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Google Cloud expands APAC footprint, makes hybrid cloud move

Cloud supplier Google Cloud has opened its eighth Asia-Pacific cloud region in Seoul, where major cloud suppliers have been ramping up operations in recent years

Google Cloud is expanding its Asia-Pacific footprint with a cloud region in Seoul, South Korea, in a bid to meet the growing demand for cloud services in the region.

From early 2020, enterprises can start using the Seoul region, which is designed for high availability with three zones from the start to support key Google Cloud Platform (GCP) products.

At a media briefing on the sidelines of Google Cloud Next ’19 in San Francisco, Google executives said the demand from enterprises had led the company to expand its presence in Asia-Pacific.

Commenting on Google’s new cloud region in South Korea, the executives said the country has been a leader in telecommunications and IT, and world-famous in the gaming industry.

Google currently counts some of the largest South Korean firms as clients, such as Samsung, Netmarble, TMON, and LG’s IT services arm LG CNS.

Netmarble, South Korea’s largest gaming company, for instance, is using Google Cloud to support game development, manage infrastructure, and infuse business intelligence throughout their operations using Google Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery and Cloud ML Engine.

LG CNS is also using Google Cloud to save millions of dollars each year by using artificial intelligence (AI) to visually inspect LG’s manufacturing lines to improve product quality.

Seoul will be Google Cloud’s eighth region in Asia-Pacific. Google said it will help better serve both local customers looking to expand globally and multinational customers doing business in South Korea.

The cloud supplier is also planning to open new cloud regions in Osaka and Jakarta, Indonesia, where it has nabbed customers such as Tokopedia and Go-Jek, two of the country’s most prominent unicorn startups.

Since 2015, Go-Jek has been using GCP to power its entire microservices-based application infrastructure, which includes PostgreSQL databases, Kafka for its messaging bus, and edge proxies. It has since added Chef to manage application configuration and Ansible to manage system configurations.

Besides Google Cloud, rival Amazon Web Services (AWS) has also announced that it is working on a new cloud region in Indonesia.

The new region, AWS’s ninth in Asia-Pacific, will be based in Greater Jakarta. It comprises three availability zones, giving AWS customers and partners the ability to run their workloads and store their data in Indonesia.

According to TechTarget’s IT priorities 2019 survey, 30% of respondents in Asia-Pacific expect smaller budgets for on-premise servers, underscoring the shift in budgets towards cloud services.

The move to cloud, however, does not mean APAC enterprises are doing away with on-premise infrastructure completely.

Going by the results of the survey, the hybrid IT outlook is here to stay, with an equal number of respondents indicating their use of on-premise servers alongside cloud infrastructure offerings.

Against this backdrop, the likes of IBM, Red Hat and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise have all been touting their hybrid cloud capabilities.

At Next ’19, Google reiterated its hybrid cloud message with its Anthos platform – previously known as Cloud Services Platform – that is touted to make it easier to manage containerised applications across on-premise and public cloud environments, even rival ones.

Urs Hölzle, senior vice-president for technical infrastructure at Google, said Anthos would also enable application suppliers, including open source cloud database companies, to meet the needs of enterprises that are pursuing a hybrid and multi-cloud strategy.

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