Amazon Web Services (AWS) is planning to launch at least one sovereign cloud region in Europe.
“The AWS European Sovereign Cloud will allow government agencies, regulated industries, and the independent software vendors (ISVs) that support them to store sensitive data and run critical workloads on AWS infrastructure that is operated and supported by AWS employees located in and residents of the European Union (EU),” the company announced this week.
The company said the first region will be located in Germany – suggesting more are planned – without naming the city or planned future locations.
Timelines for the launch were not shared. The company didn’t say if the region would be in the company's own data centers or a partner facility.
“The upcoming AWS European Sovereign Cloud will be separate from, and independent of, the eight existing AWS Regions,” the company said. “The AWS European Sovereign Cloud will be operationally independent of the other regions, with separate in-region billing and usage metering systems.”
The region will offer the same services and use the same APIs as other regions but will require a fresh AWS account. The company said that metadata created – such as data labels, categories, permissions, and configurations – will be stored within the EU.
In a blog post, AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr said: “The initial region will be located in Germany. It will launch with multiple Availability Zones, each in separate and distinct geographic locations, with enough distance between them to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting your business continuity.”
Barr noted companies can begin developing applications today in existing European regions and migrate them to the sovereign region once it launches.
Strict data privacy laws combined with concerns about the ability of US law enforcement to demand data held by US companies abroad means many European companies and governments are wary of US cloud operators.
But while European operators often tout their sovereignty offerings, they struggle to compete with the US operators on scale and breadth of services. The US operators are all attempting to overcome concerns over data privacy through sovereign cloud offerings, which they promise won't leave the territory it's stored in or accessed by foreign powers.
Oracle has launched two sovereign cloud regions in Frankfurt, Germany, and Madrid, Spain. Digital Realty is the host partner for the EU Sovereign Cloud region location in Madrid, and Equinix is the host partner for the region location in Frankfurt.
Microsoft and Google also have sovereign cloud offerings, but are being marketed through partners. In 2021, Orange and Capgemini launched France-based cloud company Bleu to sell Microsoft Azure services from local data centers.
Google has partnered with T-Systems in Germany, Thales in France, and Proximus in Belgium and Luxembourg. A leaked report suggests Google views its trusted partner cloud initiative as its "most important program" and believes it can corner a $100 billion market in Europe and Asia via data sovereignty-compliant clouds.