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Google Enhances Its Windows and Active Directory Hosting Offerings

Google announced on Wednesday that it's making it easier for organizations with Windows operating systems and Microsoft applications to move them onto its Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

For instance, organizations can use their existing Windows client and server software licensing on Google's infrastructure via Google's sole-tenant nodes, which is now available in some regions at the beta-testing stage. Licensing transfers will work with Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 and newer servers (but not Windows Server 2019), as well as Windows 7 SP1 x64 and Windows 10 Enterprise x64 clients.

Sole-tenant nodes is a Google Compute Engine option that appears to be similar to the "dedicated" (nonshared) infrastructure option available on Microsoft Azure. Here's how a Google document defined it:

Sole-tenant nodes are physical Compute Engine servers that are dedicated to hosting VM instances only for your specific project; that is, these servers are dedicated to just your workloads.

It's possible to move the licensing for Microsoft applications, such as Exchange Server and SharePoint Server, onto the GCP, too. However, for those applications, organizations would instead use the Microsoft License Mobility for Google Cloud Platform option, according to this Google document.

Workloads can get moved to the GCP using Google's Velostrata migration tool. In a "couple of weeks," Google plans to add the capability to move "Microsoft workloads that require sole tenancy, and to automatically apply existing licenses," Google's announcement explained. 

Google's Active Directory Managed Service
In addition, Google announced its Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory, which is currently at the alpha test level. It's Microsoft's Active Directory identity and access management solution hosted from Google's servers, perhaps equivalent to Microsoft's Azure Active Directory service. Google described it as a "highly available hardened service running actual Microsoft Active Directory." Organizations can connect their local Active Directory environments to Google's managed service. Google currently offers this sign-up page to get notified when Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory will be available at the beta-test stage.

Google also announced that its Cloud SQL service, which provides access to a relational database server (such as MySQL or PostgreSQL), as managed by Google, has been expanded to also include support for Microsoft SQL Server. Cloud SQL support for Microsoft SQL Server is currently at the alpha release level, but pricing is already listed.

For more information on Google's hosting support for Microsoft software, see Google's "Windows on Google Cloud Platform" landing page.

Other Google Identity Management News
Google announced other identity and access management news on Wednesday. For instance, its Identity Platform service for adding identity and access management protections to applications is now "generally available." Identity Platform is renamed from the earlier "Cloud Identity for Customers and Partners" product name.

Also, Google's Cloud Identity security solution is getting new features, such as single sign-on with password vaulting, automated lifecycle management for employees and a new dashboard. These features "will be generally available in the coming months," Google indicated.

Google also announced the launch of the BeyondCorp Alliance, which consists of "endpoint security and management partners" working on device security. The initial alliance participants include Check Point, Lookout, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec and VMware.

BeyondCorp is a zero-trust security model for devices that was started by Google. It's used to avoid virtual private networks for remote access. BeyondCorp has become a "context-aware access" service that's offered from the GCP, providing proxy services and single sign-on access, as well as device security policies.

Lastly, Google announced that context-aware access capabilities have been added to its Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy service at the general availability stage. Context-aware access capabilities also were added to the Cloud Identity service at the beta-testing stage. The new capabilities add protections for accessing Google's G Suite productivity apps.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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