Dutch parties build test environment for Gaia-X cloud services

Fast open infrastructures
3 April 2023

The Dutch Gaia-X hub – TNO, BIT, Intermax, Info Support, SURF, and AMS-IX – are jointly building a national Gaia-X test environment. It will enable cloud service providers to investigate how to comply with Gaia-X’s European cloud standards, specifications, and rules. The ultimate goal is for EU users to have greater control over their own data. The test environment is expected to be operational by May 2023.

Towards a federated data and cloud infrastructure

Non-European parties largely manage European digital infrastructure and data. In fact, the US now hosts more than 90% of Western data. To counter that dependency, Gaia-X was established in 2020 with the aim of developing a federated data and cloud infrastructure. With this test environment, the Dutch parties are joining a project within Gaia-X, called Structura-X.

Digital sovereignty in the cloud landscape through Structura-X

Structura-X is an initiative of 28 organisations that want to set up their cloud services in full compliance with the Gaia-X guidelines. The Structura-X consortium mainly consists of European Cloud Service providers and Internet Exchanges. A federated ecosystem of independent Cloud Service Providers carrying common certification and quality marks is being built within Structura-X to achieve interchangeability of cloud services. This will create more choice for infrastructure and platform service clients and more digital sovereignty in the cloud landscape.

Creation of a national test environment

With support from the Dutch Gaia-X hub, made possible by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the Dutch parties are creating a national test environment. This will initially be set up based on the open-source technology Kubernetes. BIT, Intermax, and SURF link their independently managed Kubernetes clusters in combination with the open-source project Liqo via private VLAN of the Amsterdam Internet exchange (AMS-IX). Info Support provides monitoring of this cloud federation test environment. TNO is ensuring the technical integration and validation of a number of technical use cases within this federated environment. Other cloud federation techniques will be added in later phases.

Phased rollout: from test set-up to European test infrastructure

In this first phase, stakeholders will determine in the test set-up whether data and calculations (workload) can move from one cloud provider to another (cloud portability). They’ll also test the extent to which capacities of different cloud providers can be combined (scale out). 
In subsequent phases, the Dutch test environment will be linked to Italian, German, and Belgian test environments to establish cloud federation principles across national borders. The creation of this European test infrastructure will enable cloud providers to offer Gaia-X-compliant cloud services in an open ecosystem.

Interested in joining us?

Are you as a company interested in joining us for the follow-up stages? Please contact us at [email protected]. Join us and become one of the leaders in next-generation European cloud services!

Affiliated companies to Structura-x for European cloud services

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