• United States
Anirban Ghoshal
Senior Writer

Google picks Qatar for second Middle Eastern cloud region

Mar 31, 20233 mins
Google Cloud Platform

The new Middle East availability region, in Doha, joins an existing one in Tel Aviv; a third is planned.

CIO | Middle East  >  Qatar  >  Doha  >  The Pearl [artificial island]
Credit: VenueStock / Getty Images

Google is adding a second cloud availability region in the Middle East, at Doha, to cater to demand from Qatar’s government and enterprises in the region, it said on Friday.

The new cloud region will help the Qatari government achieve its Qatar National Vision 2030 plan to sustain development and provide a high standard of living for its people, according to Google Cloud’s country manager for Qatar, Ghassan Kosta.

“This new region is a strong step towards building regional capacity that meets the needs of the Qatari digital economy, from availability and data residency, to digital sovereignty and sustainability,” Kosta wrote in a blog post.

At launch, the new region at Doha will offer Google Cloud services including Compute Engine, Cloud Run, Cloud SQL, Google Kubernetes Engine, and Spanner, among others, the company said.

The new region will offer three availability zones to provide more capacity and protection against disruptions, it added.

Although the company claims that the data enter is open, a company portal listing the services currently available in the region, dubbed me-central1, shows no active services. The formal launch event for the region on May 22 coincides with the company’s annual cloud summit, Google Cloud Next.

Google’s other cloud region in the middle east, me-west1, is in Tel Aviv. This too offers three availability zones for services including compute, storage, security, and AI.  

The addition of the Doha region takes Google Cloud’s total cloud region count to 37, with 112 availability zones.

Cloud service providers expand footprint

Google has been investing heavily into opening more cloud regions to compete with larger rivals such as AWS and Microsoft.

In October, Google had announced that it would open new regions across Austria, Greece, Norway, South Africa and Sweden to supplement new regions announced in August for New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Mexico.  

Rival public cloud services providers, such as Microsoft and Oracle, also have revealed plans to expand their cloud region footprint.

In July 2022, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company would launch 10 new cloud regions over the following year.

Similarly, in June 2022, Oracle CEO Safra Catz said the company expected to add another six regions in the following year. It launched two of these new sovereign regions in the European Union the following month.

AWS, too, has been expanding its footprint in the Asia Pacific region. In November last year it launched a second region in India, and in March it made a cloud region available in Malaysia.

In the Middle East, AWS has two cloud regions—Bahrain and UAE—each offering three availability zones.

Oracle has three regions in the Middle East, in Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Google and Microsoft are expected to each add a new region in Saudi Arabia. Google’s region will be based in Dammam, the company said.