Ah the Cloud … it’s been on the table of the different governments for years. Today, any organization needs to use Cloud services for data storage, archiving, dematerialization, and so on. Private companies are quite free on this subject. On the other hand, local authorities and the State in general are lagging behind. Why is the Cloud such a big challenge? Let’s take a closer look.
The Cloud market
Let’s start by taking stock of the Public Cloud. Who are the leaders? There are four of them and you know them all. Between them, in the third quarter of 2019, their combined global market share will be … 72%. We were at 57% at the beginning of 2016.
A great progression for these American and Chinese suppliers. They are :
- Amazon with its AWS offer;
- Microsoft with its Microsoft Azure offer;
- Google with its Google Cloud Platform offer;
- Alibaba with its Alibaba Cloud offer, which is less used in Europe but is developing at full speed.
Behind them are IBM, Salesforce, Oracle (American), Tencent (Chinese) and NTT (Japanese). But where are the Europeans? Better yet, where are the French?
OVH, a French supplier, claims to be the European alternative to these American and Asian giants. Indeed, by the end of 2018, OVH had slipped to 10th place with a market share of just under 1%.
The observation could be as follows: local authorities do not want to host their data with foreign players (outside Europe), but European/French suppliers are struggling to convince, so this explains why local authorities are lagging behind in terms of Cloud.
The answer is a bit more complex than that.
The brakes of local authorities and the State
We are going to see what the 3 main issues are for communities to adopt the Cloud.
First brake: the fear of espionage. The state fears that hosting sensitive data with American or Asian service providers could open the door to espionage.
The government fears that the secrets of France’s jewels could be known by their international competitors if they are hosted by foreign technologies.
Except that the authorities are following the state. So if the state does not consider and recommend the use of foreign public clouds, local authorities will not go in that direction either.
Second brake: the law. Many archives constitute national treasures as understood by article L111-1 of the heritage code. However, national treasures cannot leave French territory without a specific authorization. This therefore prohibits the storage of data outside French territory. Except that for the state, sorting is difficult.
Fortunately, the state is considering changing the scope of national treasures: current and intermediate archives will no longer constitute national treasures, while definitive archives, selected by archivists because of their historical or heritage interest, will remain national treasures.
This means that little by little, the law is adapting to new uses. The more the state will authorize data storage outside the territory, the more it will send positive signals to communities.
OVH has pointed this out and many French publishers, as Wisper notes: the French state has a structure that is unsuitable for new digital services, which generally present an economic model that does not please the state.
There was a time when using digital consisted of buying equipment and licenses for 1, 3 or 5 years for example, this is what we call Capex, and therefore investment. This is how the state allocates its budgets today.
However, the new digital services are rather turned towards “on demand” models: Opex. Opex has many advantages, as we mentioned in a previous article: Cloud computing: a new economic lever for your investment strategy!
Operational costs for budgets based on investment, that’s what complicates things!
Octave Klaba, Chairman of the Board of Directors of OVH, said as early as 2013: “In the business world it will be said that the State has a lot of budget to make Capex and little to make Opex. And so, if an organization wants to use a Cloud, it cannot do so, because the budgets it has at its disposal allow it to buy software or buy a server, but not to rent them. Structurally, therefore, the State is not ready to adopt the Cloud”.
So what future for the Cloud in local authorities?
Several projects, both European and French, are emerging.
A European project
On October 29, 2019, Germany presented Gaia-X, a European Cloud project supported by France, which should enable Europe to free itself from the American and Asian domination of data storage and processing in the Cloud.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has herself acknowledged “We are behind schedule”. Even if we knew that, it is good to see that leaders are recognizing this and making this issue a priority.
The system, “based on European values, must in particular comply with European data protection standards and use secure and open technologies,” Bercy said.
Will we see this project tomorrow? Patience, the European Commission, for its part, has stated that “any project of this type will have to comply with European Union rules on competition and public procurement”. One more brake? We shall see.
France and the “cloud of trust
France, for its part, launched 4 calls for tender. The aim: to move towards a trusted cloud. This may remind you of the “sovereign cloud” project. That was in 2012. In the end, it was a failure.
The ANSSI (the French national agency for information systems and services) requires data to be hosted in France, by European players. OVH, Outscale and Orange Business Service are in the process of qualifying and are very interested in this market, which is certainly small but profitable. Scaleway, Iliad’s subsidiary, is also monitoring this issue.
What about ceBox®?
In any case, Wisper is ready to support local authorities in their digital transformation projects.
The ceBox® solution, which enables local authorities to manage all their workstations, whether fixed or portable, simply and centrally, is based on a Cloud infrastructure. In particular for the storage of workstation “images” (OS + applications).
The ceBox® solution is compatible with any type of Cloud: public or private. The solution can also be managed via an internal datacenter.
In this short video, discover why the city of Caen chose ceBox® to equip the Alexis de Tocqueville library:
If you would like to know more about the ceBox® solution, request a demo by clicking here. You will be able to benefit from a remote demonstration or directly in our Lab in the Paris area.