Eric Schmidt is one of the most accomplished names in the tech sphere right now. During his long and rather illustrious career, which included a period at a high-ranking position with Sun Microsystems, one of the main things he had been pursuing was the idea of an active computer network that would allow for quick, easy and adaptable development and deployment of software. In essence, he spent most of his career trying to flesh out the concept of a cloud backend for a business; essentially, infrastructure as a service. Although it’s still the third place option in the sphere and has some kinks still being worked out, Schmidt has said that Google Cloud Platform in its current form, being the closest thing imaginable to his original vision, is the magnum opus of his time in the tech world.
According to Schmidt, the idea for the cloud services that Google offers began when their search traffic began to reach critical mass. The high traffic was beginning to cause issues and their technicians’ tools just weren’t agile enough, at the time, to keep up. At that point, the company decided to create a specialized operating system and suite of software that would serve as the backend they needed, making development and deployment of new software easier than ever. As the system evolved and development rolled on, Google eventually saw fit to let other businesses in on their system via a cloud-based backend. Google would provide the servers, horsepower and software development environment, while customers would only have to worry about software creation, deployment and client-side network maintenance. This first-generation cloud service came to be known as Google AppEngine.
When Google publicly rolled out their AppEngine cloud services back in 2008, they allowed developers to use a system not unlike Google’s in-house systems to do many of the same kinds of things Google was doing; creating and distributing software, managing networks and deploying frontends for users. According to Schmidt, however, there was something “fundamentally wrong“. The toolset was geared more toward developers and experimenters than the average business user, netting them a relatively low rating among enterprise users. The problem continues to this day with Google Cloud Platform and is part of the reason they’re still the underdog in the IaaS space, although it is a problem that’s being gradually addressed. Schmidt expressed confidence, however, that this issue would be solved and the creativity and unique needs of users would eventually take the reigns off of Google Cloud Platform.