Google, AWS and Microsoft invest in sovereign cloud in Asia Pacific

  • Google and Gulf Edge to Provide Sovereign Cloud Services in Thailand

  • Scale-ups and leading cloud service providers are investing heavily in Asia Pacific

  • In addition to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and India are also making efforts to increase cloud sovereignty.

Technology giant Google Cloud and Gulf Edge, a subsidiary of Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited, have entered into a multi-year agreement to provide sovereign cloud services in compliance with Thailand’s stringent data storage, security and privacy requirements.

Under the terms of the agreement, Google Cloud will authorize Gulf Edge to operate Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) as a Managed GDC Provider (MGP), focusing on air-gapped configurations for organizations in Thailand. Gulf Edge will provide deployment options for air-gapped GDC on-premises or in a Gulf Group data center, with hardware options to meet the organization’s specific workload requirements.

This part of the agreement ensures compliance with the Thai Personal Data Protection Act, which requires that data, operations and software remain under the customer’s control and located within Thailand.

GDC allows organizations to meet data retention and security requirements because it does not require a connection to Google Cloud to manage infrastructure.

The term “air-gapped” refers to a secure environment that is completely isolated and cut off from the Internet and other external networks.

“This next-generation AI-powered sovereign cloud solution will enable the public sector and other regulated industries to accelerate digital transformation on their own terms, even in the face of stringent digital sovereignty requirements,” said Karan Bajwa, vice president, Asia Pacific, Google Cloud, in a press release about the agreement. “GDC enables organizations to unlock new ways to analyze data, discover insights, increase productivity, and build modern applications, while providing full control and protection of their sensitive data.”

Sovereign Cloud Solutions Expand in Southeast Asia

Google partnered with the Thai government last year to strengthen the country’s digital economy and AI ecosystem. Google Cloud is also establishing a Thailand Cloud region in Bangkok. In addition to Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft are also investing in Thailand.

Several countries are embracing sovereign clouds as cyber threats grow and geopolitical concerns threaten disruption. Prominent hyperscalers and major cloud service providers are investing heavily in the APAC region and are driving sovereign cloud adoption, changing their offerings in line with the laws and regulations of different countries. For example, VMware added 19 cloud providers in the APJ region last year to “offer sovereign cloud capabilities to its customers.”

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

In India, the government recently passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023, which requires organizations to store and process data locally. On the other hand, Malaysia does not require data localization under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), but prevents cross-border transfer of personal data, except for certain exceptions. Apart from this, the country also developed the Digital Economy Blueprint in 2018, which encourages the use of domestic data centers.

The growing demand for sovereign cloud solutions in the region means that organizations need to carefully consider their cloud strategies to ensure compliance with local regulations.