Exploring Google Anthos: A Complete Guide to the Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Platform

Integrating cloud concepts in every software industry is becoming a vital part. Thus, to keep up with these changes, platforms like Google Cloud continue to offer various services and expand.

One search service is Google Anthos – a service that helps ease the complexity of managing workloads across multiple clouds. 

What is the Google Cloud Anthos, and how does it work?

Anthos is the first-ever multi-cloud platform backed by a major cloud provider- Google. With Anthos, you can now run Kubernetes, Istio, Knative, and other workloads consistently across various public clouds and on-premises data centers.

With native support for Google Cloud, Amazon, and on-premises deployments, Anthos provides you with the flexibility and freedom to run your applications on any infrastructure you choose.

What are the main use cases of Google Cloud Anthos?

Google Anthos can fit various scenarios to help you streamline your cloud network and handle workloads consistently on multiple networks. Let’s look at some use cases to help you understand better how Anthos works.

  1. 1

    A flexible hybrid cloud solution for container orchestration and management

    Anthos provides a consistent experience for the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters, with a common set of tools and services hosted in the cloud. This enables you to scale your container workloads to the cloud for extra, on-demand capacity.

  2. 2

    Upgrade Your CI/CD Process with Anthos

    By leveraging Anthos, you can modernize your application configuration, policy management, deployment automation, and continuous integration with the help of your company's skilled Kubernetes and Google Cloud engineers.

  3. 3

    Migrate Cloud Foundry Applications with Kf

    It helps to embark on a phased migration journey in two phases. The first phase concentrates on standardizing the application platform while the latter focuses on modernizing the applications.

  4. 4

    Upgrading existing Java applications through Anthos

    Anthos can modernize existing Java applications through a three-stage process. It involves lifting and modernizing compatible applications from running on VMs to running on containers without the need to rewrite any code.

What are the key features of Google Cloud Anthos?

  • Open-source platform

    By being open-source, Anthos provides you the flexibility to run applications unmodified on the public cloud or on-premises hardware to enjoy the benefits of an open platform without compromising security.

  • Flexible work environment

    Google Anthos provides help you run applications on-premise while being service provider agnostic. Users may now use alternative cloud platforms besides Google's Cloud Platform, like Amazon, Azure, and others. 

  • Auto-scaling

    Google Anthos helps you auto-scale, where you pay only for what you use by resizing the number of nodes based on traffic. That means that Anthos can help to optimize costs by automatically scaling resources up or down. 

  • Consistency                                                                                          

    Google Anthos design provides a consistent user experience across Kubernetes platforms. With Anthos, you can focus on a single technology and gain operational consistencies across hybrid and public clouds. 

What are the Building Blocks of Google Cloud Anthos?

  1. 1

    GKE On-Prem

    GKE On-Prem allows fully managed Kubernetes clusters in your data center, alongside cloud-based clusters in the GCP console.

    Designed for on-premises deployment on VMware vSphere, it supports additional hypervisors, Kubernetes version upgrades, and security patches are taken care of. 

  2. 2

    Google Kubernetes Engine

    Anthos is centered on GKE, which manages Kubernetes clusters and applications, monitors them, and allows load switching between on-premises and the cloud.

    GKE lets you allocate compute resources, scale deployment and integrate UnionFS, control groups, and namespaces.

  3. 3


    Istio allows for creating a unified service mesh that connects GCP, third-party clouds, and databases and provides load balancing, traffic management, and cluster monitoring.

    It includes features such as circuit-breakers, retries, and fast failure recovery, and simplifies cluster creation and operations. 

  4. 4

    GKE Hub

    GKE Hub, networking component of Anthos, facilitates the connection between Google Cloud Services Platform, other cloud providers, and on-premises data GKE clusters. With GKE, you can access data across a multi-cloud deployment and monitor all Kubernetes clusters on a single interface.

  5. 5

    Anthos config management

    Anthos Config Management simplifies the deployment and maintenance of Kubernetes clusters in different environments, providing enterprise-level security through a centralized Git repository.

    It supports Kubernetes configuration formats and allows the management of multiple clusters while streamlining configuration policy processes.

Anthos vs. Kubernetes: key differences and similarities?


  • Anthos is a step up from Kubernetes and manages the problem of multiple clusters, whereas Kubernetes is a proper cloud-agnostic solution leader in Docker management.

  • Anthos can enforce uniform policies and upgrades across multiple clusters, enable managed Kubernetes anywhere, and direct access to Google SREs for troubleshooting and remediation, but it is an expensive solution.


  • Both solutions are container orchestration platforms.

  • Both support Docker containers.

  • Both have auto-scaling and self-healing capabilities.

  • Both can run on any cloud platform.

  • Both require expertise to manage.

  • Both require resources to set up on-prem clusters.

Factors for choosing between Kubernetes and Anthos

The choice between Anthos and Kubernetes depends on the number of resources and clusters needed.

Anthos is suitable for organizations with numerous clusters in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. At the same time, Kubernetes is a simple solution for small companies with a few clusters on the same cloud platform.

