Future Tech

Sweden’s Evroc going full Viking with Euro cloud to raid US providers

Tan KW
Publish date: Wed, 07 Jun 2023, 05:59 PM
Tan KW
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Future Tech

A Swedish startup called Evroc has declared ambitious plans to build a pan-European cloud platform to take on American heroes Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft's Azure.

Founded in 2022 to "power a digital Europe," the biz has backing from EQT Ventures and Norrsken VC, and wants to raise €3 billion ($3.2 billion) to build and operate two hyperscale datacenters over the next two years. It aims to expand these to eight bitbarns by 2028 along with three software development hubs, and hire over 3,000 people.

Evroc said that it wants to build Europe's first "secure, sovereign, and sustainable hyperscale cloud," and put an end to "foreign dominance of the European cloud market." This could prove to be a tall order, as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud collectively account for 66 percent of global spending on cloud infrastructure services between them.

As the company points out, cloud services now play a key role in IT infrastructure, with the European cloud market growing five-fold between 2017 and 2022. However, the share of this market by European cloud players fell from 27 percent to 13 percent during the same period, according to Evroc.

"The lack of home-grown hyperscale cloud providers poses a serious challenge for Europe," founder and CEO Mattias Åström said in a statement.

This is not just because data from European companies and citizens is potentially under the control of companies operating under laws that conflict with European privacy legislation, it is a threat to the long-term competitiveness of European industry, he claimed.

"Europe's digital economy must be built on a European foundation," he said.

Åström has already served as CEO for a number of technology companies, including C3 Technologies, Nordnav and a power line communications outfit called Ilevo that was acquired by Schneider Electric.

Evroc aims establish a pilot datacenter in the Stockholm region next year, while undertaking a selection process to determine locations for its sites. It intends to have one in Northern Europe and one in Southern Europe to make up the first pair.

The company is also pushing the environmental angle, saying it plans to build "the world's cleanest cloud" by incorporating energy-efficient technologies. One of these is claimed to be a "unique and proprietary" eco load balancer system that channels data between Evroc's datacenters based on where renewable energy is most readily available and affordable.

If it proves effective, the latter could conceivably attract business from enterprises if they are able to claim they are meeting some of their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) responsibilities by moving workloads to Evroc's cloud.

"Evroc's holistic strategy for clean energy usage, combined with the implementation of state-of-the-art energy efficiency technology, could set the standard for the entire industry," claimed Tove Larsson, partner at Norrsken VC, one of Evroc's backers.

The dominance of the cloud market by the US giants has long been a concern for many in Europe. In 2020, a federated European data infrastructure project called Gaia-X was started, with the aim of reducing the dependency of European companies and governments on US technology providers, with only limited success.

HPE also championed for a while Cloud 28+, an open community of cloud service providers, originally dedicated to the European market, but this has apparently since been folded into the global HPE Partner Connect service.

Omdia chief analyst Roy Illsley pointed out that OVHCloud is French in origin, and already has a sovereign cloud solution, but noted that "OVHCloud have not made much headway against the hyperscalers."

This is despite OVHcloud operating more than 400,000 servers spread across upwards of 34 datacenters. OVHcloud has also spread beyond Europe to include datacenters in Canada, the USA and Singapore.

Nevertheless, Åström states that "status quo is not an option for Europe. We want to build a better cloud that is secure, sustainable, and sovereign, and with that, power Europe's digital economy."

Gregor Petri, Gartner VP analyst told us: "Regulations are evolving (and diverging by country) so there may be new opportunities, but global incumbents together with their traditional local partners are focused on providing solutions that will meet these emerging requirements. So, any startups are not entering into a blue ocean opportunity, far from that." ®

 

https://www.theregister.com//2023/06/07/swedens_evroc_cloud_eu/

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