Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Google, AWS and Microsoft Boost Asia-Pacific with Sovereign Cloud Investment

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CEO Insights Asia Team | Thursday 11 July, 2024

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Google Cloud and Gulf Edge, a subsidiary of Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited, have entered into a multi-year agreement aimed at delivering sovereign cloud services that adhere to Thailand’s stringent data residency, security, and privacy regulations. Under this agreement, Google Cloud will empower Gulf Edge to operate Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) as a Managed GDC Provider (MGP). This partnership focuses on providing air-gapped configurations tailored for Thai organizations, offering deployment options for GDC air-gapped solutions either on-premises or within Gulf Group data centers. Additionally, hardware options will be available to meet the specific workload needs of these organizations.

This aspect of the agreement ensures compliance with Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act, which requires that data, operations, and software remain under the customer’s jurisdiction within Thailand’s borders. GDC enables organizations to meet these data residency and security requirements by allowing them to manage infrastructure without requiring connectivity to Google Cloud. “Air-gapped” denotes a highly secure environment that is entirely isolated and disconnected from the internet and other external networks.

“This next-generation, AI-enabled sovereign cloud solution will enable the public sector and other regulated industries to accelerate digital transformation on their own terms, even when faced with stringent digital sovereignty requirements,” said Karan Bajwa, VP for Asia Pacific at Google Cloud, in a press release about the deal. Last year, Google collaborated with the Thai Government to enhance the country’s digital economy and AI ecosystem. Google Cloud is also set to establish a Thailand Cloud region in Bangkok. Additionally, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft are making investments in Thailand’s tech infrastructure.

As cyber threats grow and geopolitical concerns pose potential disruptions, many countries are turning to sovereign clouds. Leading hyperscalers and major cloud providers are heavily investing in the Asia Pacific region, adapting their offerings to comply with varying regulations across countries. For example, VMware expanded its network by adding 19 cloud providers in the APJ region last year, enhancing its ability to offer sovereign cloud capabilities to customers.

Apart from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and India are also making efforts to boost their cloud sovereignty. Singapore’s Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) signed an agreement with Microsoft to address emerging technology needs across its Home Team Departments. In addition, Singapore’s Center for Strategic Infocomm Technologies (CSIT) recently partnered with GDC to pilot a sovereign cloud solution to use AI to address its defense requirements.

In India, the Government recently enacted the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023, mandating organizations to store and process data within the country. Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) does not enforce data localization but restricts cross-border transfer of personal data with specific exceptions. Additionally, Malaysia introduced the Digital Economy Blueprint in 2018, promoting the establishment and utilization of local data centers.

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