Urs Holzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure at Google, speaks during the Google I/O 2014 conference in San Francisco. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

GCP Expands Data Center Reach to London

The Google Cloud Platform is growing, with new data centers popping up everywhere. Yesterday it announced that a new Google data center in London is now open for business. This comes on the heels of recent cloud data center openings in Australia and Singapore.

The company is working to catch up with Amazon Web Services, which is the reigning triple crown winner in the public cloud arena. At last count, AWS has 43 availability zones in 16 regions. With the addition of London, which adds three zones to Google’s global coverage, the search king’s cloud now weighs in with 30 zones in 10 regions.

Does this mean Google is gaining on Amazon in physical presence? Hard to tell. GCP has plans to expand to Frankfurt, the Netherlands, and Finland in Europe, and to four other cities worldwide. That will bring Google to 50 zones in 17 regions, which would put it a couple of lengths ahead in the data center race. However, Amazon has plans to build new data centers to cover an additional 11 zones and four more regions, enough to comfortably stay in the lead.

Google Cloud Platform data centers

Map of Google Cloud Platform’s existing and planned data centers (Image: Google)

Of course, there’s more to the public cloud business than the number of operational data centers. Plenty more. But having data centers located close to potential customers can make them…well, real customers. And there’s no shortage of potential customers in London. According to the Brookings Institution, the city has the fifth largest metropolitan economy on the planet.

See also: Oracle’s Hurd Bullish on Cloud Business, Says Enterprise Market Largely Untapped

“Incredible user experiences hinge on performant infrastructure,” Dave Stiver, product manager for Google Cloud Services explained in a blog announcing the opening. “GCP customers throughout the British Isles and Western Europe will see significant reductions in latency when they run their workloads in the London region. In cities like London, Dublin, Edinburgh, and Amsterdam, our performance testing shows 40%-82% reductions in round-trip time latency when serving customers from London compared with the Belgium region.”

The Google data center in London will offer compute, big data, storage, and networking services.

It’s notable that until yesterday the Belgium region was the closet region to the British Isles, which might’ve proved problematic for UK companies if Brexit is ever realized. According to Google, this was not a consideration, with GCP’s global president for cloud customers, Tariq Shaukat, telling Business Insider, “The decision pre-dates Brexit.”

See also: Can Google Lure More Enterprises Inside Its Data Centers?

If Brexit never comes to fruition, which seems to remain a possibility, GCP is already committed to compliance with all European Union regulations, including the privacy centered General Data Protection Regulation, which is set to take effect in May 2018.

“[W]e’ve worked diligently over the last decade to help customers directly address EU data protection requirements,” Stiver said. “Most recently, Google announced a commitment to GDPR compliance across GCP.”

As might be expected, the response to the announcement by UK business boosters has been effusive.

“Google’s decision to choose London for its latest Google Cloud Region is another vote of confidence in our world-leading digital economy and proof Britain is open for business,” Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport said in a statement. “It’s great, but not surprising, to hear they’ve picked the UK because of the huge demand for this type of service from the nation’s firms.”

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