The Cloud: Coming to a Continent Near You

Last week there was an interesting article in the New York Times by Kevin J. O’Brian about the challenges to rolling out the cloud in Europe, and how it is happening despite them.

The biggest issue is that data privacy laws severely restrict transferring people’s personal information outside of the 27 countries that form the European Union. This is obviously a problem for the cloud where information is stored on remote servers (mostly located in the US and Asia). But these laws, designed in 1995, are quickly coming into question. In response to a strong demand for cloud services across Europe, they are being challenged in Brussels as outdated.

In the meantime, Amazon Web Services has opened a data center in Dublin, Ireland. And, despite the restrictions, cloud computing is taking off anyway. According to Gartner: “annual sales of cloud services in Europe will rise 4.3 percent, to $29.5 billion, in 2015 from $24.7 billion this year.”

Indeed, it seems it's only a matter of time before Europe gets on the cloud bandwagon. O’Brian quotes Adam Selipsky, a vice president at Amazon Web Services, who says, “This is a tetonic shift in computing that is going to take many years to unfold. Despite the challenges, on the ground, the cloud is happening in Europe.”

And, of course, we would have to agree. As Barry Sloan of Newtek Business Services, a New York seller of cloud services, states in the NYT article: “The cloud is going to spread globally. The cloud makes sense. It is more cost effective and more efficient as well. The biggest driver today is dollars.”

It will be interesting to see how this situation evolves, not only in Europe, but across the globe.