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Google opens UK datacentre region to deliver low-latency cloud connections to enterprise

Internet search giant declares its UK datacentre region open for business, and promises users improved application performance

Google has opened its first UK-based datacentre region in London to give users of its cloud platform access to locally hosted versions of its core infrastructure and data analytics services.

The region is the 10th the internet search giant has opened to date, and will offer Google Cloud Platform customers access to key offerings from its big data, computer, networking and storage portfolios.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Ben Treynor, Google’s vice-president of engineering, said end-user demand for low-latency network connections was the key driver behind its decision to set up a server farm in London.

“We are here because our customers have asked us to be here – it is easy cause and effect,” he said. “And the reason they are asking us to be here principally is because of performance.”

To this end, UK-based Google Cloud Platform users who opt to host workloads and applications in the London region instead of the incumbent Belgium region will see marked improvements in performance, said Treynor.

“The latency from on-premise facilities in London to our new London cloud region is about eight milliseconds, whereas latency to our existing cloud region was around 15 milliseconds,” he said.

“Oftentimes, the programming model the folks will use, especially when they are in the process of moving from an on-premise infrastructure to a cloud-based infrastructure, means they will have to interact with both [types of environment].

“If you think about the programming model, you might have 50 round-trip interactions. Fifty times eight milliseconds – now we’re talking 400 milliseconds. That is quite perceptible for a user.

“If you were to cut the transaction from 15 milliseconds to eight, now you’ve got something that instead of taking a second, takes half a second.”

Read more about datacentre expansion plans

The London launch is part of an ongoing commitment made by Google in October 2016 to expand its datacentre footprint across the globe this year by bringing eight additional regions online.

Several of these new regions will be based in Europe, with Google set to open datacentres in Finland, Frankfurt and The Netherlands in the coming months.

Speaking at the launch event in London, Ronan Harris, UK managing director of Google, said the region would underpin the efforts of local innovators, dabbling in new and emerging fields of technology, such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

“This is a home of digital innovation and this announcement brings that innovation even closer to the great technologists, scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs that exist in the UK, and they are working today on the next industries,” he said. “This new infrastructure will enable and empower that even further.

“It is also going to empower existing businesses to be able to take advantage to drive productivity. It also underlines Google’s continued commitment to the UK.”

The news follows Oracle declaring its government-focused, UK cloud region open for business on Monday 11 July, as part of its push to boost the appeal of its services to public sector IT buyers.

It also comes some months after Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft opened UK datacentre regions to meet growing demand for locally hosted cloud services.

For Google, the opening of its UK region is the latest in a number of measures it has introduced to boost the enterprise appeal of its cloud platform, as it continues to battle with AWS and Microsoft for supremacy in the cloud software and infrastructure market.

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)