Pub/Sub. JSON.Stackdriver. Python. Docker. Flask. TensorFlow. Jinja. YAML. Bucket. And of course, BigQuery.
If you are confused as to what this all means, I assure you are not alone.
My guess is the average answer is this : Python is a snake, Docker is a brand of Jeans, Jinja is some sort of Ninja and YAML is the name of a Yak gone mad.
However, you would be very, very wrong.
These are all elements of Google Cloud Platform or GCP.
GCP is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses for its end-user products, such as Google Search and Youtube. Alongside a set of management tools, it provides a series of modular cloud services including computing, data storage and cutting edge data analytics and machine learning.
Of course there are other Cloud Providers, such as Amazon, Azure from Microsoft, Alibaba and many others. Currently, the market leaders are Amazon and Azure. Each of these platforms has its unique strengths. For example, if your target market is some sort of Enterprise (“i.e. it runs in a big corporation”) application like a billing or supply chain or HR application, Azure will probably be best because of its inbuilt Microsoft Active Directory integration. And if your in China, then all you have is Alibaba.
However, when it comes to analytics and web integration it will be very difficult to beat Google. Very, very difficult.
For example, Google has developed a simple tutorial to do something quite extraordinary. It allows a user to build a program that will offer real time prediction of Foreign Exchange quotes using Machine Learning technologies. This sort of environment used to require a large infrastructure and specialised coding skills, but now with GCP it is available for anybody with some coding skills and a credit card.
Actually Cloud Computing is the future. It used to be the case in technology that you needed to hire a huge number of developers to accomplish anything substantial. However, by integrating cloud services, developers can get quick access to market and create a really powerful application in the process.
We hope that the PH Government can offer a bit of strategic leadership especially in developing a competitive edge for the country in the field of cloud technology. To do so, what is also required is a rethink of our current tertiary Software Engineering course. For a developing country like Malaysia who wants to leapfrog , it may even be feasible to team up with Google and come out with a syllabus that will emphasise Google platforms and technologies in the Education sector. Yes, it sounds a bit like a ‘monopoly’, but since Google is ‘open source’ , is constantly innovating and is the one of the biggest technology companies in the world, it may be a price worth paying. After all, as the Cloud Services market is poised to be a US$ 300b market by 2021 and it will be good if Malaysian SMEs can tap this by developing skills to harness cloud technology. Also, it can help change the conversation away from the current landcape which is dominated by race religon 1MDB and Najib and start to focus on Malaysia’s future.
(8:31 PM November 28 2018: Rembau Times has successfully created its first live application on Google Cloud over here. Its running off 500 MB and 10 GB disk somewhere in Google’s Asia South Data Center. Small step for Rembau folk!)