EU commissioner calls for drive towards more open cloud

News Maxwell Cooter Mar 24, 2011
Neelie Kroes
Neelie Kroes

The EU is set to spearhead moves towards open cloud portability

The future of cloud computing is going to hinge on cloud portability according to the EU’s digital commissioner.

Nellie Kroes, who was speaking at the launch of Microsoft’s cloud computing centre in Brussels said that as a measure of competitiveness,” users must be able to change their cloud provider easily. It must be as fast and easy as changing one’s internet or mobile phone provider has become in many places. And we should never allow the sort of legal or technical barriers that have plagued single market efforts in sectors like electricity.”

Kroes, who has a history of being tough on anti-competitive practices,  including leading the charge against Microsoft itself, might find herself pushing uphill on this. There are a variety of initiatives aimed at providing open standards for cloud portability but none have been adopted as universal standards.

The EC is trying to address this and Kroes has announced that the commission is looking to spearhead a drive towards more openness. “I plan to engage major cloud users to look at the opportunities for a coordinated move on standardisation to support interoperability and portability of data. We will also convene public actors active in the area of cloud computing. Here the goal will be to put a stop to a fragmentation of efforts,” she said.

The final stage of the consultations will take place in Brussels on 23 May, interested parties will be able to representations online said Kroes.  Whether she’ll succeed or not is another question – the IT industry generally does not respond well to government-led initiatives, nor to Europe-instituted moves.