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HomeCloud ComputingStephanie Wong’s guide to #GoogleCloudNext 2021

Stephanie Wong’s guide to #GoogleCloudNext 2021

You might be thinking, “Wait, Google Cloud Next is in October this year?” and “Wait, it’s already October?” Well, if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that odd schedules and wearing sweats to work are the new norm – allbeltsbets are off. So get ready because #GoogleCloudNext is coming up from Oct 12-14th on a virtual screen near you (yes, you can keep your sweats on!). We’ll start each morning with a live, must-see broadcast and keynote. Then, as the day rolls on, it’s up to you to explore our live, interactive expert Q&As, breakout sessions, and demos. 

While the session catalog is up, not everyone has the time to explore it in full. So I’ll share my top sessions in each product category so you can get to the heart of our launches, best customer stories, and hands-on learning. You can also check out my playlist on the Next website to easily access sessions and add them to your own playlist


GENKEY1 Opening keynote

How could the opening keynote not be at the top of my list? Google Cloud CEO, Thomas Kurian, will share his insights on how businesses can leverage cloud technology to build for the future. He’ll talk about how our products have helped customers adapt to complexities, challenges, and lead to opportunities. I can’t reveal too much just yet, but expect to hear about our biggest launches, captivating customer stories, and TK’s view on Google Cloud’s future. Keep an eye out for some exciting cameos as well! 

DEVKEY1 Developer keynote 

I’m excited to see Urs Hölzle and Aparna Sinha take the stage. Urs has been at Google for more than 25 years and oversees the design and operation of the servers, networks, and data centers that power our global services. Aparna is the Director of Product at Google Cloud for App Development Platforms. Both are incredibly experienced at building cloud technologies and the very infrastructure that supports our complex operations. You’ll hear from the developers who are bringing these innovations to life, Google Cloud’s vision for the top three technologies trends, and how cloud computing will evolve over the next decade. 

And don’t miss the Live Q&A hosted by my teammates Aja Hammerly and Priyanka Vergadia.

Data analytics and databases

SPTL102 Data Cloud: Simply transform with a universal data platform

Welcome to my spotlight session! Gerrit Kazmaier, VP & GM of Databases & Analytics joins me as we introduce the future of data, analytics, and AI at Google Cloud. In this keynote, we’ll focus on how organizations are simplifying and unifying data across transactional, processing and open source tools. We’ll also highlight our latest technology innovations for products including BigQuery, Spanner, Looker, and Vertex AI. Don’t miss it because there will be a live demo. 

Check out the Live Q&A afterwards to interact with the speakers. 

DA202 Take me into the ballgame

162 games a year and a treasure trove of player statistics – the Major League Baseball is chock full of data. MLB is reimagining the fan experience with their data cloud. MLB consolidated its infrastructure and migrated to Google Cloud’s Anthos, Google Kubernetes Engine, Cloud SQL, BigQuery, and Looker. MLB tracks every moment of every game for an audience on seven continents with Cloud SQL, allowing them to use this valuable data to drive deeper engagement with fans today and in the future. Don’t miss this session to hear from the Sr. Director of Software Engineering for Statcast Data, Rob Engel and Product Marketing for Data Analytics, Aditi Mishra. 

LH100 10 billion games, play-by-play insights

This session stood out to me – I, along with many of you, was glued to watching Netflix’s series, The Queen’s Gambit last year. Few of us realize, however, the surge in online chess playing the show caused. Chess.com saw a rapid spike in traffic, and worked with Google Cloud to create innovative experiences for +70M players. This session will dive into how Chess.com provides planet-scale gaming with Google Cloud to support over 10 million live games per day – and draws on its database of 10 billion matches to power real-time, in-game insights for players, and data-driven innovations for its platform.

If you want to hear more about the inner workings and latest for analytics and managed database offerings (like BigQuery, Cloud SQL, and Spanner), check out DA301, DBS205, and ​​DBS203.


AI105 What’s new and what’s next with infra for AI and ML

You’ll learn from Product Managers, Chelsie Czop (Peterson) and Omkar Pathak about the new cloud machine learning (ML) infrastructure and accelerator innovations this year. They’ll paint a picture about the realms of possibilities that open up with Google Cloud’s ML and GPU capabilities.

DA200 Build and interactive ML app w/ Looker and Vertex AI

My talented teammates Sara Robinson and Leigha Jarett are known for their work building creative applications for ML and data analytics, like baking recipes andBigQuery reference guides. In this session, they’ll go through how to leverage Looker’s extension framework to build a custom user experience that empowers business users to explore the results of data science applications built in Google Cloud. Using Vertex AI, they’ll deploy a demand forecasting model that exports results into your BigQuery data warehouse. With Looker’s prebuilt UI components, data practitioners can easily construct a purpose-built application where end users can enter in parameters, run an ML model, visualize the output, and make informed business decisions that impact enterprise strategy and accelerate time to value.

Plus check out LP106, the ML and AI learning path to get hands on with BigQuery, TensorFlow, Cloud Vision, Natural Language API, and more.

