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Germany targets AWS and Alibaba with new European cloud project

Written by Tue 29 Oct 2019

Germany wants to reduce European dependence on American and Chinese providers

Germany’s economy minister has unveiled plans for a new European cloud service to rival AWS and Alibaba Cloud.

Minister Peter Altmaier announced the service at the Digital Summit in Dortmund today, but the announcement was overshadowed after he fell off stage and injured himself. The economics ministry said Altmaier is conscious and undergoing medical treatment.

The cloud service will be named Gaia-X in reference to the Greek goddess symbolising Earth and was developed with SAP SE, Deutsche Telekom AG and Deutsche Bank AG.

“Data are the resource of the future,” reads a research paper published ahead of the summit. “That’s why Germany and Europe needs data infrastructure that ensures data sovereignty and enables the sharing of data on a broader and secure basis.”

Geopolitical tensions between US and China have prompted concerns in Europe that the continent’s leading tech companies might lose control of customer or production data to Amazon, Google or Alibaba. Both the US and China have recently introduced legislation ordering local data providers to hand over server data to authorities, even if it is located outside of their borders.

Gaia-X plans to overcome these restrictions by establishing a joint standard for sharing data, encompassing several cloud providers. To implement the data infrastructure, the paper calls for the development of a centralised European-supported organisation, such as a cooperative in which interested partners could cooperate.

Speaking to Germany’s editorial network, SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil praised the plans, but said it would be more important to ‘finally break the data monopoly of the big US corporations’ (translated).

“We must stop applauding each other at summit events and instead ensure that digitization is finally gaining momentum,” he added.

The German government plans to launch the test phase of Gaia-X in Q2 2020, before fully rolling out end 2020.

Written by Tue 29 Oct 2019

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alibaba cloud AWS Europe Germany
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