cost-cutting advancements in genomics. When he opened things up to the audience for questions, Michael Preston of Healthcare Triangle shared his own experience seeking treatment for melanoma to ask how genomic sequencing can be used to predict patient reactions to prescribed medications. Sheffi took the question to heart, and acknowledged the need for sequencing and screening processes that take into account data on patient-reported side effects. End-to-End Optimization of AlphaFold2 on Intel Architecture Luke Ge (@Liangwei77ge) an AI Solution Specialist at Intel, opened his presentation by saying, “Yesterday I spent 6 hours on a plane to come to this beautiful city,” prompting a round of applause form the audience. Then he asked “How many of you are using Alphafold 2?” A few hands went up. He followed up with, “How many of you have heard of Alphafold 2?” Many more hands raised.Ge’s presentation explored how analyzing human tissue from DNA to protein structure requires using AI for processing huge sequence data. The Google product that handles this processing is AlphaFold 2. Ge explained how Intel’s computing hardware supports Alphafold 2, including by providing a deep Learning model inference and removing memory bottlenecks in AlphaFold 2’s attention and evoformer modules. At the end of his presentation, Ge demonstrated a model generated using non-optimized versus optimized Alphafold 2 code. The difference was clear. Panel Discussion Tjie moderated the panel discussion with Sheffi and Ge by asking each whether he is a Celtics fan or a Warriors fan. Immediately, the tension in the room rose: Sheffi and Ge are from opposite coasts, making Sheffi a Celtics fan and Ge a Warriors fan. The tension was short-lived, however. When Tjie asked Ge what he considers the best way to choose a compute instance, Sheffi followed up to ask Ge if it’s possible to run multiple sequences on a single instance and maintain performance. Ge said yes.When Tjie opened questions to the audience, several guests rose to ask Sheffi questions about genomic sequencing, more than one of them focusing on use cases for genomic research for patients and caregivers. After several of these questions in a row, Tjie turned to the crowd and said, “I warned Luke that if he picked the Warriors then he would get less questions from the audience.” After the laughs in the room died down, Tjie asked Ge where he sees HCLS problems being solved with AI. Ge did not have to think long before citing computer vision as a solution for detecting cancerous cells. Winding Down Following the presentations, all in attendance broke away to connect during a networking reception. To read more about it, check out the exclusive onsite report linked below in the Extra Credit section. Extra Credit
On May 12, C2C hosted its first east coast event at Google’s New York office. We believe in-person connections are invaluable to everyone in our community, especially when our members are able to immediately converse with amazing speakers who are sharing their journeys and business outcomes.The stories from this event—presented on stage from Google Cloud customers, partners, and employees—can all be reviewed below. A Warm Welcome from C2C and Google Cloud Opening the event was Marco ten Vaanholt (@artmarco), who leads C2C initiatives at Google Cloud. To kick things off, Marco prompted the audience to get to know each other, and all enthusiastically turned to their table neighbors. After Marco covered the history of C2C and our early adventures in hosting face to face events, Marcy Young (@Marcy.Young), Director of Partnerships at C2C, followed to reiterate our mission statement: we’re here to connect Google Cloud customers across the globe. Since March of 2021, when the C2C online community first launched, our community has grown in size to make valuable connections with people like Arsho Toubi (@Arsho Toubi), Customer Engineer, Google Cloud, who followed Young to introduce C2C’s partner speakers.All three introductory speakers emphasized the excitement of being able to make new connections in person again. As ten Vaanholt put it, peers introducing themselves and initiating new relationships is “the start of community building.” When Toubi announced “I received some business cards, and that was a fun experience I haven’t had in two years,” the room responded with a knowing laugh. Toubi also asked the Googlers in the room to stand up so others could identify them. “These are my colleagues,” she said. “We’re all here to help you navigate how to use GCP to your best advantage.” Getting to Know AMD and DoiT C2C partners and the sponsors for this event, DoiT and @AMD shared updates of the partnership between the two companies focused on cloud optimization.Michael Brzezinski (@mike.brzezinski), Global Sales Manager, AMD Spenser Paul (@spenserpaul), Head of Global Alliances, DoiTBrzezinski framed the two presentations as a response to a question he received from another attendee he met just before taking the stage, a question about how the two companies work together to enhance performance while reducing cost. One half of the answer is AMD’s compute processors, which Brzezinski introduced one by one. To complete the story of the partnership between the two companies, Spenser Paul of DoiT took the stage with his Labrador Milton. “I’m joining the stage with a dog, which means you