August 16, 2017

In a move that telegraphs its cloud ambitions with application integration, Google acquired Apigee for $625 million not only to gain access to an API management platform as a service, but also to integrate Apigee with the Kubernetes container orchestration framework.

While containers are being employed widely to build applications, IT organizations just now are beginning to explore using them to more easily integrate new and existing applications. Applications and their associated dependencies can be captured as a container that, in turn, is part of a larger microservices architecture. The Apigee API management platform then could employ Kubernetes to manage those containers. In effect, the API Economy soon will be firmly wedded to microservices architectures based on containers.

Naturally, other API management platform providers could pursue a similar agenda using Kubernetes or any other container orchestration engine. But given the fact that Google developed Kubernetes, it would be safe to say it is in a better position to do it.

How Google approaches this task probably will prove to be critical for both internal IT organizations pursing hybrid cloud computing strategies and major vendors such as SAP that make extensive use of the API management platform within their own offerings.

It’s pretty clear at this point that Google aims to expand its cloud strategy by becoming much more of an integration hub than it is today. Google currently is considered No. 3 of the big three public cloud service providers, largely on the back of mainly Big Data application workloads. But it’s clear the company has bigger ambitions. It’s already pouring resources alongside Intel, CoreOS and Mirantis to re-engineer theOpenStack cloud framework to run on top of Kubernetes. That would make it much simpler for Google to craft a hybrid cloud computing strategy that would position its public cloud as a more natural extension of a private cloud based on OpenStack. Google also recently bought Orbitera, a provider of an online marketplace platform for selling both software and IT services, and a recent survey conducted by SADA Systems, a provider of IT services via the cloud, found surprisingly high adoption rates for the Google Cloud Platform.

Obviously, Google’s ambitions for the enterprise go way beyond its own cloud. The odds are high that Google will be making a series of strategic acquisitions to fill out this strategy before everything is said and done. In the meantime, developers might want to keep any eye on the company. Obviously, in terms of workloads, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft have already achieved critical mass in the cloud. The interesting thing about Google, however, may not be the number of workloads it is running today as much as the types and quantities of data it collects. For many developers, being able to access that data in one fashion or another would be worth its weight in gold. The challenge facing Google now is finding the most frictionless way to make that possible.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.