Google Anthos vs. AWS Outposts vs. Azure Stack: Which platform is better?

When it comes to hybrid cloud offerings, the major cloud providers offer Google Anthos, AWS Outposts, and Azure Stack. Let's take a closer look at the differences between these products:

Multi-Cloud Support

  • Google Anthos: Google Anthos is a cloud and vendor-agnostic Kubernetes distribution that can run on any public cloud, making it easy to migrate between clouds because all cloud providers natively support Kubernetes. 

  • Azure Stack: Only works with the Microsoft Azure cloud and cannot be integrated with other public clouds.

  • AWS Outposts: This does not support other clouds apart from Amazon and doesn't provide an easy way to migrate workloads to any other cloud provider.

Hardware Options

  • Google Anthos: Partnerships with Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE, Intel, NetApp, and many other hardware makers allow it to work with almost any on-premises hardware you already own.

  • Azure Stack: Only works on servers certified by Microsoft, most of them hardened appliances designed for Azure Stack. This means you'll need to purchase specialized hardware.

  • AWS Outposts: A managed service that only works on fully managed hardware devices designed and supported by AWS.

Deployment Effort

  • Google Anthos: Your organization is responsible for setting up on-premises hardware and deploying Anthos.

  • Azure Stack: Your organization is similarly responsible for preparing hardware and deploying the Azure Stack software. However, Azure Stack Edge is a managed appliance you can deploy in your data center with minimal setup.

  • AWS Outposts: A fully managed appliance that Amazon ships to your data center, installs, and operates, requiring almost no deployment effort from your organization.

A step-by-step guide to set up and configure Anthos on Google Cloud

  1. 1

    First, you need to log onto your GCP account.

  2. 2

    Create a new project or select an existing one.

  3. 3

    Ensure that the project has billing enabled.

  4. 4

    Navigate to the API section and enable the Anthos API.

  5. 5

    Next step is to register the cluster to the fleet in the Cloud Console. Go to the Anthos Clusters page to display all your registered clusters.

  6. 6

    Click on “Register existing cluster”

  7. 7

    To add an unregistered cluster to your fleet, click the "Register" button next to it.

  8. 8

    Lastly, configure Anthos to use the features you want to enable, such as Anthos Service Mesh, Anthos Config Management, and Anthos Identity and Access Management.

What are the different pricing models offered by Google Anthos?

Google Cloud Anthos is available on two pricing models: pay-as-you-go and monthly subscription, both of which offer commitment-based discounts.

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing for cloud-based customers

    Under the pay-as-you-go model, you will be charged $8 per cluster vCPU per month, regardless of the public cloud platform where the workload runs. The cost is reduced to $6 per cluster vCPU monthly for subscription-based users.

  • Subscription-based pricing for cloud-based customers

    For on-premises customers running on VMware or bare metal, the pay-as-you-go cost rises to $24 per cluster vCPU. However, the commitment-based discounts apply to both on-premises and cloud customers.

  • Free trial offer

    There is also a free trial offer where you get $800 for a maximum of 30 days.

What are the benefits and limitations of Google Cloud Anthos?


  • Faster adaptation to changes: It can help to implement a full CI/CD process with automatic deployment can result in a shorter delivery process, fewer errors, and increased team responsiveness. 

  • Better performance and lower costs: It is important to separate the application into microservices to ensure efficient resource allocation and avoid performance issues affecting the entire website.

  • Secure application lifecycle: Anthos offers best practices for security throughout the entire application lifecycle to ensure top-notch security for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.


  • GKE Hosting Limitations: Anthos can be hosted on-premises or on VMs using Anthos GKE On-Prem, which is currently limited to vSphere data centers.

  • Resource requirements: Anthos may require significant hardware, network connectivity, and personnel resources to manage effectively.

  • Learning curve: There may be a learning curve for new teams to Kubernetes or Anthos, which could slow adoption or implementation.

Best practices to get the most out of Google Cloud Anthos for your business

  • Begin by grasping your company's requirements and the issues you hope to resolve using Anthos.

  • Ensure your team has the knowledge and tools to manage and use Anthos successfully.

  • Ensure your infrastructure, including networking and security, is in place.

  • Create a robust DevOps procedure that involves deployment, testing, and continuous integration.

  • To manage and automate configuration across all environments, use the Anthos Configuration Management tool.

  • Employ Anthos Service Mesh to provide your microservices with more visibility, management, and security.

  • Use Stackdriver or other tools to implement suitable monitoring and logging procedures to identify and resolve issues swiftly.

  • Regularly review and optimize your Anthos deployment to ensure it meets your business goals and objectives.

Key Takeaways

As organizations mature in the cloud, multi cloud and hybrid architectures are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Thus, Anthos and similar services offered by AWS and Azure are paving the way for the next phase of cloud computing.

This new era will prioritize the development of resilient containerized applications that can be deployed across various environments, focusing on abstracting deployment environments.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of ITCertificate.org

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