US to Europe: “Eat My Cloud Dust”

US to Europe: “Eat My Cloud Dust”

Europe may trump the United States in such matters as academic prosperity in mathematics and sciences, as we know it celebrates its monarchs with far more compelling pomp and circumstance that we could possibly muster for our heads of state. But clout in cloud remains one discipline in which America continues to exert overwhelming dominance over the continent across the pond. This isn’t to say that nations like France, Germany, and even economically beleaguered Greece aren’t curious about cloud and the shot in the arm it could offer to their collective IT acumen. But heaps of curiosity won’t help Europe catch up to us Yankees for quite some time – at least two years in fact, according to UK Computing.

What exactly is holding Europe back from catching up to us Americans? Arguably the largest restraint the continent faces in cloud are the tightly controlled privacy laws and regulations that have soaked deeply and indelibly into the governmental fabric of many of its countries. Speaking of many countries, the plurality of nations also complicates a continent-wide engagement with cloud; each country’s cultures of business and economy tends, more often than not, to elbow and chafe with the tendencies of another state. Anyone who pays even faint attention to world news is aware of the painful debt debacle (Greece, cough, cough), and the subsequent pervasive recession, that has preoccupied Europe ahead of less pressing matters such as IT reform.

To elaborate on myriad European countries’ data protection regulations is an important step in fully understanding how they thwart cloud, fazing efforts to wholeheartedly embrace the promising yet not-risk-free technology. These laws seem to constantly change and mushroom, leaving several American cloud companies with no other choice than to abandon Europe in fear of challenging the Patriot Act and how it relates to European data protection law. As the European Union boasts 17 nations currently, each of them with their own unique stances on issues of new technology, these cloud providers may able be put off by the difficulty of adjusting to a plethora of diverse business procedures.

Policymakers in the EU are also restricted by an extremely lethargic and stubborn tradition of snail’s-pace bureaucracies. Add to this an economic climate hampered by persistent debt, which naturally discourages investments and encourages conservative consideration of risky ventures, and you can understand Europe’s holistic challenge to welcome opportunities like cloud. Rest assured that cloud’s undeniable assets cannot go ignored for much longer. Intelligent European businesspeople and IT folk will see to it that cloud gets its day in the EU sun. Until that day, however, we in America won’t wait for the Continent to play catch-up.

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

Comments

  1. MaxBuchler says

    I’m not sure whether you mean adoption or the quantity of euro CSP’s/euro CSP seats but I assume it’s the adoption of cloud in general. There is definitely a problem with EU and cloud adoption. And this is according to me quite difficult to both explain and solve and definitely to comment in a comment :). One easy way is to say that the problem might be the lack of well-known CSP’s (exception does exist) in the euro area and the “problem” with EU laws vs US great cloud services and well-known US CSP’s, which for sure dominate both the cloud and the on-prem market. I think many EU companies look at the possibility to adopt US cloud services but laws sometimes say it’s not possible, so; there’s a problem. But I think we should dig deeper in to the history of Europe. Sometimes it’s referred to as a unit or country (like the US with several states). Some people in Brussels and in EU also seem to have that same kind of Nirvana thinking. But it’s not. After WWII a co-op between some European countries started and in mid-90′s EU was a fact. Today EU has 27 member nations, as you say; a lot of nations. I would say these 27 nations talk about 20 different languages. These countries all have a long history incl wars (often against each other), epidemics, rise & fall etc. They have their own culture and laws as you say. Since EU is quite “young” it takes time to tweak (CloudTweak!) laws. The fact that countries have own agendas and different history etc etc – it’s not making anything easier. It’s a prob. When a Swedish (I’m Swede) company want to adopt an international cloud service they have to look at Swedish laws AND EU laws. Plus, they think like Swedes, exactly like Germans think like Germans. Companies either stay within their country by adopting a domestic cloud service or traditional SaaS or they start to look at services delivered from well-known CSP’s around the world = US CSP’s. Seldom would an EU country look at other EU countries CSP’s. Swedes might look at UK because of the language but a French company would possibly not look at what a German CSP offer, and not only because of the language… I really think that many of the “ifs” is in the history and the fundamental misinterpretation that everyone in EU can play with each other. A lot of people still think they are “Swedes” and not Europeans. But I really hope and think EU companies will start to catch up, not because to catch up or compete with US, because EU countries need cloud services. As said; this is hard to “just comment” but I hope you understand the basic point – it’s not as easy as you might think, it’s not only slow bureaucracy and sometimes stupid laws creating the problem, but we will catch up. I will try to convince people in my coming post on KYC: The Multiculti Cloud.

    Great weekend.

    Max/Swede/European ;)

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