Source: Taking the Airbus to the IKEA Cloud by Bert Hubert
- All of computing is moving to the cloud at a rapid clip, including (government) parts you might want to keep under your own control
- Europe has no relevant ‘hyperscaler’ cloud providers at all, and there is a desire to change this by policy means
- Competing with the IKEA-concept is nearly impossible. Offering IKEA-like products but then with a smaller range is not an attractive proposition. You can’t replicate IKEA without a LOT of upfront work
- Replicating a company like Airbus (or ASML) is similarly very hard: both companies (and their ecosystems) are one of the very few places where you can buy modern wide body jets and extreme UV wafer steppers. Their products are technically incredibly advanced.
- The ‘hyperscaler’ cloud providers (like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba) are both IKEA and Airbus/ASML hard to replicate. They offer a huge and complete range services that are also incredibly advanced and years ahead of commodity products
- Europe has precisely nothing that competes, and is 100% dependent on the ‘IKEA clouds’. We only have partial companies.
- Fixing that situation will not be possible through legislation, standardisation or concerted government action. You can’t procure a competitive mega cloud into existence. Europe did assemble Airbus from its component parts but it was very hard
- Although IKEA exists, you can still get (better) furniture from more specialised places. A European owned email, communication and collaboration cloud might be a feasible idea
- European procurement law makes it entirely doable for governments to order their services from such European communication clouds
- From that, a more viable European cloud ecosystem could perhaps evolve
We do have some (smaller) cloud (Scaleway) and datacenter players (Leaseweb, could use some innovation) and some inbetween (OVH, Hetzner)… But none are really a true cloud provider with serverless, all the storage stuff, etc.
Evroc is trying just that — being a real competitor to GCP and AWS — but that’ll need a lot of funding, and it’s been rather quiet from their end for a few months.
To be seen what’ll come out of it …
Then again, I’ve recently (year or two) seen a push from medium-sized companies to get away from the cloud (Basecamp/Hey for one, but they are not alone) — at least the big players — due to exaggerated vendor lock-in and pricing.