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AWS has big ambitions with AWS European Sovereign Cloud. Until 2040, it is freeing up 7.8 million euros to expand it in Germany. In this way, the hyperscaler hopes to realize a sovereign cloud service for all European customers.

AWS expects the financial injection to have a domino effect for additional investments in the European cloud. This is accompanied by an expansion of the AWS Partner Network (APN). If we include things like learning programs, sustainability projects and third-party contributions, the total investment comes to more than 17.2 billion euros, AWS said.

Money to Europe for the long haul

With the additional multi-billion euro investment, Amazon wants to emphasize that it will continue to support Europe for the long haul. The web store side of the company has made major investments in developing the European market for 25 years. Since 2010, the company has invested 150 billion euros for both its retail ventures as well as its AWS cloud service and today employs 150,000 people within the Eurozone.

“This investment is part of our mission to provide customers with the most advanced offering of sovereignty controls, privacy safeguards and security features available in the cloud,” said Max Peterson, AWS Vice President Sovereign Cloud. “We will be investing heavily in new European digital talent and IT infrastructure in the coming years, enabling us to offer customers the operational sovereignty they need. This represents an important milestone for our presence in Europe. We look forward to working with customers and partners across Europe to drive new innovations using AWS European Sovereign Cloud.”

Also read: AWS lures VMware Cloud on AWS customers with low-cost migration

Sovereign turnaround

For a long time, AWS wasn’t all that keen on offering a “sovereign” product, even as other companies were already proclaiming its advantages extensively. Amazon CSO Stephen Schmidt told us in September 2022 that the concept is primarily a marketing term. A multitude of specific uses make the concept less clear than you might imagine.

The suggestion is that a sovereign cloud protects data from outside eyes better than a regular public cloud. For example, the “operational sovereignty” Peterson talks about involves only European staff to maintain the service. A sovereign cloud service comes with guarantees that data is protected to such an extent that government agencies can use the service to process all kinds of personal data, for example.

AWS European Sovereign Cloud was created as a project in cooperation with the German government, specifically the Germany Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). Unlike France, Germany has thereby partnered with an American player (AWS). This has caused exasperation in Paris, as the French want to involve only European players to shape cloud sovereignty. The French government does not want to partner with American players for sovereign services and has spoken out vehemently against that idea.

Other parties like VMware also have clear opinions on this. U.S. legislation would force AWS, Microsoft and Google to hand over the private data of European customers if, for example, the FBI or CIA come knocking. This is because the U.S. CLOUD Act also affects data centers outside the U.S. owned by U.S. companies. That legislation seems to claim sovereignty over data on European territory which is managed and/or owned by a U.S. company. Since this legal assumption has never been tested, we can’t say if that’s true. What AWS does show with its hefty investments is that it sees salvation in the idea of European cloud sovereignty. In addition, the EU has weakened its demands for what constitutes a sovereign cloud for American companies.

Also read: EU drops sovereignty rules for U.S. cloud providers