A couple weeks back, Google Cloud’s multi-week virtual event Next 20: OnAir started. There were a number of announcements, but the biggest was BigQuery Omni. By combining BigQuery and Anthos, BigQuery Omni enables organizations to embrace multi-cloud analytics by cost-effectively bringing Google Cloud's data warehouse to where the data resides across public cloud environments.
How does it work?
The existing BigQuery architecture offers decoupled compute and storage. And up until this announcement, that storage needed to be in Google Cloud. Simply put, with BigQuery Omni, that storage can now be in other clouds. End-users gain consistency by leveraging the same BigQuery interface they’re used to on Google Cloud, but now also query data that resides in other clouds without worrying about data movement, data copies, and pesky egress fees. And it all runs on fully-managed Anthos clusters deployed in the cloud of your choosing. Today that means AWS only, but in the future that will also include Azure.
Impacting Google Cloud's Presence in the Cloud Analytics Market
This announcement is a big deal. I would argue it’s the first announcement that makes Google Cloud’s “multi-cloud” promise real. Sure, they have a heavy presence in the open source world (i.e., Kubernetes and Apache Airflow). They acquired Looker, which has a powerful multi-cloud message. And the promise of Anthos was fantastic, but the storyline seemed to fizzle over time. This announcement quite obviously changes that.
I’ve been fortunate to have conversations with multiple businesses that fall into different BigQuery camps: existing customers, past customers, and potential customers. By leveraging those conversations and matching them with ESG research, an interesting story begins to form. Here are the six reasons BigQuery Omni could change the game for Google Cloud:
- Data warehouses are an entry point to the cloud: Of those organizations that use public cloud services for analytics purposes, nearly 1 in 3 (31%) leverage a cloud data warehouse. This proves to be the top technology used for analytics purposes in the public cloud. Simply put, BigQuery Omni just made it easier to leverage Google Cloud's data warehouse in competing clouds.
- Multi-cloud needs to be embraced: As of last year, 75% of organizations use at least two unique cloud service providers. And a big reason for the multi-cloud movement is simply because of the data. Aside from end-user preference or specific tool availability, several cloud users I’ve spoken with feel it’s either too expensive to move all data to one cloud, or it’s too risky to put all your eggs in one basket. Without cost penalties and introducing significant risk, BigQuery Omni let’s you keep your data where it is, but use a consistent interface to analyze that data through a managed service.
- Multi-cloud wars begin: A year or two back, there was an influx of hybrid cloud announcements and key partnerships from the top cloud players. While the promise of porting cloud services to on-premises environments is obviously real and happening, it felt like the buzz disappeared. BigQuery Omni reinvigorates that storyline, while throwing down the multi-cloud gauntlet.
- Multi-cloud data warehouse competition heats up: While the key cloud providers have their respective EDW offerings, competing with Snowflake’s multi-cloud message (and other vendors too, but Snowflake is the consensus top dog here) seemed to fall flat. Until now anyway. BigQuery Omni enables Google Cloud to go head on with Snowflake and other multi-cloud data warehouse vendors.
- Gateway to AI: It’s no secret that Google is a leader in the AI space. I believe that if you talk to competing vendors, regardless of traction, competency, or services offered, Google invokes a level of paranoia. It’s as if everyone is chasing them when it comes to AI, whether true or not. And BigQuery serves as an entry point to Google Cloud’s AI services: start with a BigQuery, eventually embrace Google Cloud AI services.
- Trust: I don’t mean trust from a security or data quality standpoint. I mean trusting a vendor’s message. Customer’s care about roadmap. They care about promises. They want to trust their provider. Google Cloud has been talking about multi-cloud for years. The BigQuery Omni announcement is delivering on their multi-cloud promise to their customers. And we should all expect that this is just the start.
Will BigQuery Omni directly change the cloud landscape? No. Does it set Google Cloud on a path to change the cloud landscape? Absolutely. This is the first of what I expect to be several (and eventually most of) Google Cloud services getting the multi-cloud treatment. But they won't all be done at once so service prioritization will matter and execution will be critical. The last thing they can let happen is letting their current multi-cloud mojo fizzle as it could have a lasting impact on current and potential Google Cloud customers.