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Google ups investment in cloud infrastructure

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Google has started 2018 by splashing the cash on its cloud infrastructure business, with five new data centres to add to the map and three subsea cables.

While the Google Cloud business unit will always be the little brother in the family tree, it is far from a burden. The last couple of years has seen the business grow from strength to strength, mopping up new revenues as the world transitions to the cloud. The team claims it has pumped $30 billion into cloud infrastructure over the last three years, and announcements like this imply the big spending will continue. If it is to adequately compete with market leader AWS, such spending is necessary.

“These new investments expand our existing cloud network,” said Ben Treynor Sloss VP, 24×7 at Google. “The Google network has over 100 points of presence and over 7,500 edge caching nodes. This investment means faster and more reliable connectivity for all our users.

“Simply put, it wouldn’t be possible to deliver products like Machine Learning Engine, Spanner, BigQuery and other Google Cloud Platform and G Suite services at the quality of service users expect without the Google network. Our cable systems provide the speed, capacity and reliability Google is known for worldwide, and at Google Cloud, our customers are able to to make use of the same network infrastructure that powers Google’s own services.”

Starting with the regions, the Netherlands and Montreal will be opened up in the first quarter, while Los Angeles, Finland, and Hong Kong will follow later on in the year. The door has also been left open for other new assets across 2018. The five additional data regions will take the total up to 18, will take Google on par with AWS, which does have four more planned for 2018 though.

While it is not unusual for the cloud infrastructure arms race to continue into 2018, you should not be surprised to see more data centres being opened in Europe over the coming months. Considering the sensitivity of European data protection laws, and the introduction of new regulations (EU GDPR) in a couple of months, localisation of data storage and applications will be crucial.

Here, Google is beefing its European presence, while AWS recently announced further availability zones in its EU:London region and it shouldn’t be too long before you see an announcement from Microsoft, IBM and the rest.

Now onto the subsea cables, which will be known as the Curie cable (named after scientist Marie Curie), the Havfrue cable (Danish for mermaid) and HK-G cable. All three will come online in 2019.

The Curie cable will be privately owned by Google and will connect Chile to Los Angeles. Havfrue, a consortium cable with Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure, will run the US to Denmark and Ireland, coming online in late 2019. The HK-G, an acronym for Hong Kong-Guam, is another consortium cable interconnecting major subsea communication hubs in Asia. For the final cable, Google will be working with RTI-C and NEC, while it will also increase capacity at the new Hong Kong region.

AWS is still the dominant market leader in the burgeoning cloud sector, but with such investments made into its own infrastructure, Google can mount a very capable challenge to the status quo.

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