Deutsche Telekom and OVHcloud team up for Gaia-X – as Macron says Europe must resume cloud battle

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

French cloud and hosting provider OVHcloud and T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, have announced a cooperation to create a ‘trusted public cloud offering’ for Germany, France, and other European markets.

The two companies will contribute to the Gaia-X initiative, a collaboration between the European Commission (EC), Germany, France, and various organisations within the continent.

The proposed offering will ‘address the specific needs of the public sector as well as essential infrastructure operators and companies of all sizes operating in strategic or sensitive areas of public interest’, the companies said, as well as address areas around data sovereignty and GDPR compliance.

Details of the specifics show Deutsche Telekom will look to utilise its strong operations and data centres, along with public sector expertise, while OVHcloud, as the pure cloud player, will leverage its PCI platform to better align with T-Systems customers and partners. The two companies will also look at greater energy efficiency in its infrastructure setup.

“Deutsche Telekom is a strong supporter of a sovereign European Cloud,” said Frank Strecker, SVP global cloud computing and big data at Deutsche Telekom in a statement. “However, to make a sovereign European cloud infrastructure successful we need to scale fast. And we need the support of the public sector.”

The move towards creating a Europe-centric cloud to take market share from the dominant hyperscale vendors in cloud infrastructure has been on the table since the beginning of this year. In February, the EC set out plans to invest €2 billion as part of a bid to restore the continent’s ‘technological sovereignty.’

Recent developments have given the initiative something of a boost. In July, the European Court of Justice invalidated Privacy Shield, an EU-US agreement which provided companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with data protection requirements. As this publication explored in-depth last month, privacy advocates argue this could have serious ramifications for the US-based hyperscalers.

OVHcloud, whose VP northern Europe Hiren Parekh told CloudTech of how the company had built its governance and organisation, was recently recognised by Forrester for ensuring a European offering not affected by the US-based CLOUD Act, which gives US law enforcement authorities the power to request data stored by many major cloud providers – even outside the United States. CEO Michel Paulin added in a statement that its CLOUD Act-free offering ‘is of utmost priority, enabled through our efficient and fully integrated model.’

Following the Deutsche Telekom-OVHcloud announcement, French president Emmanuel Macron said in a conference that Europe should not rely ‘on any non-European power’ with regards to data security and 5G. As reported by Reuters, Macron admitted Europe had ‘lost’ the global battle in cloud computing but should resume the war. “If we want our ecosystem to be sustainable, it has to be sovereign,” he added.

Read more: Privacy Shield ruling could lead to dark clouds ahead for hyperscalers, privacy advocates warn

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