Alphabet, Google’s parent company, activated its last week region local cloud project for Israel, a project that took more than a year of work and is expected to increase employment and growth and provide ministries and public bodies with better security for their data.
The location of the cloud is part of Israel’s $ 1.2 billion “Nimbus” project, conducted in partnership with Google and Amazon’s AWS. The two tech giants won a government tender last year to build and provide regional data centers and cloud-based services to the nation.
The project allows Israeli government ministries and other entities to move servers and services to locally-provided cloud data centers. Until now, Israel used cloud services provided by Google and AWS data centers in Ireland, the Netherlands and Frankfurt. All this data will be transferred to those established in Israel, with all data to be protected within Israeli borders under strict security guidelines and in accordance with Israeli law. Israeli employees must undergo security checks.
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The Finance Department said on Thursday that the government’s move to Google’s new cloud location “will improve the efficiency of government services, reduce response times in enabling digital services for citizens, and save on operational costs, enabling the at the same time to government offices to use advanced Services. “
The project will also enable “the consumption of advanced IT services by the Israeli market, promote the digital transformation of local services, improve business productivity, encourage the processing and analysis of gigantic data of local businesses in Israel, and help promote the ecosystem of the State of Israel in the areas of cloud technologies, “the ministry said.
As part of the project, colossal sums will be invested in local infrastructure in Israel, the ministry said in its statement Thursday.
Boaz Maoz, Country Director of Google Cloud Israel, said in a post that the new headquarters “will help local organizations connect with users and customers around the world and help fuel innovation and digital transformation across all industries. ‘economy’, contributing $ 7.6 billion to Israel’s GDP between 2022 and 2030 and supporting the creation of 21,200 jobs by 2030, according to a recent study commissioned by Google. . This study was also cited by the Finance Department.
Google will host a launch event for the project early next month.
AWS is expected to activate its cloud location in Israel in the first half of 2023, the finance ministry said.
The government contract with Google and Amazon for services has an initial term of seven years, with the possibility of an extension for a total of 23 years. After the first seven years, Israel could add more suppliers or stop working with current suppliers.
The overall project, which involves the installation of six data centers in Israel for an investment of at least $ 1.23 billion, will provide approximately 500 direct jobs for each center, but will also indirectly increase employment. through the services these centers will use from other providers.
The centers will also help create an ecosystem for start-ups providing cloud-based services, ministry officials said, and train the workforce with the right skills that will then be transferred to the workforce, the country’s technology ecosystem. Neighboring countries will also be able to tap into the cloud infrastructure created in Israel, the finance ministry said.
The Nimbus project was split into four parts, with four separate bids: building data centers and delivering government cloud services on a public platform – won by Google and AWS; help develop a government strategy to move operations to the cloud; technical assistance in carrying out the transfer; and an unpublished RFQ to provide cloud usage optimization services.
The project has come under criticism since last year, when it was first announced, after workers at Google and Amazon (including Jewish employees) lobbied to cancel the contracts.
During the May 2021 fighting between Israel and Gaza-based terrorist groups, Google employees asked management to review the company’s contracts and donations to “institutions that support Israeli violations of Palestinian rights,” citing the Israeli army as an example of such an institution.
Employees said in a letter that the two tech companies have contracts with US institutions such as the Department of Defense, Immigration and Customs (ICE) and the police. “These contracts are part of a disturbing pattern of militarization, lack of transparency and circumvention of supervision,” the letter reads. Workers said the deal with the Israeli government was in the same vein: a contract “to sell dangerous technology to the Israeli army and government.”
Last May, when the tech giants were asked if they could decide at any time to stop their services, which would leave Israel in a difficult situation, attorney Zviel Ganz, from the legal department of the Ministry of Finance, replied. : “Under the requirements of the notice, the answer is no.” The contracts also prohibit companies from denying services to particular government agencies, he said at a news conference.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz added that such scenarios were taken into account when formulating the offers.
Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this article.