DE/EU-Cloud Gaia-X: Ingenious Idea or Flopp?

In this article, CRISP-Research vividly describes the advantages and disadvantages of the GAIA-X cloud, the idea of the Federal Ministry of Economics to create a German/EU, cloud as a „competition“ to the American top dogs.

CRISP come to the conclusion that Gaia-X would have a chance if the mistakes of the past (e.g. DE variant of Telekom’s Office 365) were not repeated. Gaia-x could be attractive because it offers an open structure that could possibly also enable multicloud applications.

According to the German Ministry of Economies (BMWI) official project presentation, about 75 people from politics, business and industry are involved in the project. Of these, an estimated 10-15 percent are people who have something to do with „IT“ and perhaps 5-10 percent are thumbs up who would be attributed explicit cloud expertise. Representatives of the cloud providers AWS, Microsoft and Co are not included.

Looking at the staff of the Gaia-X project in particular, I come to the conclusion that it is a political idea that sounds good and has been launched in an actionistic way (we have to do something for the data of our companies and citizens) and by force (we absolutely have to digitize more now, it’s en vogue), unfortunately 10-12 years too late.

What are my thoughts about Gaia-X?

Building such a cloud infrastructure requires services that make dev-ops easier to use than if they were working on-prem. AWS’ goal is to provide 1000 new services per year. Whether the Gaia-X can succeed with the current shortage of skilled workers, I dare to doubt.

To bring Gaia-X up to a halfway competitive (highly secure) level requires money, a lot of money. I would assume billions of EUR. If one compares that for AI in DE until 2025 in comparison to China and USA läppische 3 billion EUR are made available, the question arises, where these billions are to come from. Private investors are needed.

The timetable is extremely ambitious. By the end of 2020 (!?)! the first applications should be ready by mid-2020 (!?!) after the foundation. If one assumes that a medium complex software product takes 1-2 years to marketability, the risk for investors to invest in this project is extremely high. This raises the question for every investor: what is the business case and ROI?

The business case is only attractive for investors if the Gaia-X offer can keep up with the competition of AWS and Co. in terms of price and still yield enough ROI that it is fun in the medium term. Furthermore, a market for Gaia-X would be to provide cheaper but just as secure solutions as for existing on-prem infrastructure. I consider the first point to be very ambitious, given that we are 10 years behind the competition. With regard to the second point, the question is whether classic on-prem users will move their data into the cloud from a cost perspective if they are already willing to pay more today because of their data sovereignty.

My conclusion
I regard the project as extremely critical. From my point of view the pressure on AWS, Microsoft and Co should remain high, so that you try more and more to comply with our regulations (e.g. DSGVO) even better. Microsoft has already reacted to this.

I believe a project like Gaia-X will only succeed if all major European IAAS companies work together and invest massively to make up the 10 years behind. SAP and Telekom will probably not be enough.

We also have other tasks to do with digitization. Perhaps it makes more sense for the BMWI to focus on the real problems of digitization (digital in the energy turnaround, 5G, 4G nationwide, etc.).

At the end Gaia-X will be buried - according to my glass ball evaluation. Hopefully, however, no billions of taxpayers’ money will be burned, which will then be missing elsewhere.

But I also like to be taught a better lesson…

What’s your opinion?