Building a Sustainable, Federated European Cloud: A Vision for Europe


Building a Sustainable, Federated European Cloud: A Vision for Europe

This document outlines the vision for a sustainable and accessible European cloud; one that will be open-source, fair, and create economic opportunities for all. Despite existing challenges, it is possible and  may soon become a reality. Such digital infrastructure will reflect European values and provide a blueprint that others around the world can draw inspiration from to further develop their own digital economies.

Executive Summary

We have identified several challenges in the existing cloud infrastructure. 

  1. Cloud infrastructure is currently wasting resources and therefore creating a larger carbon footprint than necessary. 
  2. There is a lack of European geopolitical presence, as big US-based tech firms are dominating the market. 
  3. We have identified anti-competitive customer acquisition practices, such as big cloud providers giving ‘credits’ to use cloud infrastructure to both existing businesses and startups. 
  4. Existing cloud providers are of a vertical nature, locking in the customer to one vendor. We need to unbundle the services from the underlying market to create a more competitive market. 

Our Vision is to create a European cloud platform of regional marketplaces

The design criteria of a European cloud platform are:

  • Fairness: creating a competitive European marketplace
  • Efficiency: greater competition between digital power suppliers also promotes efficiency, increasing data center and hardware utilization rates while reducing energy waste and carbon emissions.
  • European Alignment: we need a unified approach to access green digital power across Europe, amplify diversity, foster innovation, and facilitate fair competition.

Next steps: regional and national starting points and using Europe’s existing data center infrastructure 

Different regions can create their own infrastructure and make it part of their nation's total cloud infrastructure by participating in a national marketplace. Each nation taps into a European or even global single market, creating a competitive marketplace for digital power on which the digital economy can be built in a sustainable way and with a long-term vision.

There are several reasons for bringing together Europe’s existing infrastructure. 

  1. We need to focus on upgrading, retrofitting, and renovating existing resources, as IT hardware needs to be continuously renewed regardless of the age of the facility. 
  2. Bigger is not necessarily better: advances in IT hardware efficiency and performance have levelled out, meaning that applications now need to scale horizontally. They need more total infrastructure, rather than upgrading to faster or better infrastructure.
  3. The existing infrastructure is vastly underutilized due to layers of redundancies and architecture that is designed for “peak capacity.” 

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