The Cloudwatt, Orange's online data hosting service, will be disconnected on February 1st. Launched in 2012, it was one of the two heads of the French-style sovereign cloud co-financed at a loss by public money. With Bercy calling again for the creation of secure data centers to host sensitive government and corporate data, this failure could serve as a lesson.
At the origin of this project, called Andromeda, France wanted to invest 150 million euros in a shared server service that could reduce the costs of ministries and companies. But here we are, the French technology groups called upon to help did not succeed in reaching an agreement and therefore shared the envelope.
On the one hand, Cloudwatt was created by Orange and Thales by adding 150 million euros to the amount provided by the State. On the other hand, Numergy was launched by SFR and Bull with the same investment. However, none of them were able to find customers. And two years after their launch, Cloudwatt claimed only 2 million dollars in revenue. Even if Numergy was doing better with 6 million billed, these are crumbs compared to Amazon, Microsoft and IBM.
Bercy stops the expenses, a few months later, by assuring that she has spent only half of the promised sums. Orange and SFR then bought back the shares of the State, one from Thales and the other from Bull. Numergy and Cloudwatt, which had then become simple brands, had since been part of the offers designed for large companies by the two telecoms operators.
Today, the dominance of American players in the online IT market continues to raise concerns about the integrity of critical data. A recent report by MP Raphaël Gauvain criticizes the Cloud Act, an American extraterritorial law recalling the Patriot Act and spy programs.
The Government should therefore sign a strategic supply chain contract to develop a "Cloud of Trust" ecosystem in the fall. Being French will not be enough to be French and some American or Chinese technologies used in French data centers will be difficult to support.
"This time, we will not assume the nationality of the actors but their ability to guarantee data integrity with regard to our laws and strategic autonomy over our essential infrastructures and data," notes Jean-Noël de Galzain, Hexatrust's president on the sector's strategic committee. In addition, the State should commit itself to playing its role as a buyer.
Source : Les Echos