won’t hear anything I’m saying from here on,” he said as he took the microphone. “And that’s totally okay.” The key to minimizing cost on AMD’s hardware, Paul explained, is DoiT’s Flexsave offering, which automates compute spend based on identified need within a workload. A Fireside Chat with DoiT and CurrentSpenser Paul, Head of Global Alliances, DoiT Trevor Marshall (@tmarshall), Chief Technology Officer, CurrentPaul invited Marshall to join him onstage, and both took a seat facing the audience, Milton resting down at Paul’s feet. After asking Marshall to give a brief introduction to Current, Paul asked him why Current chose Google Cloud. Marshall did not mince words: Current accepted a $100,000 credit allowance from Google after spending the same amount at AWS. Why did Current stay with Google Cloud? The Google Kubernetes Engine. “I like to say we came for the credits, but stayed for Kubernetes,” Marshall said. Paul wryly suggested the line be used for a marketing campaign. The conversation continued through Current’s journey to scale and its strategy around cost optimization along the way.When Paul opened questions to the audience, initially, none came up. Seeing an opportunity, Paul turned to Marshall and said, “Selfishly, I need to ask you: what’s going to happen with crypto?” Just in time, a guest asked what other functionalities Current will introduce in the future. After an optimistic but tight-lipped response from Marshall, another moment passed. Marshall offered Paul a comforting hand and said, “We’re all going to make it through,” before fielding a few more questions. Panel Discussion All our presenters, with the addition of Michael Beal (@MikeBeal), CEO, Data Capital Management reconvened on stage for a panel discussion. Toubi, who moderated the conversation, began by asking Michael Beal to introduce himself and his company, Data Capital Management, which uses AI to automate the investment process. Beal ran through Data Capital Management’s product development journey, and then, when he recalled the company’s initial approach from Google, playfully swatted Marshall and said, “The credits don’t hurt.” Toubi then guided Beal and Brzezinski through a discussion of different uses cases for High Performance Computing, particularly on AMD’s processors.When Toubi turned the panel’s attention to costs, Paul took the lead to explain in practical detail how DoiT’s offerings facilitate the optimization process. “I have an important question,” said Toubi. “Can DoiT do my taxes?” Then she put the guests on the spot to compare Google Cloud to AWS’s Graviton. Brzezinski was ready for the question. The initial cost savings Graviton provides, he explained, don’t translate to better price performance when taking into account the improved overall performance on Google Cloud. Other questions covered financial services use cases for security, additional strategies for optimizing workloads for price performance, and wish-list items for Google Cloud financing options.Marco ten Vaanholt kicked off the audience Q&A by asking what a Google Cloud customer community can do for the customers on the panel. Marshall said he’s interested in meeting talented developers, and Beal said he’s interested in meeting anyone who can give him ideas. As he put it, “Inspiration is always a very interesting value proposition.” After a couple more questions about estimating cost at peak performance and addressing customer pain points, Toubi asked each panelist to offer one piece of advice for someone considering using Google Cloud who isn’t already. Again, Paul saw a shot and took it. “If you’ve never been to Google before,” he said, “Come for the credits, stay for the Kubernetes.” Winding Down Following the presentations, all in attendance broke away to connect during a networking reception. To read more about it, check out the exclusive onsite report linked below in the Extra Credit section, and to get involved in the customer-to-customer connections happening in person in the C2C community, follow the link to our live event in Cambridge, MA to register and attend. We look forward to seeing you there! Extra Credit
On Thursday, April 14, 2022, the C2C DACH region hosted a powerful and informative event with guest Joel Goodman, a staff cloud architect at DoiT International, focused on Cloud Workflows, a serverless offering from Google Cloud. Thomas Hug (@tom), one of our DACH Team Leaders, served as moderator of the session. Read on below to review the key takeaways from this in-depth introduction to this dynamic product. 30 Minutes in 30 seconds (3:47) Joel Goodman began his presentation by explaining why a Google Cloud user should consider Workflows. The more services a user has talking to each other at once, the harder they are to manage, and the more tedious the process of sending events to a pipeline becomes. (5:01) Goodman compared Workflow to an orchestrator: a central process that executes the workflow from start to finish. (5:26) Next, Goodman gave an overview of Workflows and its capabilities, and what writing a workflow looks like. (7:00) To provide some examples of use cases for Workflows, Goodman brought up microservice orchestration, continuous integration and deployment (although he admitted he wouldn’t use it for heavier things), transactional consistency, ETL and Data pipelines (although he acknowledges that Workflows