Laurent Allard, Head of Sovereign Cloud EMEA, VMware
There is one thing the world has in abundance, and that is data. Its proliferation in our work, public and private lives is growing year on year, powering innovation, efficiency, and expansion. It presents exciting opportunities for public and private sector organizations.
But while data alone doesn’t possess inherent value, our ability to transform it into insights, services and applications does, meaning that growing the data economy has become one of the most important goals for organisations across the world. According to the European Commission, unlocking the value of data could be worth Euro 550 billion to the EU by 2025.
Achieving that future isn’t without its challenges though. The distribution and storage of data between organizations and beyond national boundaries has become an obstacle to its protection and utilization, and is prompting organisations to review their usage of private and public clouds, to unlock the value of their data, to meet strict, complex and changing data sovereignty regulations, and to identify new ways to combat new threats to data privacy and security.
We want to give our customers the ability to manage data sovereignty simply and securely, which is why our single multi-cloud platform plays so well in this space by delivering full cloud independence. And for our cloud provider partners we are delivering the VMware’s Sovereign Cloud framework, providing the capabilities to build certified clouds in support.
To help drive digital and data economies locally and regionally, we are simplifying how organisations run multiple clouds that support all types of apps – and data – to help stimulate cloud adoption (today only 25% of EU applications are in the cloud) and create new opportunities for local cloud providers.
As our multi-cloud platform is fully aligned with the Gaia-X principles, it is well-placed to be part of the next generation of data infrastructure in Europe and beyond. We also are part of Structura-X, a Gaia-X lighthouse project of cloud service, open source and infrastructure providers, which aims to industrialise the Gaia-X reference architecture to accelerate digital infrastructures and Data Spaces that align with the Gaia-X principles of portability, reversibility and interoperability.
Dedicated sovereignty expertise
Governments, public and private organisations want to take back control of their data and bring it home – within their national or industry boundaries – in order to protect and use it, encourage the development of local capability and expertise, and create local jobs and wealth.
Figuring out what that journey looks like for each organization means understanding their specific data sovereignty needs and it’s for this reason that I now head up Sovereign Cloud in EMEA for VMware. The mandate for myself and my team is to work with organisations to identify their differentiation in the market and develop a set of solutions and capabilities that will help them achieve their sovereignty goals.
Introducing Sovereign Cloud
Enabling these capabilities at a local level and supporting the development of regional data economies is why we launched the VMware Sovereign Cloud initiative, which empowers local cloud providers with the tools to build certified clouds. Providers such as STC in Saudi Arabia and Ionos in Germany – our latest partners to join the initiative – as well as UKCloud, OVHcloud, AUCloud, Datacom, NxtGen, Noovle, Telefonica, TeitoEvry, Telmex and ThinkOn have been approved as partners since the project’s inception.
All these organizations are trusted national cloud service providers operating a VMware Cloud Verified environment, and experts in regional data privacy laws and operational standards. That’s why they are perfectly positioned to help our customers reap the benefits of cloud whilst concurrently aligning with constantly changing data privacy laws, as well as jurisdictional control, and ensuring that the most sensitive data is managed securely.
On a governance level, the establishment of a wealth of VMware Sovereign Public Cloud Providers has the potential to be truly transformative. Local governments now have the opportunity to safeguard the protection of citizens’ data, foster their own home-grown digital and data economies, and enable the secure digitization of their own core functions for improved services. All while taking advantage of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, which promise to enhance national and regional economic prosperity even further.
Enabling secure data sharing with Data Spaces
The key to this prosperity and the growth of a data economy – in government, public sector and private sector – is the ability to share and collaborate on data. To allow data to move across boundaries safely and securely whilst retaining sovereignty. Data Spaces enable greater exchange, collaboration with, and monetization of data between organizations and industries, independently of the underlying infrastructure, while safeguarding data sovereignty and interoperability.
To speed up their development, we have extended our strategic partnership with Atos to deliver an integrated set of capabilities that help speed up the development of “Data Spaces”, platforms that allow a greater exchange, collaboration, and monetisation of data between organisations or industries, independently of the underlying infrastructure, whilst enabling data sovereignty and interoperability. A rich, integrated, open source-based set of capabilities based on VMware Tanzu Data Services, the collaboration will help organisations build Data Spaces and create value-added services that will help, for example, accelerate the research for the treatment of rare diseases with shared data and context from multiple clinical trials and fight financial crime with greater cross-company and cross-border collaboration. It’s a big step forward on the road to doing more with data.
Only VMware’s multi-cloud platform can unlock these possibilities, so data owners can choose the best clouds for the job of protecting data that must comply with sovereignty and jurisdictional rules and the best clouds for the job of utilizing less sensitive data at scale, all managed simply and with intrinsic security on a single platform.
This is just the start of VMware’s data and cloud sovereignty journey as we help customers navigate a complex but critical evolution of how we use, share, protect and unlock the value of data. Together, we can contribute to the development of a European data economy that will transform both our present, and our future.