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Google Distributed Cloud moves Google to the edge and into data centers

Anthos-powered enterprise play for edge computing, 5G RAN, data sovereignty compliance

At this week’s Google Next event, Google took the wraps off Google Distributed Cloud, a new product portfolio that extends Google infrastructure to the edge and on-premise using qualified hardware. The products can operate on any of Google’s 140 global network edge locations and can also be set up at customer locations, depending on the need. At launch, Google has announced support from vendors including Cisco, Dell, HPE and NetApp.

“Now more than ever, organizations are looking to accelerate their cloud adoption. They want easier development, faster innovation, and efficient scale, all while simultaneously reducing their technology risk. However, some of their workloads cannot move to the public cloud entirely or right away, due to factors such as industry or region-specific compliance and data sovereignty needs, low latency or local data-processing requirements, or because they need to run close to other services,” said Sachin Gupta, Google GM and VP of Product for IaaS, in a blog post.

Google’s distribution for these new cloud products include its own worldwide edge network, on CSP edge networks, on customer-owned edge or remote locations and in customer-owned data centers and colocation facilities.

“Google Distributed Cloud taps into our planet-scale infrastructure that delivers the highest levels of performance, availability, and security, while Anthos running on Google-managed hardware at the customer or edge location provides a services platform on which to run applications securely and remotely,” said Gupta.

The portfolio comprises Google Distributed Cloud Edge and Google Distributed Cloud Hosted. Google Distributed Cloud Edge is available now in “Preview” form, while Google Distributed Cloud Hosted is coming in 2022, according to the company.

Google Distributed Cloud Edge

Google Distributed Cloud Edge is aimed at enterprises looking for local data processing, low-latency edge compute workloads, modernizing on-premises environments and private 5G/LTE solutions, according to the company. The service lets enterprises run 5G Core and RAN functions at the edge. CSPs can run workloads on Intel and Nvidia hardware, according to Google. Google already counts AT&T, Bell Canada, Telecom Italia Mobile, Orange and others among its early customers. 

Google said the work is a result of the company’s disaggregation efforts with Ericsson and Nokia. Earlier this year, Nokia and Google Cloud announced a ‘co-innovation’ global strategic partnership to develop cloud-native 5G compute and network edge functions. 

Nokia and Google Cloud said that they would create offerings that “bring together Nokia’s 5G operations services and networking capabilities with Google Cloud’s leading technologies in AI, ML and analytics.” Google Cloud brought its Anthos platform, while Nokia brought its voice core, cloud packet core, network exposure function, data management, signaling, 5G core and Impact IoT platform to the partnership.

Google Distributed Cloud Hosted

Designed for “sensitive workloads,” according to Google, it can accommodate worldwide digital sovereignty issues. Google Distributed Cloud Hosted is aimed specifically at public-sector customers and enterprises under stricter data security and privacy protocols. Gupta called the new service, coming next year, a “safe and secure way to modernize on-premises deployments without requiring any connectivity to Google Cloud.”

“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,” said Gupta. 

Anthos underpinnings

Google Distributed Cloud was made using Anthos, a cornerstone of Google’s Global Mobile Edge Cloud (GMEC) strategy. Anthos is Google’s fully managed hybrid cloud platform that works on premises, edge and in multiple public clouds, all through a Google Cloud-backed control plane. Anthos uses the Google-developed Kubernetes engine as the basis for its container orchestration management.

Anthos is built on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE); Anthos Config Management, a policy and security automation engine; Anthos Service Mesh, which manages traffic and telemetry; and Anthos Migrate, which manages Virtual Machine (VM) to GKE migration.


Peter Cohen
Peter is a Technology Editor for RCR Wireless News whose coverage areas include hyperscalers, telco cloud, edge computing, and data centers. Before joining RCR, Peter was a freelance writer with a background in tech journalism. He worked as a senior editor for Macworld magazine, editor at and has contributed to many other tech publications. He and his family live in Massachusetts.

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