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A Cloud For Europe: Colt Expands vCloud Datacenter Service

Yesterday at VMworld in Copenhagen, Colt announced further expansion of its vCloud Datacenter Services into four new European countries – France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. But doesn’t the cloud mean you don’t care where your computing is done, so long as it’s secure and cost effective? Why does it matter that there’s now a local vCloud Datacenter Service in all these countries?

All vCloud Datacenter Services offer a globally-consistent infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) service definition that is audited and certified by VMware. The goal is to allow VMware customers to deploy to the cloud in any geography with no changes to the application. IaaS is a highly competitive market and each service provider delivers additional value around that core IaaS offering. Colt’s announcement is good example of their differentiation, and also underlines the importance of intimate local market knowledge for cloud.

At the core of this expansion is that the three most important issues in cloud computing for European organizations are location, location and location. Data privacy and security legislation varies significantly from country to country, which means that knowing where your data is located and who has jurisdiction and access are vital to a cloud for Europe. If you’re an organization operating in Switzerland and have Swiss customer data, you have to comply with that country’s strict information privacy and data retention laws. Putting your data in (say) Ireland doesn’t cut it.

European organizations are also leery of a variety of US laws and its law enforcement approaches, notably the Patriot Act and the FBI’s use of National Security Letters (NSLs) to enforce it. NSLs allow the FBI to order any service provider in its jurisdiction to hand over electronic communications or data without review or demonstration of probable cause, and to retain that data indefinitely. The FBI can also simultaneously gag the recipient, who cannot disclose that the request has been made. The American Civil Liberties Union estimated that more than 40,000 NSLs are issued each year. As a result, there’s a growing market for cloud service providers that are not subject to US jurisdiction.

The net? Working with a cloud service provider like Colt that stays on top of the shifting sands of EU and individual country regulations, and who offers very specific data locality and security in its cloud services is an important differentiator. Colt is able to make the decision simple – with its vCloud Datacenter Service you can co-locate your computing with your data inside country boundaries. Need to comply with Swiss privacy regulations? Deploy your application and keep its data in Switzerland, with a back-up site in the same country.

Read more about Colt’s expansion here.