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Google spins up Google Cloud Platform in Singapore

The search giant’s Singapore cloud region is its third one in Asia-Pacific, underscoring its ambition to challenge Amazon and Microsoft in a fast-growing public cloud market

Google has become the latest cloud service provider to expand its reach in Southeast Asia with the launch of a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) region in Singapore.

Speaking at a media briefing in Singapore, Diane Greene, chief of Google Cloud, said the Singapore GCP region will enable startups and enterprises to tap on a range of cloud services to grow their business and “build whatever will be the next big thing”.

“We’ve been building and operating cloud infrastructure for a long time, and our goals have remained the same for past 15 to 16 years – to make it easy to build and run great software, and acquire, manage and learn from data on a global scale reliably and securely,” she said.

While Google’s foray into Southeast Asia’s cloud infrastructure market may seem belated, Greene is confident that the technical advantages of GCP, such as analytics and machine learning, will win over customers, including large enterprises and startups alike.

Jordan Dea-Mattson, vice-president of engineering at peer-to-peer e-commerce startup Carousell, said GCP’s fast boot times of 32 seconds for each instance is a huge time-saver.

He also appreciates GCP’s per-second billing, which has enabled Carousell to spin up spot instances on demand. “If you need an instance for 61 minutes, you can have it,” he said.

Dea-Mattson added that Carousell is now looking at using GCP’s machine learning and big data analytics capabilities to speed up the time it takes for its users to post products, make price recommendations and even scan potential products in a household that could fetch a good price.

Meanwhile, Indonesia startup Go-Jek, which handles more than 100,000 transactions per second, is relying on GCP’s compute engine and big data analytics service to power its ride-hailing service.

Piotr Jakubowski, Go-Jek’s chief marketing officer, said the company is looking to reduce the service’s average response time of 50ms through the Singapore region.

While cloud-first companies such as Carousell and Go-Jek need little convincing to hop onto the cloud infrastructure bandwagon, it is a much harder sell for traditional enterprises.

Read more about cloud computing in Asean

According to a Gartner report on the global infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market, Google is still in the “rudimentary stages of learning to engage with enterprise and midmarket customers, especially those that are not technology-centric businesses”.

That is where Google’s partnerships with enterprise software suppliers such as SAP and Veritas come in.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Tariq Shaukat, president of Google Cloud, said partnerships with independent software vendors (ISVs)  are critical to Google’s strategy in growing GCP’s footprint in the region.

“With ISVs like SAP, we’re looking at joint solutions that marry SAP’s strengths in supply chains with our strengths in machine learning and AI to improve customer experience,” he said.

To allay any cloud security concerns among businesses, Google is also working towards securing Singapore’s Multi-Tier Cloud Security (MTCS) certification for Google Cloud. Formal approval of the certification by an approved certification body is expected in the coming months.

Besides Singapore, Google’s two other GCP regions in Asia-Pacific are Taiwan and Tokyo. According to Ovum’s ICT enterprise insights cloud survey for 2016/17, the public cloud market in Asia is expanding faster than other regions, with 70% of respondents stating that they will be using public cloud by 2018.

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