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Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian announces French sovereign hyperscale cloud

Announcement comes in the form of a new JV – the first of its kind in cloud computing – which will lead to the deployment of new digital infrastructure across France.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

October 07, 2021 | 12:00 AM BST

Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian announces French sovereign hyperscale cloud

Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud since 2018. Source: Google

Google Cloud has entered into a strategic agreement with French defence company Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) to co-develop a sovereign hyperscale cloud offering for France which will include the construction of new infrastructure to support the service.

Aimed at French companies and public sector, the state-vetted cloud computing services platform set to become operational in 2023 will see Thales take the majority of the shareholding in the venture.

This is the first time a largescale public cloud operator enters into such partnership.

The G-Cloud suite will be operated by a dedicated, newly formed company under French law, held in majority by Thales, and hosted in France, within infrastructure that is separate from Google Cloud, with a separate network and servers controlled and operated by the new company.

Thomas Kurian, CEO at Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google Cloud unit, said: “Thales and Google Cloud have a joint vision to deliver the most innovative and trusted solutions to companies and public sector organisations in France.

“Our unique approach to addressing the concerns of French citizens and government bodies, including the development of a new company, ensures organisations can benefit from the innovation and agility of the cloud, without compromising on the security, privacy and sovereignty required by the French government.”

Both Thales and Google said the sovereign cloud environment will meet the criteria of the French ‘Trusted Cloud, a label launched last May by France’s Information Systems Security Agency (ANSSI) [in french] amid US-cloud providers’ national market dominance.

Marc Darmon, EVP, Secure Communications and Information Systems at Thales, said: “To adapt to the diversity of our customers’ cloud needs, Thales offers a wide range of options with partners in its ecosystem. Thanks to this unique collaboration with Google Cloud, we will be able to help power the digital transformation for organisations of all sizes and industries that want to keep control and sovereignty over their data and that of their customers.”

He continued to say that together, Google and Thales will address the criteria defined by the government for a trusted cloud, as well as environmental goals with a sustainable approach for the infrastructure they will build.

Guillaume Poupard, Director General of the ANSSI, has already welcomed the news, despite a ‘Trusted Cloud’ label still needing to be attributed. He said: “The government’s national cloud strategy clearly specifies the state’s willingness to use and promote high-performance and trusted cloud offerings.

“The challenge is to have the widest possible range of solutions compliant with the SecNumCloud repository which details the technical, operational and legal security rules capable of effectively protecting data and processes hosted in a cloud service. ANSSI therefore enthusiastically welcomes this ambitious project that meets these criteria.”

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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