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Cloud Partnership Targets European Standards, Procurements

January 26, 2012 – The leader of a prominent European Union technology committee is forming a group to boost procurement and standards for public cloud adoption, which is expected to bring efficiencies and savings to that continent’s “flagging economies.”

Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, pledged an initial investment of 10 million Euros (about $13 million U.S.) to start the partnership, according to an online record of statements made Thursday before the World Economic Forum being held in Davos, Switzerland. Made up of public authorities and private industry and modeled partly after U.S. federal cloud guidelines, the partnership is charged with finding common requirements for cloud procurement that factors in standards and security, and ensures competition. Next, the partnership is expected to deliver proof-of-concept solutions and then reference implementations for public cloud adoption. The first set of guidelines is expected sometime in 2013, Kroes said.

Organizing the partnership has already begun. However, Kroes warned that the group is not concerned with building a “European super-cloud” through forced integration of existing public cloud infrastructures, but an ease of movement toward efficiencies offered in public deployments. Kroes recognized hesitation regarding data protection, interoperability and legal issues surrounding the cloud, barriers which she said Europe’s public entities must overcome at a time when many of its nation’s are ailing financially.

“No doubt the concept will evolve as more details are fixed. These will be set out, together with other elements, in the European Cloud Computing Strategy later this year. A strategy as a whole to ensure Europe becomes not just cloud-friendly, but cloud-active,” she said.

The Dutch commission leader also recently delivered agreed-upon data protection standards for IT, including the cloud, for public entities. Last year before the worldwide economic group, Kroes made a speech calling for cloud standards.

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