would be a better way to start for light data pipelines, and that for more complex needs there are a number of other tools available that would be more suitable), and long-running workflows. (9:00) To give attendees a demo of Workflows, Goodman used the example of a mechanic who runs an application whose users send pictures of their vehicle. The microservice orchestration in this case is as follows: save the image to Google Cloud Storage, extract the license plate number from the image, look up the vehicle’s information, save the information to BigQuery, and finally email the vehicle image to the mechanic with the information he needs. (10:44) Next Goodman listed some workflow design requirements: It has to be cheap, it has to focus on business logic and not infrastructure, it has to scale up and down with customer demand, and it has to be reliable and allow for easy troubleshooting. (11:07) Goodman also expanded on his design decisions––Cloud Run for microservices and Cloud Workflows for orchestration––and analyzed the managed and external services and the microservices required. (11:58) To break everything down further, Goodman explained the specific uses for the web app, the license plate reader, and the notification service. (12:25) Goodman next provided an extensive analysis of the differences between orchestration and choreography. (16:40) Finally, Goodman gave attendees a demonstration of the application’s front end, the submission of the image, and the process in the background. (20:56) For the rest of the session, Goodman fielded questions from C2C members hoping to implement Cloud Workflows for their own services. Extra Credit: Looking to get more involved with our DACH community? Come to our in-person event in Munich on May 18, 2022. This session will cover how MediaMarktSaturn built its Data Mesh, and why this solution is such a game-changer. Attendees will also hear from our partner AMD about how they are making their industry leading AMD EPYC processors available on Google Cloud, and how UberCloud is helping organizations run their simulation tools using HPC application containers.Join us and these amazing speakers as they share their journeys and business outcomes, and how they have overcome their technical and business challenges: Fabian Seitz, Group Product Manager, MediaMarkt Saturn Pawel Walczysko, Cloud Solution Specialist Wolfgang Gentzsch, President, UberCloud Daniel Gruber, Director of Architecture, UberCloud Sign up below today!
Certifications are a Google Cloud user’s keys to success. Google Cloud’s many certifications provide the training and expertise practitioners need to identify and excel in their career paths, and certifications help employers and industry decision-makers find the talent that sets their teams apart from the competition.This C2C Connect was hosted by Devoteam, a foundational platinum partner of C2C and Google Cloud Premier Partner. Devoteam has an ambition to encourage consultants to become fully certified on Google Cloud, being well versed in multiple disciplines, and has four consultants who have done it, with two of them being Anthos fellows. The presenters shared reasons for why they think this is important and their methodology and support system they have built to roll this out to 400 consultants world wide.The recording from this session includes the topics listed below, plus nearly twenty minutes of open Q&A from community members present at the live event:(0:00) Introduction to the session from @Alfons, C2C (1:50) Introduction on Devoteam and our presenters, Jason Quek, Global CTO of Devoteam G Cloud, and Niels Buekers, CTO of Devoteam G Cloud Benelux & UKI (5:10) Session overview on the why, what, and how: continuous learning, business value, and leading by example by building the best talent on Google Cloud to serve customers (9:00) Why continuous learning is necessary for building trust (11:35) Testing your theoretical knowledge and preparing for certification exams (18:25) How Devoteam uses gamification (leaderboards) to award exam vouchers and why they celebrate newly certified exam-takers (27:40) Gaining hands-on experience and qualifying for cloud jobs (30:15) Mentorship programs and study sessions (32:15) Leading by example and the goal of becoming fully certified (33:45) Final thoughts and community Q&AWatch the full recording of the conversation below:
The centerpiece of C2C’s virtual Earth Day conference, Clean Clouds, Happy Earth, was a panel discussion on sustainability in EMEA featuring C2C and Google Cloud partners HCL and AMD and cosmetics superpower L’Oreal. Moderated by Ian Pattison, EMEA Head of Sustainability Practice at Google Cloud, the conversation lasted the better part of an hour and explored a range of strategies for enabling organizations to build and run sustainable technology on Google Cloud.According to Sanjay Singh, Executive VP of the Google Cloud Ecosystem Unit at HCL technologies, when advising customers across the value chain evaluating cloud services, Google Cloud becomes a natural choice because of its focus on sustainable goals. Connecting customers to Google Cloud is a key part of HCL’s broader program for maintaining sustainable business practices at every organizational level. “What you cannot measure, you cannot improve” says Singh, which is why HCL has created systems to measure every point of emission