The public cloud arms race continued Thursday with news that Google has opened its latest cloud data facilities in London, a month after opening another set in Australia. The London location marks the tenth set of cloud computing centers the Internet search and ad company, which is trying to boost its public cloud business.
In the public cloud computing model pioneered by Amazon Web Services, a company rents computer servers, storage, and networking capacity to many customers. Each facility, referred to by techies as a “cloud region,” usually encompasses two or three data centers, each with its own power sources and security.
Many businesses are at least thinking about using these data center resources instead of building more data centers for themselves or augmenting their existing ones.
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In Europe, Google(GOOGL) already runs a region in Belgium with three more planned for Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland.
Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), and Google are taking turns announcing plans for new cloud facilities, and then re-announcing them as they go live. Amazon opened a Montreal region in December, while Microsoft set up shop in London last fall and plans to add cloud data centers in Africa next year.
There are practical reasons for this land grab. First, the closer a business is to its cloud data center, the faster the service is. Second, many countries have laws requiring companies to store customer data locally, not in a data center across the border.