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GAIA-X: Strengthening Europe's digital sovereignty via the cloud

by Editorial team
Map of Europe with gold pins.
GAIA-X is working on the vision of a European cloud.

In this article you will read about,

  • why GAIA-X is boosting European innovation,
  • why the cloud initiative provides more independence, and
  • how companies can benefit from it in the long term.  


A European data infrastructure that strengthens the EU’s digital sovereignty and provides the basis for more synergies and innovations: That is the vision for GAIA-X. Presented two years ago at the German government's Digital Summit, the ambitious project is increasingly taking shape. More than 300 companies are now involved in the initiative and are working together on the vision of the European cloud – Deutsche Telekom, as a founding member, was involved right from the start. The provider is supporting the initiative with comprehensive market and technology expertise.

European cloud promotes innovation

Data centers and the cloud services based on them play a central role in the international competitiveness of companies. They serve as the basis for digitalization, enable the transformation of business models, and establish new forms of collaboration. According to a survey by the digital association Bitkom, in Germany alone three out of four companies now work with cloud services. "Technology is thus increasingly becoming a decisive factor for the innovative strength and competitiveness of many companies – also at the European Union level," says Fabian Placht, Senior Sales Manager at the Open Telekom Cloud.

The prerequisite for being able to fully exploit the possibilities of cloud solutions at any time is extensive freedom when it comes to the use of the corresponding services. Because as diverse as the business models and strategies of European companies are, their application scenarios and the associated requirements are just as individual.

"However, the necessary individualism is almost impossible to achieve for many companies, as they are dependent on non-European cloud providers in many respects. As operators of the necessary technologies, these dominate large parts of the value chains," says Marc Köhler, Vice President Financial Services at T-Systems. Strengthening digital sovereignty through its own independent data infrastructure is therefore an important step in order to be able to survive in international competition in the long term. It is also particularly relevant in industries such as finance and insurance with the highest requirements for GDPR-compliant European data storage and processing, he said.

The cloud becomes a pan-European ecosystem

This is where GAIA-X comes in: With its comprehensive commitment to open-source architecture alone, the initiative lays an important foundation for greater sovereignty. The use of open-source instead of proprietary cloud technologies can ensure independence, transparency, and interoperability. Third parties cannot exert any influence in this scenario – the open-source codes make it clear to every participant what happens to their data. In this way, companies are free to choose their preferred provider for the cloud applications.

"GAIA-X not only provides a platform for a legally compliant and traceable data exchange, it also promotes the resulting synergies as a Europe-wide ecosystem," says Fabian Placht. Companies can exchange relevant data sets securely and easily on the basis of GAIA-X and benefit directly from their partners’ expertise. This in turn strengthens the pan-European market position and increases the innovation potential of the EU member states.

Public OpenStack platform for trusted public cloud services

As a founding member, Deutsche Telekom is not only involved in planning the standards and principles of GAIA-X, but also with the Open Telekom Cloud  it already offers an independent infrastructure for sophisticated digitalization projects. As the leading European cloud solution, it is ready for GAIA-X, setting the highest standards for digital sovereignty.

One of the goals: To establish or expand the OpenStack offering for sovereign European clouds within the framework of GAIA-X. And, thus, to create a public OpenStack cloud platform for the European markets, on the basis of which trustworthy public cloud services can be offered. A major advantage: "As an OpenStack platform that is already available, with the Open Telekom Cloud we can contribute extensive operational experience, numerous references, and many market-relevant certifications," says Fabian Placht.

The next step toward digital sovereignty

The Internet industry association eco is currently specifying the so-called Federation Services for GAIA-X: Behind this is a federated concept for the administration and use of the GAIA-X data infrastructure. The goal: to allow individual user groups to organize themselves within a defined framework. The specification focuses on the five core services of GAIA-X: Identity & Trust, Federated Catalogue, Sovereign Data Exchange, Compliance, and Federation Services Integration & Portal.


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