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Several Dutch knowledge institutes and Internet service providers, supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, will jointly set up a Gaia-X test environment. Within the test environment, cloud service providers can investigate whether they meet the cloud standards, specifications and regulations of the European Gaia-X project.

Creating a Dutch test environment for the pan-European federated data and cloud infrastructure initiative should make it easier for Dutch cloud service providers to test their solutions. Ultimately, this should lead to users in the Netherlands, but also throughout Europe, getting a better grip on their own data.

Cooperation for test environment

To set up the test environment, a number of knowledge institutes and Internet providers will work closely together: the Dutch Gaia-X Hub, TNO, BIT, Intermax, Info Support, SURF and AMS-IX. Indirectly, through the Dutch Gaia-X Hub, the project is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The test environment will initially be set up based on the open-source technology Kubernetes. Internet service providers BIT, Intermax and SURF will connect their independently managed Kubernetes clusters, using the open source project Liqo, via private VLANs of the AMS-IX. Info Support provides monitoring of this cloud federation test environment.

In addition, TNO is providing the technical integration and validation of a number of technical use cases within this federated environment. Other cloud federation techniques will be added in later phases.

Phased rollout

The development project will have a phased rollout. In the first phase, the test setup set up will be tested by the various parties themselves. Among other things, it will be tested whether data and workloads can be migrated from cloud provider to cloud provider. It will also be tested whether the capabilities of the cloud providers can be combined with each other so that scale can be obtained.

In a later phase, the Dutch test setup will be linked to the Italian, German and Belgian test environments. This is to achieve the federated cloud principles applicable within Gaia-X across country borders as well. With this pan-European test infrastructure, cloud providers can offer Gaia-X compliant cloud services in an open ecosystem.

Part of Structura-X

The Dutch Gaia-X test environment to be realized also connects to the Structura-X component within the European Gaia-X initiative. Structura-X is an initiative of 28 European cloud companies that want to set up their cloud services in full compliance with the Gaia-X guidelines. This consortium consists mainly of European cloud providers and Internet exchanges.

Within Structura-X, a federated ecosystem of independent cloud providers is being built with common certification and labels. This is to stimulate the interchangeability of cloud services. This should give customers of (cloud) infrastructure and platform services more freedom of choice. It should also give more (data) sovereignty in the European cloud landscape.

Companies interested in the Dutch Gaia-X test setup can also participate in the project and join.

Also read: Oracle expands OCI with sovereign cloud regions inside EU