“Gaia-X is no longer in the middle of discussions”

“In 2022, don’t wait for Gaia-X to solve the sovereign cloud problem, they are so far away! This is the surprising conclusion reached by analyst Paul McKay of Forrester technology consultancy. Asked at an online seminar devoted to forecasts about the evolution of the European computer market, the analyst fired red balls. The Gaia-X conglomerate, created in mid-2020 by various French and German players with the aim of offering a local alternative to American public cloud giants, is, according to him, a “static thing “.

“Gaia-X has the ambition to take a dominant position in sovereignty discussions in Europe. But the thing is, they haven’t made any progress on any prototype that will be ready for next summer, “start of the analyst. “Instead of seeking to create technology leaders, Gaia-X is falling into the usual bureaucratic avoidance in the European Union. Lately, they have even explained that they can’t move forward because they are waiting for signatures from Brussels. ”

“The fact is that Gaia-X still has not started delivering the promised services two years after its launch.»

Paul McKayAnalyst, Forrester

The bureaucratic heaviness of the Gaia-X is nothing new. Last November, Scaleway, one of the founding members and one of only three to actually offer to host the European cloud, was already knocking on the door for similar reasons. Yann Lechelle, CEO of the French host has a theory: European subsidiaries of American cloud providers have invited themselves to members to voluntarily slow down work.

For Paul McKay, the reason for this slowdown is less important than its consequences: Gaia-X is not there. “The fact is that Gaia-X still hasn’t started delivering the promised services two years after its launch. And this is all the more remarkable because, during this time, the French and German governments implemented the policies to the sovereignty which itself has influenced the attitude of the hyperscalers of America. »

“These initiatives have pushed AWS, Azure and Google GCP to be more transparent about where they store data, about the technical choices they make to guarantee their customers the sovereignty of their treatment, or even the power they may have over the transactions of certain critical sectors ”, assures the analyst.

According to him, this transparency would be a paradox that would allow American giants to increasingly dominate minds on public cloud projects, “unlike Gaia-X.»

Talking of European states and hyperscaler … without Gaia-X

Paul Mc Kay seems to understand that major sovereign cloud projects will now be built between European states and American cloud giants, without being burdened with Gaia-X: “by 2022, Gaia-X will no longer be in the middle of” , he insisted.

“Gaia-X has certainly served to raise awareness. European companies are now expressing a real desire, a real need to be sovereign. But these companies have realized the need for the protection of the territory of their data, of eco-responsibility values ​​though, will prefer to seek solutions with technologies. And the American hyperscalers offer them such solutions. »

“I think hyperscalers will seek to talk directly with European governments instead of discussing these topics in Gaia-X.»

Paul McKayAnalyst, Forrester

The analyst mentioned pell-mell systems with private keys held by solitary, hybrid storage companies (provided by solutions such as AWS Outposts, Azure Stack or Google Anthos) that leave data affected by local sovereignty.

“The French government, for example, along with SecNumCloud, is forcing local data hosting and this has led to the joint venture between Orange and CapGemini to create a large national host: Bleu. On the other hand, Blue’s interesting point is that it is based on Azure infrastructure. It’s this kind of solutions provided by the hyperscalers themselves I’m talking about. And we are indeed in the case of a government that has taken a sovereign initiative outside of Gaia-X. »

“There is really frustration with the lack of development on Gaia-X. I think hyperscalers themselves will seek to talk directly with European governments instead of discussing these topics on Gaia-X . »

The ecosystem, the Achilles heel of European clouds

Paul McKay is not too optimistic about the possibility of European alternatives to American cloud giants.

“OVHcloud and T-Systems are running to copy hyperscaler offers locally. OVHcloud mimics Google GCP, T-Systems mimics Microsoft Azure. But they have to overcome one difficulty: it’s too complicated for local suppliers this to simulate all the functions that exist in hyperscalers. The advantage of hyperscalers is not the size of their datacenter, it is the size of their ecosystem of partners, of their marketplace. »

He detailed the example of T-Systems, which wants to offer sovereign versions of Microsoft’s online services: “services are more expensive, work less and are less frequently updated. This is not a satisfactory business proposition: you are told that if you want sovereignty, you have to pay more, have a less affluent ecosystem and tools that are a version behind the features.

And to conclude, strictly: “the problem with sovereign cloud initiatives is that they are basically going back to the old concepts of the private datacenter.»

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