Google is joining OpenStack as a corporate sponsor. Its objective is to make sure that Linux containers and associated container management function in the OpenStack environment. As you may recall, Google's open source system called Kubernetes exists to manage contained applications on different platforms.
By joining OpenStack, Google is expected to share its expertise on software containers, and this is a nice kick in the ass for OpenStack, which has lost momentum in the last year or so.
If there were a "most improved" prize for public cloud providers, Google would get it. A few years ago, Google was one of many public cloud providers, but now it's in the top three, along with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.
The growth of the public cloud at Google has been largely due to some good innovations and value pricing. Today, for example, Google has the fastest and cheapest public cloud storage. Moreover, it has done a good job providing big data services on demand.
In my mind, Google's biggest innovation has been around the use of containers. Kubernetes was created ahead of the need for that technology, and now that everyone is heading to containers, Google's innovation in that space has driven the solid use cases we see today. Bringing that innovation to the OpenStack community will certainly help both OpenStack and Google.
This OpenStack container innovation also differentiates Google from the other two big cloud providers. AWS and Microsoft, for the most part, have not put a lot of innovation around OpenStack. However, I'm sure they would certainly declare admiration and support for OpenStack if asked about it -- and stop there. By contrast, Google will put some real R&D dollars to make the technology work and play well with its public cloud offering.
One wish I have for OpenStack is for the open source standard to have a much easier deployment path for enterprises. It's now an engineering task, but it should be just a software deployment task. Enterprises are used to running setup.exe, and OpenStack isn't that. Also, networking and security need some work.
That said, OpenStack is only has good as its members, and it just got a big one. Google will certainly add value to OpenStack, and I hope OpenStack will add some value for Google.