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Major European cloud project is at risk of falling off the rails

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A new report has revealed a number of potential issues that could disrupt an upcoming major European cloud computing project. Earlier this year, the European Union formally announced the launch of GAIA-X, an initiative that aims to create a common ecosystem for European data infrastructure, reducing the continent’s reliance on international – most usually America – technology providers. Now, concerns are being raised about its effectiveness.

The report, from analyst firm Forrester, claims that Europe’s new initiative could go the way of previous failed attempts.

Among the concerns raised is the possibility that GAIA-X will simply create a European imitator of already-popular services like Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google Cloud. Its European bias may also mean that it misses out on the best technical solutions and there remain question marks about its ability to match the speed and reliability of US hyperscale providers.

Head in the clouds

“The real opportunity for GAIA-X is defining public cloud services that improve clarity around data sovereignty, data residency, and that enhance the transparency of how data is managed and governed,” McKay said. “If additional security services, such as federated identity services or open source technology stacks, can help reduce the real or perceived risk of lock-in, this would be a genuine win for CIOs — not just in Europe, but in other markets as well.”

For years now, European regulators have spoken about creating the right conditions for a European cloud provider to rival the market share of tech giants in the US. Primarily, such aims are driven by concerns regarding data sovereignty and transparency.

Thus far, such efforts have had little impact. Currently, just 12% of European enterprises work with a European-based public cloud provider. If the EU wants this figure to increase, it will need its GAIA-X plan to be a success.