under their purview for carbon footprint impact. In alignment with Google Cloud’s commitment to run a carbon-free cloud platform by 2030, HCL plans to make its processes carbon neutral in the same timeframe.Suresh Andani, Senior Director of Cloud Vertical Marketing at AMD, serves on a task force focused on defining the company’s sustainability goals as an enterprise and as a vendor. As a vendor, AMD prioritizes helping customers migrate to the cloud itself as well as making its compute products (CPUS and GPUS) more energy efficient, which they plan to do by a factor of 30 by 2025. On the enterprise side, Andani says, AMD relies on partners and vendors, so making sure AMD as an organization is sustainable expands to its ecosystem of suppliers. One of the biggest challenges, he says, is to measure partners’ operations. This challenge falls to AMD’s corporate responsibility team.Health and beauty giant L’Oreal recently partnered with Google Cloud to run its beauty tech data engine. In the words of architect Antoine Castex, a C2C Team Lead in France, sustainability at L’Oreal is all about finding “the right solution for the right use case.” For Castex, this means prioritizing Software as a Service (SaaS) over Platform as a Service (PaaS), and only in the remotest cases using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). He is also emphatic about the importance of using serverless architecture and products like AppEngine, which only run when in use, rather than running and consuming energy 24/7.For Hervé Dumas, L’Oreal’s Sustainability IT Director, these solutions are part of what he calls “a strategic ambition,” which must be common across IT staff. Having IT staff dedicated to sustainability, he says, creates additional knowledge and enables necessary transformation of the way the company works. As Castex puts it, this transformation will come about when companies like L’Oreal are able to “change the brain of the people.”As Castex told C2C in a follow-up conversation after the event, the most encouraging takeaway from the panel for L’Oreal was the confirmation that other companies and tech players have “the same dream and ambition as us.” Watch a full recording of the conversation below, and check back to the C2C website over the next two weeks for more content produced exclusively for this community event. Also, if you’re based in EMEA and want to connect with other Google Cloud customers and partners in the C2C community, join us at one of our upcoming face-to-face events: Extra Credit:
Sustainability is an inherent value of cloud computing and storage. According to Suresh Andani, Senior Director of Cloud Vertical Marketing at C2C Global Gold partner AMD, data center sustainability, which used to be an afterthought, has now become a key requirement. The first step to a more sustainable compute solution, he says, is migration to the cloud. This gives companies like AMD an immediate advantage: they are already offering a more sustainable solution. However, along with this advantage comes a challenge. All cloud partners provide the option to migrate. How can companies like AMD help further?AMD will appear alongside a full lineup of C2C and Google Cloud customers and partners this Thursday, April 21, 2022 at Clean Clouds, Happy Earth, a special C2C Earth Day event for companies and practitioners committed to sustainable cloud solutions. Participating companies include Deutsche Bank and Nordic Choice Hotels, and full sessions will explore topics such as supply chain resiliency, food waste, environmental, social, and governance analysis, and sustainable IT. Andani will join a panel of executives featuring Sanjay Singh of C2C platinum partner HCL, Antoine Castex––a C2C Team Lead in France––and Hervé Dumas of L’Oreal, and Ian Pattison, EMEA Head of Sustainability Practice at Google. “Energy efficiency is not just about power consumed and how efficiently you address or cool. It’s also about how you make your manufacturing process more sustainable.” Andani hopes the panel will be “a channel to get the word out” about how AMD differentiates in the cloud computing space. All of AMD’s customers need to be able to reduce the amount of power they’re consuming as they process their workloads. AMD’s solutions are designed to solve this problem at the root cause. “Energy efficiency is not just about power consumed and how efficiently you address or cool,” Andani says. “It’s also about how you make your manufacturing process more sustainable.” To this end, several years ago, AMD implemented a chiplet architecture specifically designed to improve their yields and minimize waste. Now, says Andani, many of AMD’s peers are choosing to go the same route.More providers in the cloud computing space adopting a more sustainable manufacturing process is all the more reason for companies like AMD to participate in live events hosted by customer communities like C2C. As Andani was happy to share, he and Pattison have appeared together at similar events in the past. These panels, Andani affirms, are of unique value to Google Cloud customers looking to improve energy efficiency. Representatives of Google Cloud appear at such events to discuss how Google Cloud’s products use technologies such as AI and ML to monitor energy consumption. When the same panel features an end customer adopting this technology, in Andani’s words, “that completes the story.” Join C2C Global and all of our distinguished sponsors and guests at 9:00 AM EDT on April 21, 2022 to witness the complete story of sustainable computing on Google Cloud. Use the link below to register:
