Google Cloud Platform adds Canadian region in Montreal

Google Inc. is joining hyperscale public cloud infrastructure providers Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure in Montreal with the launch of its own Canadian region based there for Google Cloud Platform.

Google announced the new region at its Cloud Next event in San Francisco. Urs Holzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure for Google Cloud unveiled the new Montreal location alongside The Netherlands and California. The regions will come online “this year or next,” he said.

GCP planned to build 11 new cloud regions around the world this year, he said. Of those, Oregon and Tokyo are already live, Singapore and Northern Virginia are due to come online in the next few months, and Sydney and London will come online later this year.

After all of the above regions go live, GCP will have 17 regions worldwide and 50 zones. As defined by Google, a region is a specific geographic location where a client can run their compute resources. A region can be composed of one or more zones, which is an isolated location within that region.

It’s not yet clear when exactly the Canadian region will launch, says Jim Lambe, the country managers for Google Cloud Canada. But when it does, it will offer the full range of GCP services and will feature multiple zones. So why come to Canada now?

“We’ve reached a point where we’ve heard from so many customers,” he says. “This gives us the opportunity to extend the reach of our network deep into Canada and offer low latency.”

When asked if data residency concerns were part of the reason for opening the new reason, Lambe said it’s not the sole reason, but it is one of them.

“There’s a number of different organizations that have regulations about where data can reside,” he says. “Sometimes it’s just the preferences of the management team.”

The Montreal region provides GCP customers with lower latency if they’re nearby, and more scalability and disaster recovery options. It’s also already the location of a Google office and Lambe describes the tech community as “interesting and robust.”

Late last year Google made a $4.5 million investment over a three-year period to the Universite de Montreal and its Montreal Institute for Machine Learning. Lambe says this will be an opportunity to continue Google’s strategy to focus on differentiating itself with a focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“There’s a pretty significant quality of talent in Montreal,” he says.

In December, Amazon Web Services launched its first Canadian region. Microsoft Azure rolled out its Canadian region in March 2016. GCP will be the last hyperscale cloud provider to offer hosting on Canadian soil.

Its strengths compared to competitors includes the developer tools that it offers as well as a superior security framework, Lambe says. “It’s the architecture that’s built from the ground up with security in mind,” he says. “It’s a very high performance and highly secure environment.”

“It’s the architecture that’s built from the ground up with security in mind,” he says. “It’s a very high performance and highly secure environment.”

GCP has between 750-850 full-time engineers dedicated to security, he adds.

SAP partners with GCP

Also announced at Cloud Next, ERP vendor SAP AG announced it is partnering with Google. It will run its SAP HANA in-memory database service on GCP with automated provisioning.

SAP will also be using the Google Cloud Launcher Marketplace, sort of like a cloud app store for enterprises, to offer its developer version of SAP HANA, express edition. Also in the works is making SAP Cloud Platform available on GCP, with more details coming in a couple of months.

“In the initial release, SAP HANA is available on Google Cloud Platform on data centers in the United States, western Europe, and northern Asia Pacific regions.  The intention is to make it available globally, when the Google Cloud Platform becomes available in each region, such as Montreal, Canada,” an SAP spokesperson says.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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