Scaleway closes the door to Gaia-X European fastener project

Scaleway announced on November 18, 2021 its intention not to renew its membership in Gaia-X in 2022, an association that aspires to offer European cloud offerings. “We don’t believe in him anymoreArnaud de Bermingham, President and Founder of Scaleway, justifies, with Digital Factory. “We prefer to focus on our speed and ability to hire the best talent rather than using the time of our engineers in workgroups that are largely in the hands of dominant players and that ensure that everything goes too slowly or too complex.‘, he argues.

The French cloud service provider, a subsidiary of Iliad (Free) which has more than 100,000 customers, is one of the founding members of this association. His decision comes as the association’s second annual summit, held in Milan on November 18-19, sparked controversy over sponsorship of the event by Huawei, Alibaba, Microsoft and AWS. Non-European players only.

In a Franco-German initiative, Gaia-X aims to deliver a coherent European cloud computing offering by defining infrastructures and services based on very specific criteria. The association works with working groups divided into major themes selected according to specific market needs. in Scaleway, From 5 to 6 engineers“More than 400 employees (half of them are engineers) are dedicated to Gaia-X.


Tensions from the start
But from the startThere was an alignment in the main lines of the project, not on the execution methodArnaud de Bermingham says. The first problem: the formation of the board of directors of the association. The selection of members was especially important as it is the decision-making body for Gaia-X.

Chief Scaleway recounts that “angry enough“in which”board“Does not include”dominant playersWithout naming the names, here he refers to the major cloud players: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, which command 69% of the European market, according to a study by Synergy Research Group.We had already threatened to leave at that time due to strong disagreements, trust. We wanted the council to remain in the hands of European players with European capital.”

Non-European companies are everywhere
However, this was not the choice that was finally made. Of the 64 candidates, 24 people were selected, including seven women. Besides Frederic Etheve (OVHcloud), Aude Gauthier-Moreau (BNP Paribas), Martine Gouriet (Electricité de France), Vincent Guesdon (Orange), associations representing the sector were also elected. Among them we find DigitalEurope and the provider of cloud infrastructure services in Europe (CISPE), which among its members include large foreign technology companies, such as AWS, Apple, Google, Huawei …

The presence of non-European cloud service providers does not stop there. Among the more than 300 members of Gaia-X, we find Salesforce, Palantir, Oracle, Palo Alto, Microsoft, Amazon or Google. Which made Chief Scaleway say so.”These dominant players are represented indirectly everywhere: in work groups, through board members, etc.“.

This position was so widely criticized that the French Gaia-X Hub – which brings together representatives of the French Axis – attempted to clarify the situation in a column published in the world May 6, 2021. Bernard Duvernell, President of Cigref (Confederation of Senior Public Digital Players), and Gerard Roqueroll, Honorary President of the Academy of Technologies, explained that the membership of a company in the European Union “Doesn’t say anything about recordingof his services To the catalog of services called Gaia-X“.

A matter outside the jurisdiction of US law
In fact, to register in the catalog, the offer proposed by the company must be named Gaia-X while respecting the very exact specifications. One of the major issues is the extraterritoriality of US law since the repeal of the Privacy Shield. About this, Hubert Tardieu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gaia-X. He revealed that the association was in contact with the National Committee for Computers and Freedoms (CENIL). This is called Gaia-X to “He invented a label that would allow it to ensure that the data could not leave European territory.”“.

So, at some point, it’s entirely possible that US and Chinese sellers will still be members of Gaia-X but none of their offerings will be included in the catalog. And therefore , “They’ll be there for a bit to listen to what’s going on and feel the wind‘, detailed by Hubert Tardieu.

But why then accept the membership of these companies then finally Do they bring anything? Hubert Tardieu argued that it was necessary. One of Gaia-X’s goals is to promote data sharing between ecosystems. For this to be possible,”The data must already be in the cloud“. He went, “75% of the cloud offer is provided by Gafa. So, not having them on board dooms us to be actors who complete a show that he has no control over.“, he added.

Serious slowdown in the rider market
Moreover, for Arnaud de Bermingham, the problem is not that there are non-European players inside Gaia-X, such as “Complexity created by dominant actors in order to ensure that the initiative is as slow as possible and to protect their own interests”. But time is precious in this matter:The speed of Gaia-X is not the speed of the cloud market, which in two years will be more than 300 billion dollarsEurope has no more time to waste.

The president recognizes it: American companies “It obviously has a much richer ecosystem“.This situation explains the delay in the adoption of the cloud in Europe.”Almost 10 yearsCompared to the United States.American gamers have been growing for at least 15 years. We have been operating for years with almost no growth“, He says.

Near Google Cloud, OVH defends Gaia-X
But some Gaia-X members have a more optimistic view, such as OVHcloud, who is also a founding member. In a statement in response to Scaleway’s decision, the Roubaix-based company clarified that it “When you don’t give up” But “On the contrary, step up efforts because we are at a crossroadsShe adds that.Now and in the coming months, the future of one of Europe’s most promising sectors is at stake“.

OVHcloud’s position is not surprising. In fact, it signed a partnership with Google Cloud in November 2020, the goal of which is to provide the services of the American giant while ensuring that data is stored on the servers of the French company. An offer that responds to the government’s ambition to allow US companies to market their offerings in the form of licenses granted to French hosts. Thus Orange signed with Microsoft and Thales with Google.

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