Google Cloud and SpaceX buddy up to fling edgy data and cloud services via Starlink

Sign-ups open in second half of 2021


Google has linked arms with SpaceX to hawk data and cloud services through the Starlink constellation.

The deal will result in Starlink ground stations being located within (or probably on top of) Google's data centres and blasting the Chocolate Factory's cloud services out to the edge via Elon Musk's sky-scratching mega constellation.

The delivery of the internet service promised by Starlink will be supported by Google Cloud's private network. Thus even those in the most remote of areas will be unable to escape Google's services.

SpaceX is hedging its bets somewhat. Last year there was a load of noise from Microsoft about its Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC) and a partnership with SpaceX to provide high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband wherever the self-contained, container-sized data centres got dropped.

This take is a little different and will extend Google's cloud via Starlink, "bringing businesses and consumers seamless connectivity to the cloud and internet, and enabling the delivery of critical enterprise applications to virtually any location."

Google trails somewhat in the cloud stakes, and is a little late to sign up with Team Musk compared to its rivals. Microsoft also inked a deal with SES back in 2019 to run a private network for Azure ExpressRoute over its fleet of GEO and MEO satellites. At the time, JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks, said the company was "ready to help Azure customers connect to any site at cloud scale, supporting critical enterprise workloads and offering an end-to-end network solution."

Still, Starlink is very much the new shiny (unless one likes to stargaze) and its Low Earth Orbit fleet is growing rapidly. Performance is also relatively good at around 100Mbps, although in a presentation given to the FCC [PDF], the company said it was aiming for 10 Gbps.

SES, on the other hand, is happy to show off case studies [PDF] boasting of 1Gbps throughput using Azure ExpressRoute, although a 30-day deployment was required.

Enterprises keen to look at new ways of connecting up their locations will be able to sign up in the second half of 2021. ®

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