Information Week recently invited C2C Global President Josh Berman (@josh.berman) to contribute an article about the shared roles of businesses and cloud service providers in ensuring cloud security. For broader perspective on this critical topic, Berman spoke with Paul Lewis, CTO of Pythian, a C2C Foundational Platinum Partner and Google Cloud Premier Partner, about the nuanced distinction between “Security of the Cloud” and “Security in the Cloud.”In the article, Berman identifies a series of emerging cybersecurity threats and enumerates a core set of best practices for preventing them—shared responsibility, identity and access management control, security by design, active monitoring, and data protection—ending with a reminder: “Do not stand still.” The considerations Berman offers are many, but all speak to one common essential value: accountability. In Berman’s words, “Cloud security is only effective if businesses and their cloud providers fundamentally agree and share responsibility. They must work in tandem.” Read the full text of the article at Information Week. Extra Credit:
“Cloud repatriation,” like “cloud migration” and “cloud native,” is a tech term borrowed from the language of social science: all of these terms describe a relationship to a place of origin. What each really describes, though, is where someone, or something, lives. In social science, that someone is a person, someone born a citizen of one country or returned there after displacement by conflict or other political circumstances. In tech, the something born in or returned to its place of origin is an asset or a resource an organization controls: it’s your organization’s data, its software, or whatever else you need to store to be able to run it.After years of cloud migration dominating the conversation about software and data hosting and storage, the term “cloud repatriation” is emerging as a new hypothetical for migrated and cloud native organizations. So many organizations are now hosted on the cloud that a greater number than ever have the option, feasible or not, to move off. Whether any cloud-native or recently migrated organization would actually want to move its resources back on-premises, to a data center, is another question. To discuss this question and its implications for the future of the cloud as a business solution, C2C recently convened a panel of representatives from three major cloud-hosted companies: Nick Tornow of Twitter, Keyur Govande of Etsy, and Rich Hoyer and Miles Ward of SADA. The conversation was charged from the beginning, and only grew more lively throughout. Sensing the energy around this issue, Ward, who hosted the event, started things off with some grounding exercises. First, he asked each host to define a relevant term. Tornow defined repatriation as “returning to your own data centers...or moving away from the public cloud more generally,” Govande defined TCO as “the purchase price of an asset and the cost of operating it,” and Hoyer defined OPEX and CAPEX as, respectively, real-time day-to-day expenses and up-front long-term expenses. Ward then stirred things up by asking the guests to pose some reasons why an organization might want to repatriate. After these level-setting exercises, the guests dove into the business implications of repatriation.The question of cost came up almost immediately, redirecting the discussion to the relationship between decisions around workloads and overall business goals: Govande’s comments about “problems that are critical to your business” particularly resonated with the others on the call. Govande briefly elaborated on these comments via email after the event. “In the context of repatriation, especially for a product company, it is very important to think through the ramifications of doing the heavy infrastructural lift yourself,” he said. “In my opinion, for most product companies, the answer would be to ‘keep moving up the stack,’ i.e. to be laser focused on your own customers' needs and demands, by leveraging the public cloud infrastructure.”These sentiments resurfaced later in the discussion, when the group took up the problem of weighing costs against potential opportunities for growth: The more the group explored these emerging themes of workload, cost, and scale, the more the guests offered insights based on their firsthand experiences as executives at major tech companies. Tornow used an anecdote about launching the game Farmville at Zynga to illustrate the unique challenges of launching products on the cloud: During the audience Q&A, a question about TCO analysis gave Hoyer the chance to go long on his relevant experiences at SADA: As soon as the conversation began to wind down, Ward put the guests on the spot again, to ask Tornow and Govande point-blank whether either of them would consider repatriation an option for their company that very day. Unsurprisingly, neither said they would: By the time Ward handed the microphone back to Dale Rossi of Google Cloud, who introduced and concluded the event, the conversation had lasted well over an hour, leaving very few angles on the subject of repatriation unexamined. Many hosts