Stuttgart / Berlin, July 13, 2021 ‒ Companies, citizens and the state are often forced to store and process very sensitive data in clouds whose functionality they cannot check or adapt to their needs. This results in a loss of control and strong technological dependencies on individual, large providers. With the Sovereign Cloud Stack (SCS), the Open Source Business Alliance (OSB Alliance) is now developing the technical underpinning for Gaia-X to enable complete digital sovereignty.
The SCS project was initiated in November 2019 by OSB Alliance CEO Peter Ganten, a leading cloud architect Kurt Garloff, the Director of the German Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation, Rafael Laguna de la Vera and former PlusServer CEO Dr. Oliver Mauss. The project was initially evaluated with funding by the German Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation SPRIND and is now receiving 14.9M€ of federal funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) to develop and build the Sovereign Cloud Stack.
To this end, the Open Source Business Alliance is building a growing team that will manage and coordinate standardisation, software integration and the development of the network. A community of employees from participating and interested companies has already been formed around this team, who are working in particular on the goals that are important for their own environments. Important building blocks will also be awarded to companies through open tenders. In addition, the OSB Alliance will build and operate its own test, demo and development platform.
Participation in SCS is not limited to members of the OSB Alliance. This is because only a multitude of providers within and outside the OSB Alliance will allow the industry to use modern and agile IT infrastructures without the strategic, economic and legal risks of using hyperscaler services from the USA and China. SCS components and standards will enable development teams to achieve the flexibility, speed and ultimately productivity that is rightly expected from modern IT infrastructure.
Peter Ganten, Chairman of the OSB Alliance and Managing Director of Univention:
At the heart of the first wave of digitalisation were centralised platforms with serious negative consequences for data security, innovation capability and the independence of their users. The Sovereign Cloud Stack project makes a decisive contribution as a basis for the second wave of digitalisation that is now following, with open, federatable technologies that can be deployed without requiring permission by 3rd parties. User organisations can thus freely switch between providers or also decide to produce parts of their IT infrastructure and services under their own control. This creates an open platform for innovative applications and services that enables competition, promotes innovation and does not have problems like the Cloud Act.
Thomas Jarzombek (Member of the Bundestag), BMWi representative for the digital economy and start-ups:
With the Sovereign Cloud Stack, the GAIA-X project is increasingly being filled with life. As a contribution to European digital sovereignty, the technical foundation, the Cloud Stack, is to be implemented as an open source project in order to enable switching providers in the future. It will make it easier for medium-sized companies, but also for public administrations, to use the advantages of GAIA-X in specific projects. The Sovereign Cloud Stack will be closely linked to the core components of GAIA-X, the so-called Federation Services, the creation of which is also funded by the BMWi and is well advanced. Together with other funding measures such as the GAIA-X funding competition or for future investments in the vehicle industry (KoPa35c), the BMWi is lending considerable momentum to the implementation of GAIA-X.
Kurt Garloff, Project Lead SCS:
We actually have all the building blocks for a powerful cloud and container stack available as open source software in reasonable quality. But assembling them consistently and ensuring the quality and security of the resulting infrastructure with continuous test processes is a lot of work that requires a large amount of specialised knowledge. And then comes the bigger half of the work: the platforms have to be secured in operation by automation and mature processes. Integration, continuous testing, operational automation and the development of operational processes are carried out independently of each other in many companies and cloud providers today. With SCS, we are networking these efforts with the goal of avoiding a large amount of work being done in isolation or in parallel. In addition to collaborating in Open Source software development, we are also establishing cooperation in operations, which we call Open Operations. As a result, we achieve a much more powerful stack with higher quality and higher standardisation. The latter is especially important for users who run applications on multiple clouds or rely on a mix of self-operated SCS clouds and public SCS offerings.
Rafael Laguna de la Vera, Director of the German Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation (SPRIND):
The Sovereign Cloud Stack is an excellent example of how government intervention can fix a market that no longer works. This is because although the dominant cloud providers from the US all predominantly use open source software in their proprietary cloud stacks, there is no fair competition today because switching between different providers is burdensome and expensive. SCS removes the ‘vendor lock-in’ and ensures that smaller providers with innovative solutions also have a chance.
Alexander Wallner, CEO, plusserver:
With the Sovereign Cloud Stack, we are bundling the strengths of many open source projects to create a powerful and holistic cloud stack. In this way we are creating a technology platform that will hopefully quickly become a new cloud standard. For cloud providers such as plusserver, the SCS is an important component for technological and economic independence. For companies and other users, the SCS ensures that they can move their services freely between the platforms of different providers. This is how we promote competition in the European cloud market.
Marius Feldmann, COO, Cloud&Heat Technologies GmbH:
Sovereign Cloud Stack delivers a significant contribution to avoid European Cloud Providers to annihilate each other in fighting, but instead allows them to join forces in cooperation. We hope for an ecosystem that develops and operates cloud offerings together. As provider of sustainable and secure digital infrastructure, we currently face the challenge of creating a highly scalable operations model for our technology stack. To cooperatively include the competence of other operators, we need a cloud platform with common technological and operational standards, which is developed as part of the SCS project.
The Open Source Business Alliance (OSB Alliance) is the association of the open source industry in Germany. We represent over 170 member companies that employ approximately 10,000 people and generate more than 1.7 billion euros annually in Germany. Together with scientific institutions and user organisations, we are committed to sustainably anchoring the central importance of open source software and open standards for a successful digital transformation in the public awareness. This digital transformation should benefit companies, the state and society alike. In addition, innovations in the field of open source should be promoted. Our goal is to establish open source as the standard in public procurement and in research and business promotion. After all, open source and open standards are essential foundations for digital sovereignty, innovative capacity and security in the digital transformation and thus the answer to one of the greatest challenges of our time.
Press contact: Lisa Reisch presse at osb minus alliance dot de
OSB Alliance e.V.
Tel.: +49 (711) 90715-390