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German firm creates cloud storage to shield from US

9/12/2015 by

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Deutsche Telekom has revealed that it is to move into the cloud computing arena and compete with the likes of Google and Amazon. The German firm has one advantage: the tough data security laws of its nation. This means data will be kept away from prying eyes, with officials saying information will be completely shielded from US authorities.

Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Systems launched the new public cloud that runs from data centres in Germany and offers networking, storage and cloud computing services. The system has been developed from the Cisco cloud platform and T-Systems says it wants its new project to become a foundation for a “secure European internet of things”. The head of T-Systems, Reinhard Clemens, said: “Data on our system is 100% out of the reach of the US authorities.”

Only last month Microsoft revealed that it would also be shielding customer data from US authorities, operating on the very facilities that T-Systems runs; now, Deutsche Telekom is attempting to take its own slice of a market heavily dominated by Silicon Valley’s giants. With a rising amount of red tape regarding where data is stored, it is expected that a European hub abiding by local laws rather than US legislation could offer a unique edge.

Public clouds are built for individuals who do not want to have to develop and operate their own data centres. In a recent market value estimation, IDC said the industry is currently worth around $70bn (£46.5bn); meanwhile, Gartner said there was a 17.5% rise in public cloud services during 2014, with a further 15.7% gain expected for 2015. There have been concerns regarding the US’s internet surveillance, however, especially after Edward Snowden’s revelations; as a result, many US-based firms have pushed into Europe to host local data centres in a bid to protect their customers’ information.

The new DSI Intercloud from T-Systems has been structured to keep it entirely separate from the US. Mr Clemens explained: “We’ve worked on this for two years and it’s clear that the US government has no chance of forcing us in Germany to deliver data to the US”. He added that data is only accessed “as part of a German criminal prosecution, or if the customer himself wants it.”

Despite the perceived appeal, Gartner’s Carsten Casper remains sceptical about the endeavour, saying: “Will people actually buy the ‘Operated in Germany’ option? Some will, but not the majority. Above all, people want cheap, fast and high-performance. Big is beautiful.”

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