“You add those two together, Google is the leader in that space,” McCormack said. “So effectively, I would say, we were making a strategic decision and a strategic bet that the areas that are important to Evernote today, and the areas we think will be important in the future, are the same areas that Google excels in.”
Machine learning was a highlight of Google’s platform for Evernote CTO Anirban Kundu, who said that higher-level services offered by Google help provide the foundation for new and improved features. Evernote has been driving toward a set of new capabilities based on machine learning, and Google services like its Cloud Machine Learning API help with that.
While cost is often touted as a benefit of cloud migrations, McCormack said that it wasn’t a primary driver of Evernote’s migration. While the company will be getting some savings out of the move, he said that cost wasn’t a limitation for the transition.
The decision to go with Google over another provider like AWS or Azure was driven by the technology team at Evernote, according to Greg Chiemingo, the company’s senior director of communications. He said in an email that CEO Chris O’Neill, who was at Google for roughly a decade before joining Evernote, came in to help with negotiations after the decision was made.
How it happened
Once Evernote signed its contract with Google in October, the clock was ticking. McCormack said that the company wanted to get the migration done before the new year, when users looking to get their life on track hammer the service with a flurry of activity.
Before the start of the year, Evernote needed to migrate 5 billion notes and 5 billion attachments. Because of metadata, like thumbnail images, included with those attachments, McCormack said that the company had to migrate 12 billion attachment files. Not only that, but the team couldn’t lose any of the roughly 3 petabytes of data it had. Oh yeah, and the Evernote service needed to stay up the entire time.
McCormack said that one of the Evernote team’s initial considerations was figuring out what core parts of its application could be entirely lifted and shifted into Google’s cloud, and what components would need to be modified in some way as part of the transition.
Part of the transformation involved reworking the way that the Evernote service handled networking. It previously used UDP Multicast to handle part of its image recognition workflow, which worked well in the company’s own data center where it could control the network routers involved.
But that same technology wasn’t available in Google’s cloud. Kundu said Evernote had to rework its application to use a queue-based model leveraging Google’s Cloud Pub/Sub service, instead.
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