Federal Government: Altmaier's vision of the European cloud is Gaia-X

"The European economy urgently needs reliable data sovereignty"Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier said in July 2019. He seems to be actually in discussion with various European companies in order to found a common European cloud infrastructure. That reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung with reference to a report available to her. Gaia-X is the name of the project.

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Conversations with net providers are to be connected in the coming week, writes the FAZ and quotes Altmaier: "We are on the brink of a breakthrough and I am confident that we will be able to announce concrete implementation steps in the coming days." It is currently not clear which form the project will take – whether it is run as a foundation, association or company. The organization should define the rules and interfaces of Gaia-X.

But at least the participation of governments is important for such a plan. This could be done by politicians on boards or strict rules regarding the use of Gaia-X. European providers of server hardware and infrastructure should connect via an open and possibly standardized network. The German government wants to act centrally.

Counterweight to Amazon, Google and Microsoft

In this country larger network providers such as Deutsche Telekom or Vodafone would be conceivable as partners who could, for example, provide backbone connections for such a large cloud environment. Compute node like the DE-CIX in Frankfurt am Main are good locations for hardware. But the aim of the project is probably also to connect particularly smaller providers. The challenge could be to get companies to the negotiating table across Europe. After all, they are still competing with each other.

The reason for Altmaier's decision: Europe must provide a stronger counterweight to leading cloud providers. At present, mostly US companies such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, AWS and Oracle are represented in this market. Also, the Chinese group Alibaba is a potential player, who currently operates largely in Asia.