Posted July 13, 2017
Google has revealed it has built a London data centre for the cloud computing services it rents to third parties.
The facility is its second in Europe, after Brussels, and promises to provide faster access times to nearby clients. Google is currently the third most capable cloud computing service provider, according to a recent study.
But the report, by Gartner, suggested Amazon and Microsoft had a clear lead. The technology consultancy added that in terms of sales to the "cloud infrastructure as a service" market, Google's share was also a "distant third".
Until now, the search giant has focused on opening data centres for its cloud computing platform in the US and Asia, where it has bases in Singapore, Taiwan and Tokyo.
But in announcing the London centre, it also disclosed plans to open facilities in Finland, the Netherlands and Frankfurt.
"GCP [Google Cloud Platform] customers throughout the British Isles and Western Europe will see significant reductions in latency when they run their workloads in the London region," said product manager Dave Stiver, referring to processing delays caused by the distances data has to travel.
"In cities like London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam, our performance testing shows 40% to 82% reductions in round-trip latency when serving customer from London compared with the Belgium region."
A spokeswoman for the company added that the decision to build a London centre had been taken before the Brexit vote and was therefore unrelated to speculation that the UK's data privacy laws may diverge from the EU's in the future.
Google's platform allows clients to offload data processing tasks and information storage, including support for apps they may offer to the public and analysing feedback gathered from internet-connected devices.
By charging customers for the amount of compute time they use rather than a flat rate, Google seeks to provide IT departments with a cheaper alternative to maintaining their own data centres.
The company's existing customers include the Telegraph newspaper, Coca-Cola and the online education service Khan Academy.
At present, GCP offers fewer features than Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, but it is catching up, according to Gartner.
"Google uses deep discounts and exceptionally flexible contracts to try to win projects from customers that are currently spending significant sums of money with cloud competitors," its June report said.