Google Launches First East Coast Cloud Region in S. Carolina Data Center
Google’s infrastructure team is experimenting with using this rainwater retention pond as a source of water for the South Carolina data center’s cooling system. (Photo: Google)

Google Launches First East Coast Cloud Region in S. Carolina Data Center

Brings number of cloud regions to four, remains far behind AWS and Azure in terms of physical reach

Google has launched a new cloud region at its South Carolina data center, which is the first Google cloud region hosted on the East Coast of the US, the company announced Thursday. It now provides public cloud infrastructure services out of four data centers, two in the US, one in Belgium, and one in Taiwan.

It is important for a public cloud provider, especially one that provides general-purpose cloud infrastructure services, to have as many locations that host the underlying servers as possible. More locations means customers have more choice when setting up their cloud infrastructure.

Some replicate cloud VMs across multiple remote locations for better reliability. For some users location is important because of security or compliance concerns. Organizations in some industries, such as healthcare or government, are required to host their data within country borders. In many cases, physical proximity of servers to end users also means better performance and lower data transport costs.

While often mentioned as one of the biggest pubic cloud providers, along with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, the list of Google data centers that host its cloud infrastructure services is much shorter than the two other providers’. AWS has four regions in the Americas (plus one more just for government customers), two in Europe, and four in Asia Pacific.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud is served out of more locations than either of its two big competitors’ clouds: seven in the Americas (plus two government cloud regions), two in Europe, and nine in Asia Pacific. Three of its Asia Pacific regions – central, south, and west India – came online only recently and were announced earlier this week.

There are 14 Google data centers around the world the company has talked about publicly, so the internet giant doesn’t have to start from scratch and build a new data center every time it needs to add a new cloud region.

Google launched its Berkeley County, South Carolina, data center in 2008, and in 2013 announced a $600 million expansion project at the site. Here's a video tour of the Google data center in South Carolina.

Google’s second US cloud region is in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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