Google to Open 12 Data Centers to Extend Its Cloud Footprint

Two new data centers will open this year while the remaining 10 will go online in 2017, Google officials said.

Google cloud data center

Google will add as many as 12 new data centers around the world through the end of 2017 as part of a major planned expansion of its cloud computing capabilities.

Two of the new data centers—one in Oregon and the other in Tokyo—will open later this year while the others will go online next year.

Each of the data centers, or regions as Google calls them, will serve multiple zones within a particular geographic area. The goal is to give enterprises more hosting options for meeting their service latency, availability and reliability options, Google product manager Varun Sakalkar wrote in a blog post announcing the planned expansion.

The new data centers will give enterprises using Google's cloud platform a way to deploy services closer to their customers, he said. "With these new regions, even more applications become candidates to run on Cloud Platform," Sakalkar said.

The data center in Tokyo will operate in beta mode for at least another month. Google is offering organizations interested in hosting their applications at the data center a way to participate as a beta customer. Similarly, organizations interested in the Oregon facility can sign up to participate in Google's early customer program for that region.

Sakalkar offered no details on how much Google is spending on the planned expansion. But this marks the second time in the past six months or so that the company has announced plans to expand its data center footprint.

Last October, Google opened a new data center in Berkeley County, S.C., which it is currently using to deliver a range of storage, database and infrastructure hosting services for customers on the East Coast. Then, as now, the company described the move as an effort to improve latency and service reliability for Google cloud customers in the region.

Google's planned data center expansion continues the company's efforts to better position its offerings in the booming market for enterprise cloud services. Last year, Google combined its various enterprise cloud offerings like Google Apps and Google for Work into one unit and hired Diane Greene, former CEO and founder of VMware, to run it.

At the time, Google CEO Sundar Pichai had described the move as an effort to bring together Google's disparate product, sales, marketing and engineering groups into a more cohesive business for cloud services.

Google is currently the fourth largest cloud services provider behind Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, according to recent market numbers from the Synergy Research Group. Along with Microsoft, Google is also by far the fastest-growing cloud services provider.

However, Google's 4 percent share of the global market for cloud services puts it far behind Amazon's 31 percent stake. At least part of the reason is that Google's cloud data center network isn't quite as extensive as that of Amazon and the other major cloud providers, according to Synergy.

The analyst firm recently reviewed the data center footprint of the 17 largest cloud service providers and found that the companies with the biggest presence were Amazon, IBM and Microsoft. Each of the three companies had at least 40 data centers around the world, with a minimum of two located in each of the four major regions of the world—North America, the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, and Latin America, Synergy said.

In contrast, Google currently operates a total of 14 data centers, nine of which are based in the United States, two in Asia and four in Europe. The planned expansion would bring it a lot closer to Amazon, IBM and Microsoft in terms of a data center footprint, but even then it would be considerably smaller.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.