The European Commission has approved in principle an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) aimed at supporting the research, development and industrial deployment of advanced technologies in cloud and edge computing. Coordinated by Germany and France, it aims to build the next generation of cloud infrastructure, both sovereign and “ in line with European values “.
Called IPCEI Next Generation Cloud Infrastructure and Services (IPCEI CIS), the plan mobilizes seven Member States – France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain -, 19 European cloud companies and more than 90 indirect partners. The investment is up to the challenge, with a budget of around 2.6 billion euros. The participating States will release 1.2 billion euros – including 300 million for France – with the balance coming from private investments.
The first multi-provider cloud-edge continuum
The primary objective of this PIIEC is to build the very first multi-provider cloud-edge continuum. Either a decentralized environment, based on a software infrastructure, and allowing data to be processed in the cloud or at the edge. This open ecosystem, based on federated, interoperable and open source building blocks, will be operated by multiple suppliers. What “ will reduce technological dependencies as well as lock-in effects », estimates the European Commission. It must also be energy efficient.
The program focuses on the development of both computing capabilities and software and sharing tools. A reference architecture will serve as a model for setting up and operating cloud resources and associated services. The European Commission press release does not, however, specify what interactions this IPCEI will have with the Gaia-X community project which aims to ensure the interoperability of existing cloud services on the basis of common standards.
Photo: Didier Reynders, interim European Commissioner for Competition
The program includes 19 projects which will run until 2031 with the delivery of a first reference open source infrastructure expected by the end of 2027. Already, different use cases are envisaged, focused on the processing of data and notably mixing artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), in the fields of Industry 4.0, health, energy or autonomous driving.
OVHcloud and Scaleway absent from the list
Among the participating companies, there are two French players – Orange and Atos – who will intervene in the cloud and edge capacities part. They will rub shoulders with Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, SAP, TIM and Tiscali Italia. On the other hand, other national cloud flagships do not appear in the list such as OVHcloud, European leader in the cloud, Scaleway of the iliad group or Outscale, cloud subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes.
Other French representatives are, however, part of the indirect partners including suppliers Amadeus, CGI France, Lacroix Electronics, Ningaloo, No Blue Screen System, Provenrun, Ryax technologies, United Biometrics and research laboratories with Inria, the universities of Lille , from South Brittany or Caen.
The European executive specifies that, “ The results and knowledge of the project will be widely shared by the participating companies with the European industry and scientific community, beyond the companies and countries that are part of the IPCEI. » At least a thousand direct and indirect, highly qualified jobs should be created during the R&D and « much more during the commercialization phase. »