Trends Report

The Launch Of GAIA-X Signals Serious Intent To Build A European Sovereign Data Cloud

July 2nd, 2020


France and Germany’s economic ministries recently outlined their plans to build a European sovereign data cloud to deal with concerns about data sovereignty and user privacy in the cloud: European CIOs/CISOs looking at their cloud strategy should follow its development carefully. Over 300 companies, research institutes, and public sector entities have committed to more than 40 use cases for it, covering industries like manufacturing, healthcare, public services, and energy. However, it will be hard to break the dominance of and European enterprise dependence on US-based hyperscale providers Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. GAIA-X’s project charters clearly state its desire to align to European norms and values in its design, but it runs the risk of being seen as an attempt to put nontariff barriers in the way of non-European companies, giving market share to local providers that haven’t achieved a presence on their own merits to date. If it does this, it will further erode trust among European CIOs. European CIOs should focus on specific use cases where data sovereignty and privacy factors preclude using US-based providers. GAIA-X is still in the conception phase, so engagement will be limited to participation in working groups. CIOs shouldn’t make definitive plans to use the platform until it proves value.

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