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InfoQ Homepage News AWS Announces European Sovereign Cloud for Government Agencies and Regulated Industries

AWS Announces European Sovereign Cloud for Government Agencies and Regulated Industries


AWS has recently announced that it is working on a European Sovereign Cloud, a new European region that will be operationally independent of all existing AWS regions. No availability date has been provided for the new option that targets government agencies and regulated industries that store sensitive data and run critical workloads in the European Union (EU).

Based in Germany and designed to simplify and strengthen digital sovereignty and controls, the AWS European Sovereign Cloud will be operated and supported by AWS employees located in and residents of the EU. Jeff Barr, vice president and chief evangelist at AWS, explains:

In order to maintain separation between this cloud and the existing AWS Global Cloud you will need to create a fresh AWS account. The metadata you create such as data labels, categories, permissions, and configurations will be stored within the EU. This does not apply to AWS account information such as spend and billing data, which will be aggregated and used to ensure that you get favorable pricing within any applicable volume usage tiers.

According to the press release, the new region will function in the future as the parent region for "sovereign" AWS Outposts and Dedicated Local Zones, to improve isolation and in-country data residency.

AWS is not the first operator targeting EU customers, with the cloud provider lagging behind Azure and Oracle which are already running sovereign infrastructure in Europe: while Azure offers the Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, OCI provides Oracle EU Sovereign Cloud in Spain and Germany, an option that enables organizations to place sensitive data and applications in the cloud according to EU data privacy and sovereignty requirements.

In a popular Reddit thread, developers acknowledge and appreciate the benefits of the new operating model but question if the CLOUD Act can still challenge the new region, being Amazon EU a subsidiary of an American company. User apparentorder asks:

AWS EMEA is already EU-based, and user data is stored in DE/EU data centers. The biggest concern I hear from DE/EU customers is that the *parent* is a US company, which might be a problem due to the CLOUD Act (...) Does a fully separate AWS partition, run by European employees, change anything in that regard?

Corey Quinn, chief cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, comments:

What's odd is that apparently "billing metadata" will leave the EU regions (...) No word yet on pricing, timeline, or who's eligible to spin up workloads here.

AWS has not disclosed so far when the new region will become available nor details on the available services or prices. The cloud provider currently supports 8 European regions: Frankfurt, Ireland, London, Milan, Paris, Stockholm, Spain, and Zurich.


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