Online Services/Cloud Computing

The hype surrounding the AI language model ChatGPT fails to notify just how profoundly cloud, data and digital platforms are already changing our economies. The annual review of eco’s Online Services/Cloud Computing division provides a vivid picture of these transformations. On the one hand, we see rapid growth in hyper-powerful infrastructures. On the other hand, we are undergoing the everyday so-called “nitty gritty” of adapting evolved IT landscapes and business models to the coming data age.

In their “Cloud in Germany 2023” study, the market researchers at IDC highlight that the cloud is the decisive factor for the modernisation of business IT. Even industries and SMEs that previously viewed the cloud with caution or scepticism are now switching to the new IT paradigm. As the analysts declare, the cloud strategy of each company shows just how resolutely managers pursue the digitalisation of their businesses.

Gaia-X & GXFS.DE

According to IDC, German companies in particular apply a key role to the topic of data sovereignty. More and more providers are developing sovereign platforms as an alternative to the large public clouds. They are thereby relying on a European initiative that we co-founded three years ago.

2022 was a crucial year for Gaia-X and for a future European data ecosystem: On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), our division coordinated the development of the Gaia-X Federation Services (GXFS). At the end of the year, we were able to present the framework’s first version to the public. Amidst all of the working groups, meetings, panels and papers, constructing a piece of real code was a definite challenge. Luckily, this milestone will allow the Gaia-X funded projects to put their ideas into action from here on in.

Nonetheless, the industry community’s expectations of the framework show that the road is still long, and not only from technical perspectives. Digital sovereignty is not available as a turnkey solution from the big US platforms, but only through Europe’s entrepreneurial initiative and risk-taking. When we hand over the GXFS framework to the Eclipse Foundation this year, we will therefore focus all of our energy on supporting the Gaia-X community.

EuroCloud Native

Although eight out of ten companies use cloud solutions, IDC claims that the penetration of this technology remains limited. The modernisation of business IT is a mammoth task for the German economy. Yet there is a shortage of experts for the transformation in all corners of the globe.

Fortunately, a new class of IT service providers is emerging that no longer needs to undergo a transformation towards the cloud: for them, the cloud is their be-all and end-all. Our EuroCloud Native (ECN) initiative gives these specialists more visibility in the market – for example, with the German “ECN Awards”. Our “ISG Pulse Check” survey, which we launched for the second time in 2022, is an important barometer of the mood in the industry: 85 per cent of German companies now consider cooperation with cloud natives to be indispensable.

Cloud & GDPR and EuroCloud Next Leaders

The transition from traditional IT to the cloud is not only a concern for internal IT and management. The in-house legal department and, not least, the trustworthy IT service providers – namely, the system integrators – also have to do some rethinking. In 2022, with his German-language “Cloud Legal Meet-ups”, Attorney-at-Law and EuroCloud Board Member Dr. Jens Eckhardt provided regular legal insights into data protection in the cloud. Other EuroCloud initiatives support the transition via the system integrators, who are the most important IT suppliers for the German SMEs. In 2022, we spoke primarily with young entrepreneurs in the industry who need to quickly align their system integrators to the new platform and data economy.


Where will AI, Industry 4.0, data economy and perhaps the metaverse soon lead us? This can be gauged from the rapid growth of DE-CIX. In 2022 alone, the world’s leading operator of Internet Exchanges founded eleven new locations together with partners, including the first three branches opened in Africa.

In addition to expanding its core business, last year DE-CIX also turned with services and consultation to a new customer group: companies. An IDC study commissioned by DE-CIX shows that the German economy now recognises how important high-performance connectivity is for data-based business models.

In the past financial year, DE-CIX also set the course for the next decade of growth with an expansion of the Board. We gained Ivo Ivanov as the new CEO of DE-CIX Group AG, while the Internet pioneer Harald A. Summa moved to the Supervisory Board of DE-CIX Group AG, after having been CEO for more than 25 years and Chair of the Board for five years. In addition to CEO Ivo Ivanov and CFO Sebastian Seifert, two further members now round up the Board: CTO Dr. Thomas King was appointed to the Board, while Christian Reuter was commissioned as CSO to coordinate our worldwide sales and marketing activities.

Felix Höger
eco Board Member for Online Services/Cloud Computing