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French and German cloud firms launch 'sovereign' public cloud

OVHcloud and T-Systems have joined forces to create a trusted public cloud offering for Germany, France and other European markets, to address data sovereignty demands among organisations and help them comply with GDPR data privacy rules.

The move contributes to the European Union-backed Gaia-X initiative, that demands the “highest level of openness and transparency, data sovereignty, European data privacy and security” when it comes to public cloud services. The pair will develop a “unique” OpenStack-based public cloud platform. The offering will address the specific needs of the public sector, as well as the needs of infrastructure operators and companies of all sizes “operating in strategic or sensitive areas of public interest”, said the partners.

“Deutsche Telekom is a strong supporter of a Sovereign European Cloud,” said Frank Strecker, responsible for Deutsche Telekom’s public cloud business. “However, to make a sovereign European cloud infrastructure successful we need to scale fast. And we need the support of the public sector.”

Max Ahrens, CTO of T-Systems (the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom), added: “With OVHcloud we plan to develop this fully European trusted public cloud offering. While our French partners can provide their leading cloud technology based on self-build server technology and their open-source-premised information system, we will take care of the infrastructure and operations in our German data centres.”

Michel Paulin, CEO at OVHcloud, said: “We are proud to partner with T-Systems and to become the first movers with a truly sovereign public cloud service following the Gaia-X principles. It will provide the most strategic businesses with highest standards of security.

“Our US Cloud Act-free offering is of utmost priority to us, enabled through our efficient and fully integrated model.”

The controversial US Cloud Act passed last year allows US federal agencies to seize data controlled by US cloud and technology companies – including AWS, Microsoft, Google, IBM and Oracle. It's a similar law as to that on China's statute, which allows the Chinese government to demand data controlled by Chinese companies such as Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent.

OVHcloud owns 31 data centres across four continents. Earlier this month, France-headquartered OVHcloud launched a private cloud service for the European channel. The new Hosted Private Cloud portfolio enables channel partners to address the strategic needs of large organisations around “performance, security and isolation and location” for their data, said OVHcloud, while at the same time offering “competitive pricing”.