For a long time, Europe was far behind when it came to the all-important areas of digitization and cloud computing. This is now set to change. With the new Gaia X initiative, several European countries under the leadership of France and Germany now want to create a uniform and common data infrastructure. In the following guide, we reveal exactly what this means and whether Gaia X really is a European cloud.
What is Gaia X?
Gaia X is the name of a European joint project that is intended to serve as a template for the creation of a common data infrastructure and is currently still in the development phase. The project involves representatives from politics, business and science, among others. The aim of the project is to drive forward the digitization and networking of European companies in particular by providing cloud computing services.
In addition, the sovereignty of European data is to be ensured and dependence on primarily Chinese and American providers of cloud computing solutions reduced. The Gaia X data infrastructure is intended to meet the highest standards of security, data protection and transparency and thus also strengthen the innovative power of European companies. The developers of the Gaia X model are planning a data infrastructure that will enable users to select the right provider for the cloud service they need from a global catalog.
Maximum transparency is intended to make areas such as the company's headquarters, the location of the data center and compliance with data protection regulations easy for companies to see and to help them make their decisions. In addition, it should be possible to switch between different providers easily and at any time. Nevertheless, Gaia X is not intended to be a competitor to existing products and solutions.
Is Gaia X a European cloud?
Even though Gaia X is often portrayed as such in the media, it is by no means a European cloud. Rather, it is a centralized and federated service that aims to connect a wide variety of areas and services through standardized interfaces and thus make them accessible to the end user.
Gaia X is therefore not about creating a competitor product to the hyperscalers such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Rather, it is about capturing a comprehensive infrastructure in which users can access all these services, but within the framework of the European market and European laws.
This is what Gaia X is supposed to do
As already mentioned, Gaia X is intended to create a European data infrastructure that will enable primarily European companies to benefit from the many advantages of the cloud. The core elements of this new ecosystem are data security, data sovereignty and portability of data and services. In other words, precisely the areas that have so far proved problematic when using foreign providers.
For your application as a user, you can think of it like this: You are looking for a new cloud computing service and therefore call up the global Gaia catalog. There, you now look for the best provider for the desired service, which can also be a US company. The service itself does not come from Gaia X, but continues to come from the companies.
The benefit of Gaia X is that it provides your company with a platform that allows you to access the services of different providers simply and easily, combine them with each other, and also switch between providers at any time. In addition, providers in Gaia X must respect the data sovereignty of companies.
Gaia X as a solution for data privacy
Until now, the most serious problem for European companies wanting to access the cloud services of international providers has been data protection. Directives such as the GDPR apply not only to how a company collects data, but also to what happens to the data afterwards.
However, these large international providers are often the ones who offer the best and most cost-effective solutions. Gaia X should now make it possible for European companies to use international providers without hesitation, since they will also be operating in a European infrastructure.
What's next for Gaia X?
The goals of Gaia X are extremely ambitious, both in terms of data protection and in all other areas. After all, for such a common, networked and standardized infrastructure, countless areas, authorities and companies must be brought together in a single system. It will certainly take a little longer before there is such a network from which users can then always choose the right provider.
However, Gaia X is actually more than just lip service from politics and business. Countless companies, including IT giants such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, have publicly declared their support for Gaia X and are actively working to implement this infrastructure. Representatives from politics and science are also actively striving to realize the project. So we can remain optimistic!