SPTL100 The path to invisible security

Here’s your chance to listen to our very own Chief Information Security Officer, Phil Venables. He’s just been appointed to the US Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for his work in security, and he’s teaming up with VP of Security at Google Cloud, Sunil Potti for this session. They’ll discuss how to engineer security directly into your applications and platforms to eliminate entire classes of threats without friction. They’ll introduce the Invisible Security Vision, and discuss the key capabilities that can make it a reality. 

SEC212 6 Layers of GCP data center security

You might remember I made a video about Google’s data center security. If not, you might imagine it’d be about lasers, night vision cameras, and military grade fences. You’re not too far off because security is one of the most critical elements of our data centers’ DNA. I am one of the rare Googlers to visit one. During this session, I’ll take you on a journey to the core of a data center, to show you the six layers of physical security designed to thwart unauthorized access. You’ll also hear about how those layers transcend into Google Cloud’s logical security controls that make Google Cloud one of the most robust enterprise risk management platforms.

If you want to hear more about protected storage, securing the software supply chain, and data encryption, I recommend SEC101, SEC204, SEC207, and SEC300

Application development

SPTL101 Extend the value of cloud investments anywhere with Google Cloud

Our GM and VP of Product for IaaS, Sachin Gupta, and VP of Product, Application Modernization Platform, Jeff Reed, have been working together to deliver the leading public cloud offering. Based on the growing needs of organizations around the world, Google Cloud is extending cloud services to address more complex and unique use cases —from datacenter to the edge. They’re gong to dive into strategies that can help you modernize your people, processes, and applications to take full advantage of the distributed cloud from Google. Bring your questions after for a live Q&A, SPTL101QA.

SPTL121 Unleash the Innovators!

SVP, Urs Hölzle, and Sr. Director, Jeana Jorgenson, are bringing exciting announcements just for developers. This session is a quick recap of the week’s developer news – with  some “new news” as well, hear a few candid thoughts from Urs Hölzle on the importance of the developer community, and get a quick rundown of what to expect during Day 3 of Next, Community Day.

LD101 Extend Google Cloud’s infrastructure and services anywhere

Show, don’t just tell right? You’ve probably heard about the multicloud value of Anthos, but let’s see this in practice. I’m looking forward to this session because it will be an  interactive demo highlighting Google’s latest innovations in application modernization and infrastructure in a distributed cloud environment. It’ll show you how to modernize apps with cloud-native services (like Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) Autopilot, Anthos, Cloud Run, and developer tools). And the demo will show how using Google’s AI/ML and analytics capabilities at the edge will bring the data processing closer to the data creating real-time insights across environments, while maintaining security and privacy.

APP202 What’s next in Kubernetes

In the beginning, Kubernetes aimed to provide users around the world with the tools to run their applications at scale. Google and the Kubernetes community created a shared vision for a platform with the flexibility to grow and shift, serving the needs of many different business types. While our engineers work within the contributor community to develop new capabilities, GKE has grown accordingly in the areas of multicluster deployments, improvements to support batch or AI and machine learning workloads, and much more. You’ll hear the latest features coming to the Kubernetes project that can help you scale your operations.

Plus check out LP102, the Kubernetes, hybrid, and multicloud learning path. If you’re interested in our work with the open source community, check out our interactive session GCD113


INF300 Choosing the right VM family type for your workload

I always love sessions that guide you through the best compute option based on your workload. It’s a common question we get from the cloud community. With the addition of new VM types like our Tau Family there are additional ways to optimize for both compute power and cost. If you’re wondering whether you’re using the best possible cloud compute resource for your workloads, they’ll discuss the different Compute Engine machine families in detail and provide guidance on what factors to consider when choosing your virtual machine type.

GCD101 Making infrastructure invisible for Application Developers

Check out this interactive session to speak with our experts about how storage can take care of failover and disaster recovery with automated data replication, and how networking can remove the complexity of traffic management and load balancing as your userbase grows. You’ll leave the conversation with answers to your most critical infrastructure questions and a list of capabilities you can leverage right away. 

Plus check out LP100, the cloud infrastructure learning path to learn Google Cloud’s approach to infrastructure and implementing, deploying, migrating, and maintaining applications.

Diversity equity and inclusion

Diversity is a critical component to innovation, so we’ve again included a series of DEI focused sessions at Next. When we bring people together with a variety of experiences, background, and beliefs, we can achieve more. So check out sessions like: 

SPT106 How to build a diverse workforce that thrives and innovates with psychological safety

SPTL120 A conversation with Vint Cerf and Jim Hogan on disability in tech

Leaders from Accenture, and even one of the founders of the internet, Vint Cerf, will talk about the importance of psychological safety and neurodiversity in the workplace.

Check out my playlist along with other expert-curated playlists on the Next website, and don’t forget to build your own. You can also explore the session catalog and click the Filter option at the top right to filter by:

CategoryLearning levelTrackIndustry/interestsAnd job role

See you at #GoogleCloudNext 2021. I’ll be active on social media throughout the event, so be sure to share your experience with me @stephr_wong

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