AWS to pump billions into sovereign cloud for Germany

It'll own the datacenters, but keep data and employees local

AWS is to invest €7.8 billion in the AWS European Sovereign Cloud in Germany and make the first AWS Region in the State of Brandenburg available to all customers by the end of 2025.

The move is the latest effort by US tech giants to retain revenue from the lucrative European market without running afoul of local regulations around sovereignty and privacy.

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The Register understands that Amazon intends to build its own datacenters for the AWS European Sovereign Cloud, and all day-to-day operations and support will be managed by EU-based employees. While having local workers will make regulators happy, the specter of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order might rattle a few nerves.

An AWS spokesperson told The Register: "In July 2023, the European Commission adopted its adequacy decision to finalize the new US-EU Data Privacy Framework, finding that the United States ensures an adequate level of protection, comparable to that of the European Union, including for laws such as FISA."

The €7.8 billion will come from investments in the AWS European Sovereign Cloud in Germany through 2040. AWS reckons the investment will add €17.2 billion to Germany's total GDP over that time.

"The AWS European Sovereign Cloud will provide customers the capability to meet stringent operational autonomy and data residency requirements within the European Union (EU), with infrastructure wholly located within the EU and operated independently from existing Regions," the cloud giant said.

"The AWS European Sovereign Cloud will allow customers to keep all customer data and the metadata they create (such as the roles, permissions, resource labels, and configurations they use to run AWS) in the EU."

Microsoft and Google both have their takes on cloud sovereignty, with approaches such as encryption and geographic location being used to try to satisfy the needs of public and private sector workloads and the associated regulations.

However, there are also plenty of alternative options in Europe for businesses not already tied into the US tech giants. OVHCloud springs to mind, as does Scaleway. In 2021, France unveiled the "trustworthy cloud" strategy, which would have French companies running software licensed from the US tech giants on French servers.

The AWS approach is to have its own datacenters in the EU, with enough autonomy and data safeguards to satisfy regulators. ®

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