UPDATED 10:00 EDT / APRIL 16 2019


Value is the new lock-in: Apigee seeks to transform applications in a hybrid world

With all of the talk in the enterprise about applications, what do they really mean to the average employee?

In many instances, applications drive personalization on the web. One example of this can be found in the growth of “my” sites, with the ability for users to structure how they use a site’s products or services so they are tailored to their needs. “My Verizon” helps phone customers access personal accounts, “MyFitnessPal” lets users track their diet and exercise, and “My Maps” on Google allows for sharing of location information with close friends and family.

The Telegraph, a London-based media company, wanted to let its online users view content in personalized news feeds and also encourage them to sign up for premium services. It turned to Google LLC’s Apigee for help in designing and managing an application programming interface or API structure that would bring this to reality.

Before, Telegraph readers could only find specific topics or journalists in general search. Now, using Apigee APIs, users can select these items and have them show up automatically in their “My Telegraph” newsfeed.

“We want customers to be able to unlock a lot of the application data that they have and be able to expose it to their customers, partners, and internal employees in a simple, easy manner,” said Amit Zavery (pictured), head of platform at Google Cloud. “How do you make it simple; how do you make it open; how do you make it hybrid? Flexibility of choice is becoming top of mind for many users nowadays.”

Zavery spoke with John Furrier and Dave Vellante, co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco. They discussed key elements of the Apigee platform, the role of value in customer lock-in, the importance of reaching out to developers with next-generation technologies and Zavery’s prior work with Google Cloud’s new chief executive officer Thomas Kurian (see the full interview with transcript here).

This week, theCUBE features Amit Zavery as its Guest of the Week.

New hybrid option

There were a number of announcements made during Google Cloud Next, with support for hybrid environments as a major theme. Apigee, bought by Google for $625 million in 2016, was not left out of the parade.

Last week, Apigee announced a beta version of a new deployment option for its API management platform. Called Apigee Hybrid, the latest solution allows users to host runtimes in a data center or public cloud of their choosing.

“The way I look at the platform is on the capabilities a customer requires to build an application, integrate it, secure it, and manage it,” Zavery said. “We want to make it completely integrated and very seamless with all the rest of the Google properties we have.”

Vendor lock-in a concern

A survey released by DataCore Software Corp. in October found that 42% of information technology professionals responding viewed vendor lock-in by cloud storage providers as a top concern. In a world where enterprise information technology is increasingly becoming a multicloud, hybrid ecosystem, businesses want the freedom and flexibility to move.

Vendor lock-in is a familiar topic for Zavery. Prior to moving to Google this spring, Zavery was senior vice president for cloud platform and middleware products at Oracle Corp. During one Oracle OpenWorld gathering in 2017, he spoke at length about giving customers the tools and technologies they desired, in the way they want to use them.

After moving to Google and leading Apigee, Zavery has defined a strategy where lock-in happens because of value that customers see in the product.

“If you start from the beginning that there is no choice, then the value doesn’t come out, ever,” Zavery explained. “It’s important to really think about how you build some of the services and technologies which give this value, but also give you the choice of moving if you want to.”

Enticing next-gen users

At the heart of what Zavery, Apigee and Google Cloud must do is expand the company’s enterprise IT business. With only a 9% share of customer spend in the public cloud market, well behind Amazon Web Services Inc. and Microsoft Azure, it’s surprising to some observers that a company so dominant in search and advertising revenue cannot capture even a double-digit share of the enterprise cloud industry.

Google businesses like Apigee, with its focus on applications, developers and the promise of cutting-edge technological value, offer a path forward.

“The way to look at this is: ‘Are we catering to all of the new requirements that you see from the next generation users?’” Zavery said. “We want to expand that capability in a platform offering so it’s not just catering to one kind of an audience, but also new buyers, which we see as users coming into the platform. There’s a lot of headroom for Google Cloud to grow.”

Ran $2.1B Oracle business

Zavery was one of the first major hires made by newly installed Google Cloud CEO Kurian. Apigee’s new leader was hired away from Oracle, Kurian’s former employer, after a career with the firm that spanned nearly 25 years.

By the time Zavery departed in March, he was in charge of a cloud platform and middleware products division that accounted for $2.1 billion in Oracle’s current fiscal year.

Zavery worked with Kurian during a majority of the duo’s time at Oracle. “I’ve worked with Thomas for 18-plus years, and he’s probably one of the smartest persons I’ve worked with,” Zavery stated. “He’s got a very strategic vision and clear execution. I think that combination is rare for a lot of people.”

After barely two months on the job, Zavery is optimistic about Google’s approach. “We have the investment they’re making,” Zavery said. “It’s very attractive and very exciting. It’s very clear they’re here to win it.”

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of Google Cloud Next:

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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