Cloud initiative meets with great interest from companies

Cloud initiative meets with great interest from companies

More and more companies want to participate in building the european cloud and data infrastructure gaia-X.

In addition to the 22 founding companies from germany and france, "well over 100 other companies" have expressed an interest in becoming "members of the first hour" of the gaia-X organization, which is currently being founded, according to the federal ministry of economics.

The project, which will be presented in october 2019, is about not having to rely on the rough IT corporations from the USA and china as an alternative in europe. A concept is to be developed to link new and existing services via open source applications and open standards.

However, gaia-X is not aiming to create a "hyperscaler" of its own along the lines of google, amazon or microsoft. Instead, gaia-X wants to counter the cloud giants with a network of many smaller providers from europe. However, the operation of dynamically distributed systems such as a cloud environment is difficult to master, especially for smaller providers and the IT departments in medium-sized companies.

In developing gaia-X, the initiators did not rely on a comprehensive and all-encompassing solution from the outset, the ministry of economics emphasized on wednesday at the start of a two-day virtual gaia-X meeting. The intention is to start next year with a "minimum viable product": this is the starting point for prototypes, the testing of critical functionalities and further developments.

"The procedure for certifying whether services are gaia-X-compliant still needs some time," boris otto, head of the fraunhofer institute for software and systems engineering (ISST), told the "tagesspiegel background digitalisierung und KI" newspaper. "We will see the first certified gaia-X applications in the middle of next year."

The applications based on gaia-X are designed to enable the secure exchange of data between industries and countries. In addition, cloud solutions should be made possible that comply with european law. There are reservations about services from the USA such as microsoft azure, google cloud and amazon AWS, particularly following the ruling of the eugh ("schrems II"), because they must comply with both the european general data protection regulation and the US cloud act. According to data protection experts, this is hardly possible, even with individual framework agreements.

Against this background, US companies such as amazon, google, IBM and microsoft are themselves active in the gaia-X initiative. This does not contradict the guidelines from politics: minister altmaier had declared several times that also tech companies from the USA should develop offers that are compliant with the gaia-X guidelines.

The federation of german industries (BDI) demanded that offers with a concrete added value for companies be created as quickly as possible. "Gaia-X must become the european gold standard in industry," said iris ploger, member of the BDI executive board. Policymakers should demand stronger research and development projects in economic application areas. Federal, state and local governments had to seize the opportunity to use gaia-X to drive forward the digitalization of public administration: "germany’s digital services are at an unacceptable 21st percentile". Ranking of the 27 EU countries. High demand from the public sector has given gaia-X a much-needed jump start."

The digital industry association bitkom explained that the decisive factor for success was that concrete applications came to the market quickly. "For gaia-X members, it will be crucial how this cloud ecosystem promotes innovative applications, maintains sovereignty over its own data and thus achieves the goal of data sovereignty," said susanne dehmel, member of the bitkom executive board. Cloud solutions are not only drivers of digital transformation, but also enable key technologies such as artificial intelligence. "If europe wants to play an important role in international competition in the future, we must rely even more strongly on these technologies. Gaia-X can make an important contribution to this goal."