EU cloud strategy calls for standards
Cloud computing technical specification standardization, model contracts and a pooling of requirements among European Union governments would cause the gross domestic product impact of cloud computing in the EU to nearly triple to €250 billion by 2020, says the European Commission.
In a commission cloud strategy (.pdf) dated Sept. 27, the commission says a hands-off approach would result in GDP impact of merely €88 billion by 2020--and as a result, says it will launch cloud-specific actions pertaining to standards and contracts development and creation of an umbrella initiative to join national cloud computing initiatives.
In the last case, the goal isn't creation of a "European super cloud," the strategy states, but what it dubs the European Cloud Partnership, which will work on creation of common procurement requirements that can be shared by member states.
The ECP will be "instrumental for avoiding fragmentation and ensuring public cloud usage is interoperable as well as safe, secure and greener and fully in line with European rules," the strategy states.
When it comes to standards, the strategy states that the commission will task the European Telecommunications Standards Institute with identifying by 2013 "a detailed map" of standards necessary for security, interoperability, data portability and reversibility.
"Currently, individual vendors have an incentive to fight for dominance by locking in their customers, inhibiting standardized, industry-wide approaches," the strategy notes.
This commitment to standards has garnered criticism, for example from the Washington, D.C.-based Software & Information Industry Association, which says "there is no need for special privacy, security, intellectual property or consumer protection rules that apply just to cloud computing."
The commission says, however, that current standardization efforts, mostly led by cloud services providers, may result in lock-in for customers.
As for model contracts, the strategy says the commission itself will unveil model terms for cloud computing service level agreements by the end of 2013 for professional cloud users. It will also task "an expert group" to come up with a model contract for consumers and small firms.
- download the strategy, "Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe" (.pdf)