Europe is Heading for the Cloud

Cloud computerThe British courier service Shutl had to discover better ways of service when they decided to move to the cloud two years ago. The only courier service that commits to deliver within 90 minutes within the very busy streets of London, hopes to make their services even better.

One difficulty they had to face is the privacy law in Europe that states that no establishment is to allow the transfer of personal information of their consumers outside of the 27 European Union countries. This law prevented many companies from moving to virtualization platforms, because, data that is placed in the cloud may be seen elsewhere around the globe like the United States or in the Asia Pacific Region.

Despite this complex situation, Shutl decided to move head on for the cloud, right now they are able to commit 1,000 deliveries per day. This is made possible by their partnership with, a US based cloud service provider. Amazon’s cloud data center was strategically placed in Dublin, where it attracted more businesses to get into the cloud; some of them include the French S.N.C.F. railroad company and the Spanish bank, Bankinter. “Cloud computing helped make Shutl possible,” Tom Allason, the Shutl founder and chief executive said.

According to the US research firm, Gartner, Europe’s cloud computing momentum will rise as the revenues go up. Cloud services annual sales in Europe are expected to increase by 4.3% that will mark a record high of $24.7 billion this year and $29.5 billion, by the year 2015.

This trend of sales revenue will continue to invite other bigger European clients to follow suit, like the European Space Agency and the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany. Adam Selipsky, vice president at Amazon Web Services said “This is a tectonic shift in computing that is going to take many years to unfold. Despite the challenges, on the ground, the cloud is happening in Europe.”

Indeed, Europe is heading for the cloud in spite of the pending complexities like the privacy laws. European businesses are attracted to cloud computing, primarily because of the cost savings for the company. Other than this, cloud-based data centers support the existing equipments being run by small to large scale businesses; it is also designed to handle data storage, computing power and security.

According to Mr. Selipsky Amazon customers are able to save 25% to 30% of operational costs from using cloud-based network; it also allows them to have a secure storage for information through Amazon’s data center.

Currently, Shutl has saved £100,000, or $160,000 from using Amazon cloud services, according to Mr. Allason, the company’s founder. This money was used instead to build the business and create partnerships with British retailers like Argos, Oasis and other local courier services in UK.

In Brussels, lawmakers have seen the advantages of cloud computing that is why they have agreed to make a review of their current European Union’s data protection policies. They have plans to make the revisions and create the proposal this autumn, according to Viviane Reding, the European commissioner.

Ms. Reding foresees the significant benefits that business owners and technology users will get from the proposal. The proposal is to be approved from members of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The data protection policy has been in effect since 1995 and to this Ms Reding said “The rules are still valid, but the application of the rules must be modified to reflect the realities of the Internet age.”

Not only the cloud giants like Microsoft, Apple and Google are lobbying for the revision, but also small, medium and large scale businesses are supporting it, because of the huge impact it can do for their operations and revenues.

Microsoft has made an initial move to support the policy revision. Brad Smith, its general counsel already lobbied to the French Parliament lower house in January. Ron Zink, the chief operating officer for E.U. affairs at Microsoft said “Cloud computing is a really cost-effective way of getting a lot more computing power and data storage without buying a lot of new equipment yourself.”

The chief technology officer for global services at Capgemini, Karl Deacon, also agrees that Europe should modify the rules to allow more European IT companies to sell cloud computing solutions services. Mr. Deacon is hopeful that the Open Data Center Alliance could give European IT companies to make a break through into the cloud platform.

In the meantime, while no revisions are being made, Amazon and Microsoft will have to modify their cloud services to comply with the rules. However, this trend according to a Gartner analyst in Boston, Ben Ping said that Amazon and Microsoft will only help local companies, but, in the end will become a costly proposition because of the duplication of the computer nodes.

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