The GAIA-X project of a European cloud platform reveals its technical architecture

Le projet GAIA-X de plate-forme cloud européenne dévoile son architecture technique Cybersecurity

Build a European-wide infrastructure capable of serving as a support and interface for all possible cloud services and data processing. GAIA-X’s ambition is huge. This was reflected in the German Minister for the Economy, Peter Altmeier, who described the project as ” moonshot Digital during his presentation on June 4 with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire during a long event broadcast live on the internet.

The challenge is up to the challenge for Europe in terms of sovereignty. The cloud is now dominated by a handful of American and Chinese players – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud ” represented 65% of the market in 2018 “Points out Pierre Chastanet, responsible for the matter within the European Commission – who have been subject to the American Cloud Act since 2018, which forces them to deliver their customers’ data to the American administration if the latter requires it. It is this observation which is at the origin of the launch by Germany and France of the GAIA-X project of secure and transparent cloud infrastructure.

A cloud services marketplace

The 22 actors of the GAIA-X project (including Atos, OVHcloud, Scaleway (Iliad), 3DS Outscale (Dassault Systèmes), Orange, EDF, Safran or IMT in France and Deutsche Telekom, SAP, Siemens, Bosch, BMW or the Fraunhofer in Germany) will come together to build a ” cloud services marketplace “, As Bruno Le Maire calls it, managed from 2021 managed by an international non-profit association.

An interface guaranteeing, security, transparency and interoperability of data

In its first version, presented by all the players during the official announcement, the architecture of GAIA-X is still complex: it would be a question of connecting, online, cloud and edge service providers, customers and service intermediaries thanks to a platform guaranteeing the security of communications, the interoperability of each service and total transparency in the processing of data carried out by all services and the protection of their confidentiality, according to European standards established by the project stakeholders – ” who will become real gold standards in the cloud sector Says Peter Altmeier.

The GAIA-X project of a European cloud platform reveals its technical architecture

If the diagram above was taken up by a majority of actors and declined throughout the official presentation, another one, below, seems more meaningful to us, showing the differences between the circulation of data today and what that it could be once the platform is launched. In addition to this catalog of services that we have mentioned, we notice here that GAIA-X aims to become the only interface between suppliers and customers, responsible not only for putting them in contact but also for ensuring compliance with standards and the confidentiality of the data processed.

The GAIA-X project of a European cloud platform reveals its technical architecture

An ecosystem built around nodes

However, this is a general scheme. The reality is more complex because, according to the model designed by GAIA-X, each actor can take on several roles in the ecosystem, which revolves around “nodes”, namely ” IT resources »Standardized. ” A node can represent a datacenter, an edge computing service, IT equipment, a network operating service, or even a virtual machine or a container “, Can be read in the manual of the technical architecture of the project.

The GAIA-X project of a European cloud platform reveals its technical architecture

One of the many working documents released on June 4 declines how the platform works for different use cases. Take the first one, dubbed “On the Road to Industry 4.0″: ” The manufacturer of an automation component wishes to have access to the operating data of his product, which is installed in a machine itself operated by a third-party company. Permanent machine status recording allows the manufacturer, for example, to optimize the safety and efficiency of its components and the entire system.

The example of industry 4.0

The objective of GAIA-X is to guarantee, beforehand, the processing of machine data used by the operator so that the manufacturer can access, in a secure and confidential manner, the operating data of one of them directly via the platform. ” It is therefore no longer necessary to carry out complex bilateral coordination Says the document.

The GAIA-X project of a European cloud platform reveals its technical architecture

To make such an ambition a reality, the 22 players in GAIA-X will have a lot to do. Developing the interoperability of existing services, setting standards in data processing, developing the platform itself (user interface, nodes, etc.) are all challenges, all more complex than each other, than it will be necessary to raise to offer by the first quarter of 2021 – date advanced by Bruno Le Maire, which coincides with the vote of a Data Act, proposed by the European Commission – an infrastructure as easy to use as the services of AWS or Microsoft Azure.

Germany and France will also have to convince other European countries to join them. Otherwise, the “Airbus of the cloud” could well experience the same fate as that of the French sovereign cloud. ” The Netherlands, Italy and Spain are already interested “Enthusiastic Hubert Tardieu, advisor to the CEO of Atos, outlining the timetable for GAIA-X.


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