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Google will host SAP's HANA in-memory database on its cloud platform, one of a number of partnerships announced at the Google Cloud Next event that are designed to appeal to enterprise customers.

Google Cloud is considered the third largest infrastructure cloud provider, after market leader Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The company has invested heavily in closing the gap since appointing former VMware CEO Diane Greene to head up its enterprise business, with commitments to building more cloud data centres globally, as well as adding functionality to make its cloud products more enterprise-friendly.

At its second annual customer conference in San Francisco, Greene highlighted a number of large enterprises now using its cloud services – with Home Depot, Disney and HSBC among those taking to the stage. And as part of its plans to attract more large businesses to its platform, Google revealed partnerships with a range of vendors, most notably German enterprise resource planning vendor SAP.

"We have been working with SAP over the course of the last year and the more we work together the more we see that we can do," Greene told the 10,000 attendees at Google's event in San Francisco.

SAP HANA is now generally available on Google Cloud with full support for existing SAP contracts. The partnership includes support for the on-demand HANA express edition, aimed at developers.

Going forward, the two vendors will also collaborate on creating compliance and data governance tools to aid businesses in moving workloads to the cloud and there are plans in place to work together on integrating machine learning capabilities.

"It is just a starting point and you can expect to hear from our two companies," said Bernd Leukert, member of the executive board at SAP.

Customer support

Having announced its Customer Reliability Engineering (CRE) service last year, Google revealed changes to its support model, introducing flat-fee subscriptions with greater flexibility.

Its new role-based service has three tiers: a response within four to eight hours for $100 per user a month, one-hour response times for critical issues at $250 per user, and on-call support which promises a 15-minute response time at $1,500 per user a month.

The support model will replace the previous model of 'gold' and 'silver' tiers with a support that links directly to cloud usage. Customers will also be able to mix and match support levels across an organisation depending on individual need.

Cloud Foundry platform as a service provider Pivotal was unveiled as Google's first CRE technology partner. The two companies will work together to ensure high reliability of Cloud Foundry deployments.

Meanwhile, Google will work together with Rackspace to provide managed support for Google Cloud. Rackspace – which already provides managed services for AWS, Azure and OpenStack – is building out its Google Cloud practice, and will provide cloud architecture guidance, onboarding and data migration expertise.

Addressing the cloud skills gap

The partnerships follow the recently announced collaboration with online education provider Coursera, which will launch a series of on-demand Google Cloud training courses, ranging from beginner to advanced.

It is part of a wider move to support the development of cloud skills. This includes the recent acquisition of Qwiklabs, which provides training both online and in the classroom. At Cloud Next 2017, Google also announced that it has acquired Kaggle, a community of data scientists and machine learning enthusiasts, aimed at 'democratising' AI development skills.

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