A few days ago, on May 13, two tech giants – Google Cloud and SpaceX – announced a strategic cooperation. It turns out SpaceX will install its Starlink terminals at Google Cloud’s data centers around the world. As you understand, this deal will be mutually beneficial. Say, as for SpaceX, it will be able to utilize the power of cloud for Starlink customers. And Google will be able to offer the satellite network’s speedy internet to its enterprise cloud customers.
Last year, SpaceX signed a similar agreement with Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. At the time, we learned that this deal would support Microsoft’s Azure Space cloud business. The latter operates from mobile data centers that can be deployed anywhere around the world. So Google Cloud is not an exclusive partner for SpaceX in this area. However, with the installation of Starlink terminals at Google’s data centers, SpaceX will be able to offer its service to a larger group of customers, especially, to enterprise cloud customers.
“Combining Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency broadband with Google’s infrastructure and capabilities provides global organizations with the secure and fast connection that modern organizations expect,” said SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell.
Moreover, it’s expected that artificial intelligence and machine learning will be used to make decisions about what parts of a dataset should be sent to Earth. Due to them, the bandwidth needs should be reduced noticeably.
Who Will Be The Main Users Of This Service?
Once the terminals are installed and are ready to operate, Google proves that large organizations, including public sector agencies and businesses operating in remote areas will be able to benefit from Starlink’s constellation of satellites to deliver cloud data and applications to the edge.
“We are delighted to partner with SpaceX to ensure that organizations with distributed footprints have seamless, secure, and fast access to the critical applications and services they need to keep their teams up and running,” said Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Infrastructure at Google Cloud.
At the moment, SpaceX has launched over 1500 Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit. But it is going to add more in the near future. Ideally, it wants to have up to 12,000 satellites. But nowadays, Starlink has some problems with the network speed and latency. In the very beginning, Starlink was providing a 102Mbps – 103Mbps download speed, a 40Mbps – 42Mbps upload speed, and a latency of 18ms – 19ms. This is in line with the on-the-ground internet services. However, as there are more and more Starlink users added daily, the internet parameters drop hugely. Median Starlink download speeds in the U.S. range from 40.36 Mbps to 93.09 Mbps.
Anyway, this cooperation between Google Cloud and Starlink should become available for end users by the end of 2021. And the first Starlink terminal will be installed at Google’s data center in New Albany, Ohio.