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Google interconnects with rival cloud providers

Video platform provider Pexip said Google's Cross-Cloud Interconnect reduced the cost of connecting Google Cloud with Microsoft Azure by eliminating other products.

Google Cloud has addressed enterprises' need for simpler cloud interconnectivity by launching a managed service that connects the cloud provider to rivals AWS, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud.

Google unveiled Cross-Cloud Interconnect this week to expand its Cloud Interconnect portfolio. The product suite lets enterprises use Google's backbone network as a WAN for connecting private sites in other regions.

Cross-Cloud Interconnect adds connecting workloads on any of the three competing infrastructure-as-a-service providers. Enterprises can use the service to migrate workloads between clouds, according to Google.

Cross-Cloud Interconnect is available in 10 Gbps or 100 Gbps options and does not require enterprises to deploy networking hardware, according to Google. It includes a service-level agreement with 99.99% reliability.

Customers include retailer Walmart and video platform provider Pexip.

Pexip offers financial, healthcare and government institutions highly secure online meetings. The company has application services running on Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Pexip replaced Equinix Fabric and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute with Cross-Cloud Interconnect to connect the two clouds, said Thomas Guggenbuhl, Pexip's head of network and infrastructure operations. The elimination of the other products reduced connectivity costs by 70%.

"With Cross-Cloud Interconnect, you just have Google and Azure," Guggenbuhl said. "So you reduce the load on operating, maintaining and monitoring to just two actors. It just simplifies the solution."

Pexip will continue to use Equinix for its core business of leasing data centers, Guggenbuhl said. Pexip runs its video software on Equinix, where its data centers are closer to Pexip customers than cloud providers' facilities.

Google will offer the service initially in North America, expanding it globally over the next 12 or 18 months. Pricing is comparable to existing pricing for Cloud Interconnect, said Muninder Singh Sambi, Google Cloud's general manager of networking and security.

To start the service, a company identifies the region from which it wants to connect. Google Cloud provides a dedicated link to join its internal network, the Virtual Private Cloud, to the Azure Virtual Network, AWS Virtual Private Cloud or the Oracle virtual cloud network.

Large enterprises are the most likely users of Cross-Cloud Interconnect, Sambi said. They have distributed applications that might need specific services from a cloud provider. For example, organizations running workloads on other clouds will also use the Google-managed BigQuery data warehouse.

Google Cross-Cloud Interconnect
The Google Cross-Cloud Interconnect architecture.

Multi-cloud networking options evolving

TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group found that 97% of the 339 IT and networking pros it surveyed this year use services from at least two public cloud providers.

The ubiquity of cloud usage has driven an emerging market of interrelated tech companies providing products to connect applications distributed across cloud providers, IDC analyst Taranvir Singh said.

Google's latest service lets other vendors partner with the cloud provider to add capabilities. For example, companies that lease data centers could support Cross-Cloud Interconnect.

With Cross-Cloud Interconnect, you just have Google and Azure. So you reduce the load on operating, maintaining and monitoring to just two actors.
Thomas GuggenbuhlHead of network and infrastructure operations, Pexip

"[Tech vendors] can be a part of that ecosystem without directly competing with each other," Singh said. "They can be a part of the ecosystem and enhance the capabilities of each other."

Ali Shaikh, chief product officer for startup Graphiant, agrees. Google, Microsoft, AWS and Oracle provide cloud-to-cloud connectivity but do not connect the enterprise data center to cloud providers, which is what Graphiant does.

"We're going to be the bridge between [the cloud] world and the world that isn't the cloud," Sheikh said.

Cross-Cloud Interconnect is generally available today with Private Service Connect (PSC), which keeps traffic secure and private when connecting the virtual networks of public clouds, SaaS providers or customer-owned services.

In private preview is service connection policies (SCP), which lets managed service providers create policies that automate the connectivity of PSC. SCP allows service administrators to deploy, update and delete PSC's published services.

Antone Gonsalves is networking news director for TechTarget Editorial. He has deep and wide experience in tech journalism. Since the mid-1990s, he has worked at UBM's InformationWeek, TechWeb and Computer Reseller News. He has also written for Ziff Davis' PC Week, IDG's CSOonline and IBTMedia's CruxialCIO, and rounded all of that out by covering startups for Bloomberg News. He started his journalism career at United Press International, working as a reporter and editor in California, Texas, Kansas and Florida. Have a news tip? Please drop him an email.

Tech News This Week 06-02-2023

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