“In 2022, Gaia-X is not waiting to solve the sovereign cloud problem, they are very far from it! This is the shocking conclusion of analyst Paul McKay of technology consultancy Forrester. When asked during a webinar dedicated to predictions regarding the evolution of the European computer market The Gaia-X conglomerate, which was created in mid-2020 by several French and German players with the aim of offering a homegrown alternative to the American public cloud giants, will be, as he puts it, “something consistent.”
Gaia-X aspires to take a dominant position in discussions of sovereignty in Europe. But the thing is, they haven’t made any progress on any prototype that will be ready for next summer,” “Instead of striving to create tech leaders, Gaia-X stumbled into the usual bureaucratic trappings of the European Union. They even made it clear recently that they couldn’t move forward because they were waiting for signatures from Brussels…”
Paul McKayAnalyst, Forrester Corporation
The bureaucratic heft of Gaia-X is nothing new. Last November, Scaleway, one of the founding members and one of only three to truly offer European cloud hosting, was already closing the door for similar reasons. Yann Lechelle, CEO of the French host, had a theory: European branches of US cloud providers invited themselves among members to voluntarily slow down the business.
For Paul McKay, the cause of this slowdown is less important than its consequence: Gaia-X is not present. “The fact is that Gaia-X has not yet begun to provide the promised services two years after its launch. This is most remarkable because, during this time, the French and German governments implemented sovereignty policies that in turn affected the attitude of the surplus Americans.”
“It is these initiatives that have prompted AWS, Azure, and Google GCP to be more transparent about where the data is stored, and about the technical choices they make to ensure their customers have control over their treatments, or even about the authority they might have on transactions for certain critical sectors,” the analyst asserts. .
According to him, this transparency would, ironically, have allowed American giants to increasingly control minds in public cloud projects, “unlike Gaia-X.”
European countries and thermometers discuss … without Gaia-X
It seems that Paul McCay realized that major sovereign cloud projects would now be built between European countries and American cloud giants, without being overburdened by the Gaia-X program: “In 2022, Gaia-X is no longer at the center,” he asserts.
“Gaia-X has certainly helped raise awareness. European companies today express a real desire, a real need to be sovereign. But those companies who have been made aware of the need for regional protection for their data, and even the values of environmental responsibility, will rather look for solutions in technologies And the American landings offer them such solutions.”
Paul McKayAnalyst, Forrester Corporation
The analyst cites pell-mell systems with private keys held by companies alone, and hybrid storage (provided by solutions like AWS Outposts, Azure Stack, or Google Anthos) leaving the data affected by local sovereignty.
“The French government for example, with SecNumCloud, mandates local hosting of data and this led to a joint venture between Orange and CapGemini to create a large national host: Bleu. On the other hand, the interesting point about Blue is that it relies on Azure infrastructure. I I’m talking about the kind of solution that super-caloricists themselves offer. And we’re really in the case of a government that has taken a sovereign initiative outside of Gaia-X.”
“There is certainly frustration with the lack of progress in Gaia-X. I think the super-talents themselves will seek dialogue directly with European governments rather than going to discuss these issues in Gaia-X.”
Ecosystem, the Achilles heel of European clouds
Paul McKay is not too optimistic about the possibility of European alternatives to the US cloud giants.
“OVHcloud and T-Systems are on to replicate hyperscaler offerings locally. OVHcloud imitates Google GCP, while T-Systems imitates Microsoft Azure. But they have to overcome one difficulty: it is too complex for these local vendors to replicate all existing functionality with hyperscalers. No The advantage of acute pesticides lies in the size of their data center, but rather the size of the partners’ ecosystem, or the size of their market.”
He details the example of T-Systems, which wanted to offer sovereign versions of Microsoft’s services online: “The services were more expensive, they were less effective and less modernized. This is not a satisfactory commercial proposition: you’ve been told that if you want Sovereignty, you have to pay More, and to have a less rich ecosystem and tools that are one copy of the features.
And in conclusion, sternly: “The problem with these sovereign cloud initiatives is that they will essentially revert back to old notions of the private data center.”