How A Dozen New Data Centers Will Benefit Google Partners

The ambitious data center expansion plan Google revealed Tuesday will be a boon for partners selling Google Cloud Platform, not only by putting cloud servers closer to large swaths of potential customers, but also by reinforcing a powerful narrative of rapid growth in the hyper-competitive market.

The build-out -- which will take Google from its current four regions to 16 when completed -- will improve the platform's availability, deliver far greater geographic reach and give partners an effective marketing pitch to win discerning customers, according to Google partners.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based cloud vendor, a subsidiary of Alphabet, revealed the expansion strategy a day before welcoming its cloud-focused partners to its annual Next conference in San Francisco.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: These Are The Changes Coming To Google's Partner Program]

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"Microsoft touts the number of data centers and clusters as a competitive advantage," Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Google and Microsoft partner based in Westborough, Mass, told CRN.

"As Google opens more data centers, the capacity and economies of scale will grow," Falcon said.

For Google's partners, that means they can advertise improved services with greater availability. They can also leverage a stronger competitive position in the market to close deals, Falcon said.

Each region is a self-contained data center that offers multiple availability zones. Google Cloud facilities in operation now are in South Carolina, Iowa, Belgium and Taiwan.

Later this year, Google is set to open new regions in Oregon and Japan.

But Google surprised many by revealing Tuesday that those were the first two of a dozen on the horizon -- with 10 regions planned to light up on the network through 2017.

Rajesh Abhyankar, CEO of MediaAgility, a Google partner based in Princeton, N.J., that specializes in advanced data projects, told CRN the build-out, after the hire of Diane Greene to lead the cloud business, gives partners confidence that Google is competing to win.

"What continues to attract us to Google as a partner is their focus on what's next," Abhyankar said. "We rely on the power of this platform to build amazing experiences for our customers, especially around big data and the new machine learning capabilities."

Google's been on a roll since hiring Greene, VMware's co-founder and former CEO, in November.

The Internet giant recently notched a big win in signing music-streaming service Spotify as a customer, and last week CRN reported that Apple had shifted hundreds of millions in spending from AWS to Google.

Google product manager Varun Sakalkar, in a blog post setting forth the expansion, said the regions are intended to help Google Cloud users deploy services and applications closer to where their customers reside, delivering lower latency and a more responsive experience.

That proximity to a larger base of end-users means more applications will be suited to run on Cloud Platform in the future, according to Sakalkar.

Synergy Research noted in a report released Monday, the day before Google's announcement, that Google was trailing other hyper-scale providers in overall footprint -- a liability in the blood sport that has become the cloud market.

"Google lags far behind AWS and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure market, and at least part of that was down to having a cloud data center network that wasn't as extensive," said John Dinsdale, Synergy's research director.

Amazon Web Services, IBM and Microsoft have established the broadest footprint, each with more than 40 data centers, with multiple facilities in several regions.

That Synergy report said more than half of the world's major data centers are in the U.S.