Zurich is key Google Cloud location

Zurich is one of the most important locations in Europe for the internal development of Google’s cloud, says technology head Urs Hölzle. The main reason is Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) – which contributed to the IT giant’s rapid job growth in Zurich.

Image Credit: Goolge
Image Credit: Goolge


Google is expanding its cloud services in Switzerland, with a Zurich data centre set to open to companies in 2019. Yet the Swiss Google Cloud Platform region is not building its own data centre, explained technology head Urs Hölzle in an interview with “Handelszeitung”. Because it is relying on a third-party provider, there will be little job growth – but the Zurich location will nevertheless greatly benefit from the cloud's expansion.

The city is Google’s largest site outside the USA for Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), which has contributed to the creation of 1,000 new jobs in Zurich over the last three years. “SRE is our approach to operating systems. Its employees are responsible for running complex software systems with large levels or reliability and low charging times. So exactly what a cloud needs,” said Hölzle. For internal development of the cloud too, Zurich is the most important location in Europe, followed by Warsaw.  

In building its cloud services, Google has its eye on the Swiss banks, according to Hölzle. “The Swiss banks were one of our main reasons for launching the cloud region in Switzerland,” he said. Namely, if highly regulated banks can store their data in the cloud, this sends a message to businesses in other sectors.

Hölzle sees particularly high potential for the cloud in Switzerland in the fields of pharmacy, chemistry, banking, insurance, government agencies and industry. It has already enjoyed success in the pharma sector: “Roche, for example, is using G Suite, which comprises Gmail, Google Docs, Drive and Calender.”

Although the cloud business is as yet little known, it has big potential and could overtake the turnover from Google’s advertising business, according to Hölzle. “In 2008, 95 per cent of all users did not own a smartphone. That’s where we are now in the cloud market,” he said.

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