Google: Our new distributed cloud can run from your datacenter to the network edge

Google fleshes out its cloud and 5G offerings for a world that's quickly erecting barriers over national security concerns.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google has unveiled a new 'distributed cloud' offering of hardware and software that it says can extend its cloud infrastructure into the customer's data centers and out to the edge of the network. 

The distributed cloud builds on Google's cloud-computing business as it it chases Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the public, hybrid and private cloud space. 

Google announced the Google Distributed Cloud Edge and Google Distributed Cloud Hosted offerings at its Google Cloud Next 2021 conference this week. 

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Google's distributed cloud products are built on its Anthos system, which is meant to simplify the management of hardware and virtual machines in Google Cloud, on-premise hardware, virtual machines in rival clouds, and edge devices where machine learning takes place. 

The service targets organizations doing digital transformation with the backing of Google's "planet-scale infrastructure" based on Anthos running on hardware managed by Google. It should help customers upgrade business applications that need to serve fast apps where their customers need to access data.   

"Using Google Distributed Cloud, customers can migrate or modernize applications and process data locally with Google Cloud services, including databases, machine learning, data analytics and container management," Google said in a blogpost

Spending on cloud computing was up by 30% this year, in the first quarter of 2021 hitting $41.8 billion, according to analyst firm Canalys. AWS was leading with a 32% share of spending, followed by Microsoft Azure (19%) and Google Cloud (7%). 

Google's cloud business is coming from a smaller base but it is growing fast, bringing in $4.63 billion in sales for the second quarter of 2021. It grew 53% year on year, helping halve the unit's operating losses from $1.43 billion to $591 million.   

The Google Distributed Cloud Edge is a managed service that brings Google Cloud's infrastructure and services closer to customers and their customers. 

It allows customers to run 5G and radio access network functions on edge devices where customers can deploy applications for computer vision, which should help retailers and manufacturers manage inventory and supplies. 

Cisco, Dell, HPE, and NetApp will support Google Distributed Cloud. Intel and NVIDIA hardware will also help deliver 5G and edge capabilities. Ericsson and Nokia are on board to support 5G deployments for edge networks. 

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The Google Distributed Cloud Hosted serves its efforts to build infrastructure that allows European customers to address digital sovereignty issues the EU is promoting. The European Commission has raised concerns over US laws, such as the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act, which doesn't sit well with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.  

"Google Distributed Cloud Hosted does not require connectivity to Google Cloud at any time to manage infrastructure, services, APIs, or tooling, and uses a local control plane provided by Anthos for operations. Google Distributed Cloud Hosted will be available in preview in the first half of 2022," Google notes. 

Google last month announced a deal with Germany's T-Systems to bring the Google Cloud Platform to German customers "on European terms". Last week it also announced a deal with Thales for a French "Trusted Cloud". It's also got a new trusted cloud deal with the cloud division of French carrier OVH, called OVHcloud.  

"Together, we are building a sovereign cloud services portfolio that provides clients with full control over their data, software and operations whilst leveraging the full power of Google Cloud and meeting the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation." said Sylvain Rouri, CSO at OVHcloud.   

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