might have felt satisfied letting an event come to an end at this point, but not Ward. To leave the guests, and the audience, with a sense of urgency and resolve, he treated everyone on the call to a rendition of “Reveille,” the traditional military call to arms, arranged exclusively for this group for solo Tuba: Repatriation may not be a realistic option for many if not most businesses, but discussing the possibility hypothetically illuminates the considerations these same businesses will have to confront as they approach cloud strategy and workload balance. “Nobody on our panel had heard of anyone born in the cloud ever going ‘back’ to the data center,” Ward said in an email reflecting on the event. “Any infrastructure cost analysis is a ‘complex calculus,’ and there's no easy button.” For Ward, there is one way to make this complex calculus manageable: “To get maximum value from cloud, focus in on the differentiated managed services that allow you to refocus staff time on innovation.”When you hear the word “repatriation,” what comes to mind for you? What does it imply for your organization and the workloads your organization manages? Are there any relevant considerations you consider crucial that you want to talk through in more depth? Join the C2C Community and start the conversation! Extra Credit:
This session was led by Quantiphi, a foundational partner of C2C and a Google Partner that uses AI to solve the problems at the heart of businesses. Connect with them directly @Quantiphi in the C2C community.One of the best ways for enterprises across a broad range of business sectors to remain relevant is to use consumer behavior data in ways that will help their brands stand out from the competition. Using this data effectively and uniquely can help businesses improve the rate of customer acquisition, increase the ROI from marketing spends, and also ensure customer centricity and personalization. But what can we do to improve customer experiences by leveraging customer data, and how? To learn more, C2C sat down with Vijay Mannur, Customer and Marketing Analytics Practice Lead at Quantiphi, to discuss how to enhance consumer engagement and conversion using behavioral data. Questions answered will include:The recording from this Deep Dive includes:(1:55) Agenda overview and introduction to speakers (8:05) Marketing analytics How and why Quantiphi built a dedicated marketing and analytics team Options for marketing analytics from Google Cloud (14:50) Consumer data Third-party vs. first-party cookies and rich data quality Consumer Data Platform (CDP) vs. traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) How to build and upskill teams to use CDP effectively Using BigQuery and other Google Cloud analytics tools (32:25) Examples of customer stories using CDP How a French retailer centrally connected their consumer databases with custom pipelines from BigQuery How a bank optimized consumer segmentation and profiling using Vertex AI (39:00) Future of analytics The future of consumer data and trends nearing the end of their lifecycle Addressing privacy concerns using Google Cloud data warehousing and analytics solutions Ethical use of machine learning for consumer behavior Speakers featured in this Deep Dive Vijay Mannur Practice Head, Customer and Marketing Analytics, Quantiphi Vijay Mannur is a Practice Head at Quantiphi with 12+ years of experience in the field of Performance Marketing, Sales and Analytics. He leads the Customer and Marketing Analytics practice at Quantiphi, a leading Digital Transformation and AI solutions company. He has grown the practice at Quantiphi to encompass engineering teams building cutting edge solutions, delivery teams, and sales teams. He has delivered multiple large-scale digital transformation solutions to marketing teams of large Retail and FSI clients. Prior to Quantiphi, Vijay worked for companies like Media.net, Idea Cellular, and NEC Corporation. Daniel Lees Staff Partner Engineer, Google Cloud A Cloud Architect at Google, Daniel Lees was a Principal Architect in Financial Services Select helping Google’s most valued clients build in Google Cloud Platform before joining the Partner Engineering team in support of Google’s most important partners. He has extensive expertise in defined best practices, blueprints, security and compliance standards, and evangelism of reusable assets for cloud deployment in CICD pipelines with IoC working on both cloud native and hybrid application modernization. Before Google, he had 20 years of experience at HSBC Bank where he was the Chief Technical Architect for AWS Cloud globally, leading a small team of SME cloud architects. Other ResourcesRedefine customer and marketing analytics Google Cloud Marketing analytics & AI solutions Responsible AI practices
The full recording from this C2C Deep Dive includes panel discussion on:Defining terms for repatration, total cost of ownership (TCO), operational expenditures (OPEX), and capital expenditures (CAPEX) Understanding motivations, payoff, and pitfalls of repatriating workloads off of cloud Workload considerations from applied knowledge at Twitter and EtsyWho spoke at this event? Miles Ward CTO, SADA Rich Hoyer Director of Customer FinOps, SADA Keyur Govande VP Infrastructure and Chief Architect, Etsy Nick Tornow Platform Lead, Twitter
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