Google has revealed an ambitious data centre expansion plan to grow from its current four regions to 16 when completed.
The search engine and cloud giant, a subsidiary of Alphabet, revealed the expansion strategy earlier this week, a day before welcoming its cloud-focused partners to its annual Next conference in San Francisco.
Each region is a self-contained data centre that offers multiple availability zones. Google Cloud facilities in operation now are in South Carolina, Iowa, Belgium and Taiwan. Later this year, Google is set to open new regions in Oregon and Japan.
But Google surprised many by revealing that those were just the first two of a dozen on the horizon – with 10 regions planned to light up on the network through 2017. Google did not reveal in which countries these would be situated, or whether Australia would get it first region.
Google has been on a roll since hiring Diane Greene, VMware's co-founder and former CEO, in November as its cloud chief.
There are signs that Greene will re-energise Google partner strategy. Earlier this year, Greene joined a customer meeting alongside US-based channel partner SADA Systems. Bloomberg reported SADA's chief executive, Tony Safoian, as saying it was the first time in nine years an executive of Greene's seniority had attended a customer meeting.
Google has also been courting partners by underwriting the costs of migrating midmarket customers currently locked into competing enterprise agreements with the likes of Microsoft. Major Australian partner Dialog IT has already jumped on the offer with a bundle to lure government users to Google For Work.
Google recently notched a big win in signing music-streaming service Spotify as a customer, and last week CRN USA reported that Apple had shifted hundreds of millions in spending from AWS to Google.
Google product manager Varun Sakalkar, in a blog post setting forth the expansion, said the regions are intended to help Google Cloud users deploy services and applications closer to where their customers reside, delivering lower latency and a more responsive experience.
That proximity to a larger base of end-users means more applications will be suited to run on Cloud Platform in the future, according to Sakalkar.
Synergy Research noted in a report released Monday, the day before Google's announcement, that Google was trailing other hyper-scale providers in overall footprint – a liability in the blood sport that has become the cloud market.
"Google lags far behind AWS and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure market, and at least part of that was down to having a cloud data centre network that wasn't as extensive," said John Dinsdale, Synergy's research director.
Amazon Web Services, IBM and Microsoft have established the broadest footprint, each with more than 40 data centres, with multiple facilities in several regions. AWS last week celebrated its 10th birthday – the company has maintained its first-mover advantage over that time, though its rivals have been catching up.
That Synergy report said more than half of the world's major data centers are in the US.