During a critical moment for enterprise technology development in Europe, Cloud Expo Madrid speaks with Isaac Hernández, Google Cloud Country Manager for Spain & Portugal.
Spain is going to become an important cloud computing node for Southern Europe thanks to the opening of the first Google data centre region in Madrid. What is the main aim of this investment?
The objective of the new data centre region is to support Spanish businesses in taking full advantage of what the cloud and our technology has to offer, facilitate access to all of 5G’s possibilities, and at the same time contribute to the country’s drive in its technological and infrastructural development.
How will businesses benefit from this?
The Google Cloud clients who operate in Spain will benefit from the low latency and high performance of their workflow and data stored in the cloud. In the same way, for companies and public services it will provide the full potential of the computation in the cloud based on Google AI technologies, while at the same time maintaining the highest standards of cybersecurity, data storage compliance, in particular those with specific data storage requirements.
One of the subjects that arise surrounding the construction of these data regions is their energy consumption. What is Google’s Cloud strategy regarding sustainability?
Our global cloud is the cleanest in the industry and we are largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. In 2007, we were the first large business to go carbon neutral, and in 2017 we were the first large company to match our consumption to alternative 100% renewable energy. Last year we announced the elimination of our historic carbon debt and we are the first major company to commit to consuming carbon-free energy 24 hours a day in all our data centres and hubs worldwide, and we aim to meet that goal by 2030.
For Google Cloud, what’s so attractive about Spain as a digital hub for Southern Europe?
Spain is a highly digitalised country. The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is situated in our country ranking at #11 out of 28, almost five places above the European average. In the public sector this technological advancement is also noticeable. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Spain is in 7th place at global level. In this context, IDC Spain released an article in which the cloud market will triple its business turnover by 2023. These trends reveal the great potential our country has to continue advancing on the technological path and becoming a European model.
The cloud has leveraged the most weight in the digital transformation of the last few months. For that reason, an important question is – How will the sector evolve and what impact will it have on the economy?
I believe that the future will continue the trends that we have seen unfold this year, and that will be reflected in our economy. The technologies that allow better understanding of data, like our analysis tool BigQuery or AI solutions, will continue playing an important role. What’s more, it seems as though the cloud in general will continue gaining ground, with special importance in multi-cloud environments. To help our clients analyse data, wherever they are, this year we have presented our analytics solution of multi-cloud data BigQuery Omni. And lastly, I would like to highlight that the collaboration and productivity technologies based in the cloud, like Google Workspace, will probably continue playing an important role
Google Cloud is committed to a transversal and global migration, staking for AI, analytics, cybersecurity, machine learning… Where will you be putting your focus for the next few years?
Over the coming years we will continue focusing on the technological trends we have seen unfold in 2020, for example the collaborative work solutions and AI. In particular, we will continue hedging our bets toward the “open cloud”, a way of addressing the cloud that allows us to maintain coherence at a technical and operational level between the public cloud and private data centres, thus facilitating businesses effective management of their infrastructures, applications and data
What is your open cloud philosophy based on?
We believe that the open cloud is one of the answers to the diverse needs of the organisations, offering options, flexibility, openness and transparency. Our open cloud philosophy is based on the belief that customers need autonomy and control over their infrastructure. By providing new options to our clients for construction, migration and development of their applications in multiple settings, be it in the cloud or onsite, it gives them the freedom of not getting stuck with just one service provider and revamp quicker in various ecosystems. And most important of all, it helps them unfold ‒migrate if necessary‒ critical workloads between public cloud platforms
You have just announced the opening of a cybersecurity elite centre in Malaga. What are the principal challenges for Google Cloud Spain?
At Google, for years we have been developing products and services with security as a key pillar, apart from manufacturing and developing projects focused on protecting users and businesses from cyberattacks.
One of the principal challenges we find in our country is that, according to a study we took part in with The Cocktail Analysis, 99.8% of the Spanish business network does not consider itself a target for cyberattack. This translates to almost 3 million SME’s in Spain being little or not at all protected from hackers.
For this reason, we started a campaign last year focused on offering training to SME’s, in collaboration with CEPYME and INCIBE, an acceleration programme for cybersecurity start-ups with headquarters in Malaga, and we sponsor 10 scholarships for the participation of women in the University Expert Title in Inverse Engineering and Malware Intelligence at Malaga University. In regards to Google Cloud, through Chronicle, our cybersecurity division, we continue working to provide businesses the adequate tools to fight against cybercrime.
Finally, I would like to know your opinion on the GAIA-X project, the European bid to create their own cloud, based on the sovereignty of data.
We are contributing to the technical workgroups of GAIA-X, alongside many other members of the project, providing our solid experience in data security and privacy standards that operate in any type of cloud environment and put the data control in the hands of the customer. We share the commitment for an open cloud ecosystem in Europe that supplies flexibility, transparency and puts data control directly in the hands of the users.