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Should the global cloud market be so reliant on US-based companies? Some European countries don’t think so, which has seen a noticeable shift toward sovereign clouds. The big issue here is data, where it is stored, and who controls it.

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google have made significant strides to be the premier cloud providers. The fact that European data would be hosted by large US conglomerates with an uncomfortably cosy relationship with their government is not lost on European governments or companies.

The business angle

One of the issues brought up includes competition. Synergy Research Group released a recent report that found that the European cloud market expanded fourfold between 2017 and 2021, with providers more than doubling their revenues in the segment.

However, the European cloud business lost market share, dropping from 27% to 16% in the same period.

The situation prompted the launch of Gaia-X, an initiative to build a European cloud computing ecosystem, a collective of 22 organizations based in France and Germany. Many European nations have gotten on board with the plan since then, including Poland in September.

Another problem seems to be the CLOUD Act passed by the US Congress, compelling Microsoft to hand over data stored on servers in Ireland. The act also has provisions for executive agreements that would allow law enforcement in foreign countries to request data directly from US companies.

Since every country has its own rules, it would stand to reason those sovereign clouds controlled solely by a nation would present an attractive alternative.

VMware’s role, in its words, is to connect customers with pre-validated sovereign cloud providers and provide technical guidance on the best way to implement them. For the Dell unit, it is about offering flexibility and choice, something European nations want.