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Should Europe build its own cloud factories?

torres's picture
Submitted by torres on Sun, 2012-05-06 18:54

Very interesting post submitted by paul.miller on Thu 2012-04-19 asking if Europe should build its own Cloud technology. It made ​​me think about the question "Should Europe build its own cloud factories?"

My point of view is included below, a translation of the article at La Vanguardia spanish newspaper http://www.jorditorres.org/factorias-de-energia-la-vanguardia-01052011/

What do you think about this?

ENERGY AND INFORMATION FACTORIES

We are gradually moving away from storing information on our personal computers and soon we will have all this information stored in the Cloud. This cloud is shaped by large data processing centers scattered around the world, some of them the size of several football fields.

However, as the Internet doesn’t have borders like countries do, our information may end up being relocated to the other end of the globe to one of the information factories of the 21st century, where costs, such as those for energy, are much lower. Something similar happened in the textile industry where, at the end of the last century, most of the production was moved to countries in northern Africa or Asia.
If we relocate the production and storage of our information abroad, are we ensuring the availability of this information? What if the same happens to us as has happened to the Catalan textile industry, whose factories in Tunisia are not able to deliver goods because of the Arab Revolution which is taking place at the moment?

Information is essential in our society. In order to guarantee the accessibility of the information, we need to store our part of this cloud inside our own territory. However, information factories require many thousands of kilowatts of energy in order to operate, so , if approximately 75% of the global energy system is imported, we can expect that this dependency on energy from other countries will increase if we move such information centers here. The only viable option is to increase production of renewable energy generated in our own country to ensure power for the new information factories.

One possibility is to move these factories to renewable energy parks, so that the parks become not only suppliers of energy, but also suppliers of information. This proposal is energy efficient in several respects, for instance, transferring data via optical fiber from these parks has a minimal cost compared to the losses involved in the transportation of energy, which can reach 10%.

Moreover, despite the fact that new information industries should, for now, have a power supply support (because of the discontinuity of renewable energy), technical solutions exist to ensure good availability of information. For example, relying on weather forecasting, it is possible to move work between different parks, depending on the energy that each park has, in order to complete the assignment. Using biomass is another possible technology that could be used to generate power.

There is no doubt that for future generations, information will form a crucial part of their society. It is therefore necessary, to urgently pull together to protect it. Citizens should be aware of this reliance on information and should support the building of infrastructure that make it possible. But, above all, it takes foresight on the part of government to stimulate the market itself to provide such services and actively promote R + D + i, not only in terms of power generation, but also with regard to ensuring the availability of information, which will soon be as basic as energy.

(Appeared in the La Vanguardia newspaper in section "DEBATE: The Energy Crisis and ICT" http://www.jorditorres.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Factorias_de_Energ... )

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conder's picture
Submitted by conder on Sun, 2012-05-06 20:19

Agree, its crucial that we have our own clouds. Keep as much data as local as possible, cut down on transit, improve security instead of moving stuff all over the world for no reason. Each country has to really be aware of the ROI in building the infrastructure now. Local data centres needed fast. Also these same centres can share information much faster through local fibre networks, or even wifi.

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nabeth.thierry's picture
Submitted by nabeth.thierry on Tue, 2012-05-08 12:50

For information, there is now a project aiming at creating a cloud in France.

Orange, Thales join forces in the cloud
Michael Carroll, telecomasia.net | April 25, 2012
http://www.telecomasia.net/content/orange-thales-join-forces-cloud
Orange is teaming with defense systems firm Thales and the French government to establish a cloud joint venture that will sell infrastructure-as-a-service to European businesses.

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torres's picture
Submitted by torres on Sun, 2012-05-20 08:48

Absolutely, all these aspects are very closely linked. The surveillance backdoors is an example of "regulations may change" (that I mentioned as replay of Stephan Engberg post). Obviously this is very important for privacy and rights. However, in my opinion the situation could be worse. What if the FBI close the access to our data? (as Megaupload case). Two important topics.

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torres's picture
Submitted by torres on Sun, 2012-05-20 08:37

Absolutely, all these aspects are very closely linked. The surveillance backdoors is an example of "regulations may change" (that I mentioned as replay of Stephan Engberg post). Obviously this is very important for privacy and rights. However, in my opinion the situation could be worse. What if the FBI close the access to our data? (as Megaupload case). Two important topics.

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luigi's picture
Submitted by luigi on Wed, 2012-06-13 08:27

Hi, indeed EU has to develop at least most relevant technology to build its own Cloud Farms and this for several reasons:
1. business. foster eu-industry to work on top-level silicon and ICT technologies; business is 240Billion worth in 2020 (Forrester 2011)
2. security. the security of a cloud made-in-USA is not 100% guaranteed. There are several researcher which found hw-backdoors and hw-bkdoors (due to "mistakes") which are not detectable by sw. The US government has build the TAPO (Trusted Access Program Office) program whereas all public offices has to get their hw from a TRUSTED supply chain ... starting from hw. IBM is inside the TAPO, not Intel.
3. competences. In Europe we have ALL COMPETENCES to build such DATA FARM leveraging on ARM new techno, STmicroelectornics, Infineon, NXP and Global Foundries.

BTW, I know people already proposing such activity to EC ... so dont worry, you can be 100% sure that the future of EU Data FARM will be ALSO European (not just made in USA)

Europe will win ONLY on product winning on performance-cost; 30% political support helps, 100% politics support kills.

regards,
Luigi

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