Google Cloud has unveiled plans to launch new regions in Malaysia and Thailand, bolstering high-performance capabilities as the battle for cloud supremacy heats up in Southeast Asia.
Despite no specific go-live date at this stage, the move is designed to deliver enhanced cloud services to help organisations maintain low latency while strengthening security, data residency and storage levels amid a tightening of compliance standards across the region.
In addition to New Zealand -- which was also announced -- the three new regions will join 34 cloud regions currently in operation around the world, 11 of which are located in Asia Pacific.
Perhaps most significantly however, the roll-out will result in Google Cloud taking direct aim at industry competitors Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft who also recently strengthened commitment to ASEAN and Asia Pacific markets through similar cloud region launches.
“These new cloud regions represent our ongoing commitment to supporting digital transformation across Asia Pacific,” said Karan Bajwa, vice president of Asia Pacific at Google Cloud. “From retail and media and entertainment to financial services and public sector, leading organisations come to Google Cloud as their trusted innovation partner.
“The new Google Cloud regions in Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand will help our customers continue to enable growth and solve their most critical business problems. We will work with our customers to ensure the cloud region fits their evolving needs.”
Seal of approval in Malaysia and Thailand
From a market perspective, the launch has the backing of key Google Cloud customers in Malaysia, such as AirAsia and Media Prima.
“Our journey with Google Cloud spans almost half a decade, with our most recent partnership and co-innovation initiatives paving the way for AirAsia and Capital A to disrupt the digital platform arena in the same vein as we did airlines,” said Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A.
According to Fernandes, new cloud regions in Malaysia and Thailand highlights the vendor’s “continuous desire” to expand in-region capabilities to “complement and support” the establishment of the airasia Super App which sits at the centre of an expanding e-commerce, logistics and fintech ecosystem.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this massive milestone and the new possibilities that Google Cloud’s growing network of cloud regions will create for us, our peers, and the common man,” Fernandes added.
Meanwhile, Google Cloud’s cloud-based analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools have enabled Media Prima to embed a digital DNA across the business capable of delivering real-time news updates during peak periods. This in turn has allowed the media outlet to implement new engagement models such as content commerce, as well as diversifying revenue streams.
“By allowing us to place our digital infrastructure and applications even closer to our audiences, this cloud region will supercharge data-driven content production and distribution, and our ability to enrich the lives of Malaysians by informing, entertaining and engaging them through new and innovative mediums,” stated Rafiq Razali, group managing director of Media Prima.
Meanwhile in Thailand, Google Cloud’s global network has been playing an “integral role” in Krungthai Bank’s adoption of advanced data analytics, cyber security, AI and open banking capabilities.
“This new cloud region is a fundamentally important milestone that will help accelerate our continuous digital reinvention and sustainable growth strategy within the local regulatory framework, thereby allowing us to reach and serve Thais at all levels, including unbanked consumers and small business owners, no matter where they may be,” noted Payong Srivanich, CEO of Krungthai Bank.
Another such customer is Robinhood -- developed by Purple Ventures -- which recently migrated operations and applications onto Google Cloud’s data cloud infrastructure.
“We are already delivering more personalised services and experiences to small business owners, delivery riders, and consumers than ever before -- and in a more cost efficient and sustainable way,” said Thana Thienachariya, chairman of the board at Purple Ventures.
“With the new cloud region, we will be physically closer to the computing resources that Google Cloud has to offer and able to access cloud technologies in a faster and even more complete way. This will help strengthen our mission: to build a homegrown ‘super app’ that assists smaller players and revitalises the grassroots economy.”
Cloud battle heats up in ASEAN
Plans to strengthen cloud capabilities in ASEAN comes 18 months after AWS, Microsoft, Google Cloud and Telekom Malaysia were granted conditional approval to build and manage hyperscale data centres and cloud services in Malaysia, anchored around government plans to drive mass digital adoption.
Central to such efforts will be a select channel ecosystem of managed service providers (MSPs) comprising of Enfrasys Solutions, Awantec (formerly Prestariang Systems) and Cloud Connect. Each will work closely with the cloud service providers (CSPs) to manage services delivered to agencies in the public sector, in line with government ambitions to strengthen the capabilities of local providers.
Within this context, Microsoft is also set to establish its first data centre region in Malaysia as part of its ‘Bersama Malaysia’ (Together with Malaysia) initiative.
The data centre region -- planned for the Greater Kuala Lumpur area -- will deliver Azure Availability Zones and provide access to the full Microsoft Cloud stack, including Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform in addition to Azure.
At this stage, AWS has only committed to launching Outposts in Malaysia and Thailand and currently provides a fully managed service through specialist channel partners.
Supported by expert providers such as InfoFabrica, True IDC, Maxis, Dailitech and CAT Telecom, Outposts is designed to deliver “managed and configurable” compute and storage racks built with AWS-designed hardware. The move also allows customers to run AWS compute, storage and database services on-premises, while connecting to AWS offerings in the cloud.
However, AWS recently unveiled plans to help accelerate adoption of the Thailand Government Cloud following a new agreement with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand (MDES).
Terms of the memorandum of understanding will allow MDES and Thai government agencies the option of using AWS solutions and services as part of the Government Data Centre and Cloud Service (GDCC), which runs as a central cloud infrastructure for government agencies.
Specifically, businesses will be able to leverage more than 200 fully-featured AWS Cloud services -- including security and infrastructure capabilities -- alongside identifying “strategic pilot workloads” to run on AWS through the GDCC during the next 12 months.
Central to such efforts will be an “extensive network” of AWS partners and start-ups supporting customers throughout the migration process, notably 2C2P, Omise and Amity alongside National Telecom (NT), True IDC, G-Able, Dailitech, Deloitte and Accenture.