Franco-German cloud framework floated to protect European's data from foreign tech firms slurpage

Economy Ministers mark official launch of GAIA-X project

63 Reg comments Got Tips?

The Economy Ministers of Germany and France, Peter Altmaier and Bruno Le Maire, held a media event on Thursday to talk up GAIA-X, an EU data infrastructure initiative aiming to take on Silicon Valley and Chinese behemoths to protect data.

"We are wholeheartedly convinced that the final success of this digital moonshot will be crucial for Germany, for France, and for Europe as far as our economic strength, our competitiveness, and our sovereignty are concerned," said Altmaier at the event.

Introduced as a concept last October, GAIA-X will be set up as a non-profit foundation in Belgium where it will define the rules of engagement by which cloud service providers can interoperate under EU regulations. The project's stated goal is to ensure data sovereignty, data availability, interoperability, portability, transparency and fair participation.

In short, it's an attempt to define a space that's safe from US and Chinese cloud giants and conforms with EU data protection requirements. It's part of the broader European Data Strategy.

A group of 22 companies from France and Germany have been participating in the project's development as founding members, including telecom firms like Deutsche Telekom and Orange, manufacturers like Bosch, BMW, and Siemens, and cloud computing providers like Atos and OVHcloud. Project documentation claims that about 170 people from 150 companies, research institutes, and other organizations are helping to bring the project to fruition.

According to consultancy Canalys, AWS captured about 32 per cent of the global cloud infrastructure market in Q4 2019, about two times more than Microsoft Azure and over five times more than Google Cloud.

European cloud companies don't show up on that list and that's something of a sore point. As one of the GAIA-X documents observes, "Europe’s digital infrastructure currently lies in the hands of a small number of major non-European corporations: Europe has no notable operating system developers, no relevant search engines, no global social network and no competitive cloud infrastructure."

GAIA-X, it's hoped, will make Europe rate again, or something along those lines.

A technical prototype of the platform is due by the end of the year. The ecosystem consists of Nodes (computational resources), Services (cloud service providers), Service Instances (one or more Nodes doing something), and Data Assets (sensitive info).

Gaia-X project illustration

It encompasses identity and trust management, service discovery and description, standards for interoperability, policy enforcement, contractual options, and monitoring and metering.

Europeans have tried this before with Qwant, another Franco-German project intended to serve as a more privacy-focused alternative to Google Search. It hasn't yet made much of dent in Google's business, but perhaps further protectionism will raise the service's profile.

French Economy Minister Le Maire said, "We are not China. We are not the United States. We are European Countries with our own values and with our own economic interests that we want to defend." ®

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER


Keep Reading

'Google cannot stop it, control it or curtail it...' Inside the murky world of fake addiction treatment center search spam

Special report Is that listed phone number going direct to a professional or a call center?

Rich Communication Services: Nobody uses it, nobody wants it, but analysts reckon it's on the verge of a breakthrough

Analysis A viable alternative to the platforms with billions of active users between them? There's still work to be done

Hooray! It's IT Day! Let's hear it for the lukewarm mugs of dirty water that everyone seems to like so much

International Tea. The world isn't about to suddenly start appreciating you

Dutch national broadcaster saw ad revenue rise when it stopped tracking users. It's meant to work like that, right?

Brave browser's policy officer questions efficacy of personalised ads

If you wanna make your own open-source chip, just Google it. Literally. Web giant says it'll fab them for free

Plus: IBM emits BlueGene/Q CPU blueprints – and 'fastest' open-source RISC-V core emerges

Arm wrestle round two: Chinese outpost says it's fired the replacement CEO foisted on it by HQ

Arm China says nothing counts without a board meeting

Nice wallpaper you've got there. It would be a shame if it bricked your phone

But that's exactly what will happen if you decorate Androids with pretty mountain scene

It's June, and you guessed it! Pork barrel time for resellers as £500m public sector framework gets go-ahead

18 county and city councils – as well as an NHS trust – get ready to dish out taxpayers' cash

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020