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What will Gaia-X do on the cloud with Alibaba and Palantir? Facts and uncertainties

What will Gaia-X do on the cloud with Alibaba and Palantir? Facts and uncertainties

There will also be the Americans Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Palantir (the company of the "spies"), and the Chinese Huawei and Alibaba, in the European initiative for the cloud Gaia-X, which risks being just an empty box. Here because.

There will also be the American companies Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Palantir (the latter defined by Il Manifesto as the company of "spies" ), and the Chinese Huawei and Alibaba, in the European initiative for the cloud called Gaia-X, aimed at building secure and interoperable cloud services for companies and administrations on the continent.

Launched in 2020 but officially founded in 2021, Gaia-X is the European project for the development of an efficient and competitive, secure and reliable federation of data infrastructures and cloud service providers, born with the aim of creating "the next generation of data infrastructures for Europe, its states, its companies and its citizens ”.

Although initially reported in the press as a European response to the predominant presence of non-European cloud service providers, Gaia-X now looms as a governance initiative that has the ambition to boost the digital economy of the Union by building a “Cloud regulation” which harmonises data management, the creation of sectoral data pools with free access for research and innovation purposes and the federation of cloud services offered by both European and non-European actors. At the end of the development of Gaia-X, a common European cloud infrastructure – understood as a presence on the EU territory – should be born in which both users and providers of infrastructure cloud services or software, both European and non-European, can participate.


With common rules and quality standards, Gaia-X aims for sector harmonization that allows the European Union to accelerate its data strategy. However, the project has seen a progressive downsizing compared to the initial Franco-German thrusts , losing that almost protectionist character that worried companies and even some governments more open to technology.

Some of the largest foreign companies, such as Alibaba, Amazon Web Services and Google, are now sitting at the table of the initiative, although the board of Gaia-X is controlled exclusively by Europeans, in line with the agenda of digital sovereignty. However, the request for participation from Chinese network provider Huawei, data analytics company Palantir and even Microsoft sparked lively discussions, particularly regarding the inclusion criteria at the project table.

Its creator, the Minister of Economy of the Federal Republic of Germany Peter Altmaier, however, continues to argue that Gaia-X is open to any supplier – even American or Chinese – who meets the requirements and rules underlying the initiative. which has led up to now to the adhesion of 212 companies ( 29 Italian companies , including Leonardo, Almaviva and Aruba).


Currently, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU are working on the first part of the data strategy plan, which includes common rules on how data should be shared and stored across the Union. The Commission will publish the second part, intended for the processing of company data, at the end of the year. The official regulation of the Commission on the cloud is also scheduled for mid-2022. With Gaia-X, the European Union seems to want to replicate the success of the GDPR, which in a short time has become a world best practice that has consolidated the role of 'Union as a regulatory force.


The new CEO of Gaia-X, Francesco Bonfiglio ( who comes from the Italian Engineering ), speaking about the project in an interview with Politico said "I've never seen anything like it in the past, in terms of number of participants, of money concrete available to do things, of speed of aggregation of people around common objectives. Having everyone on the same page is an unprecedented event ”. Altmaier also announced that there are no "significant delays", however not everyone feels the same way.


The reality, however, is somewhat different, according to many analysts. Gaia-X was registered as an association in Belgium on February 1, 2021. According to information from the main Internet business association ECO, not a single line of program code has yet been written for the so-called "Federation Services", the technical basis of the project. The development of these basic concepts is not even announced, the exact specifications are still missing. But without Federation Services, specific products cannot be programmed to process data according to the Gaia-X standard, as confirmed by Maximilian Ahrens, Chief Technology Officer of T-Systems, an IT multinational belonging to Deutsche Telekom.

It is difficult to sell and buy something that does not yet exist and is not known . and even more complex to defend its value. Only time will tell us whether Gaia-X will be destined to replicate the failures of the initiatives – all of the French brand – that precede it in the field of European cloud computing, or whether the requests and interest of the public sector will be able to give it the necessary acceleration to work also thanks to the support of American and Chinese technology , currently unattainable and needed to build a true European digital market.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/innovazione/cosa-combinera-gaia-x-sul-cloud-con-alibaba-e-palantir-fatti-e-incertezze/ on Tue, 06 Apr 2021 14:21:32 +0000.