New functions should make the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) more attractive for business users. At the virtual customer conference Next, Google presented “BigQuery Omni”. The analytics solution should enable users to analyze data in various cloud environments – in addition to Google also with other providers such as AWS and Microsoft – as well as in the conventional on-premises data center. The queries are based on standard SQL and use the well-known APIs from Google BigQuery. In the current private alpha status of the Omni variant, S3 from AWS is already connected, it said. Azure will follow shortly.
With BigQuery Omni, it will be possible to overcome the limits of data silos, the Google officials promise. In multi-cloud environments, users would no longer have to laboriously transfer the data required for analysis between the clouds into the Google infrastructure. “Moving data across different clouds is cumbersome and expensive,” said Debanjan Saha, general manager and vice president of engineering, Google Cloud. Big Query Omni is based on “Anthos”, a management platform from Google that enables users to control and manage hybrid IT infrastructures.
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In addition to the expanded analytics functions, Google is working on additional security features for its cloud platform. “Confidential Computing” is supposed to bring about a breakthrough here. Companies from highly regulated industries such as financial service providers, healthcare companies and government agencies in particular struggled to comply with compliance and data protection rules, said Sunil Potti, General Manager and Vice President of Security at Google Cloud. “These companies want to use the latest cloud technologies, but stringent privacy or regulatory requirements are often an obstacle.”
When workloads were moved to the cloud, security concerns were primarily about how sensitive data could be safely processed there. Although this data would be encrypted during storage and transfer, it would have to be decrypted for processing. Google wants to change that: In confidential computing environments, the data remains encrypted even during processing, Google promises.
“Rarely are new technologies emerging that can fundamentally change cloud computing,” said Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist at Google. “Confidential Computing is such a game changer that has the potential to change the way businesses process data in the cloud while significantly improving confidentiality and data protection,” Cerf said.
The first solution in Google’s confidential computing portfolio is “Confidential VMs”. Users could encrypt and securely isolate workloads, it said. According to Google, the solution is easy to use. No modifications to the code of the apps are necessary. Nor would users have to compromise on performance. According to Google, confidential VMs are based on security functions of the 2nd generation of AMD’s EPYC processors. They use the so-called Secure Encryption Virtualization (SEV) function of the chips, which ensures that data is encrypted even during processing.
Google also introduced “Assured Workloads for Governments”. Government agencies would no longer have to rely on specially configured, mostly functionally cropped special clouds, but could meet compliance and data protection requirements in the conventional cloud. A first version for US requirements should be released as a beta version in autumn 2020. It is not yet known when and to what extent the authorities of other countries should be addressed.