Oracle has launched a sovereign data cloud for EU customers. It has been done to ensure that EU customers, including governments, know their data will be held entirely within the EU. This is important for many EU organisations, but for some countries, such as Germany, it may not be enough for some organisations with slightly higher levels of sovereignty requirements.
The European Sovereign Cloud (EUSC) targets healthcare, financial services (including banking and insurance), telecommunications, and the public sector. These are highly regulated industries whose requirements often go beyond GDPR. In addition to the data being held in the EU, Oracle has committed that only EU-based personnel will work on the platform. It raises the assumption that if these staff travel outside the EU, they will no longer have access to the systems they look after for that duration.
Richard Smith, Executive Vice President, Technology, EMEA, Oracle, commented, “The European Union technology landscape has changed dramatically due to the growing importance of data protection and localization, leading to increased demand for sovereign cloud solutions that can securely host sensitive customer data and comply with regulations such as GDPR. Our goal is to meet customers wherever they are in their cloud journey and with Oracle EU Sovereign Cloud, customers in highly regulated industries, as well as those subject to certain country-specific legislation, can now accelerate their cloud strategies.”
What is the EU Sovereign Cloud
Importantly, Oracle is not differentiating between the price for OCI commercial services globally and the EU Sovereign Cloud. This is an indication of the scale that Oracle has across the EU that it can deliver. In addition, organisations can migrate existing agreements, such as Universal Credits and Support Rewards, from Oracle’s other cloud regions. Oracle will also offer the same level of services already available in the EU Restricted Access (EURA) offering. Oracle did not offer a date when all Oracle Fusion Applications would be in the EU Sovereign Cloud, merely stating that it would be “soon”.
The EUSC will offer more than 100 Cloud services, including its existing generative AI services, enabling organisations to benefit from these solutions without the concerns that leveraging public cloud services have.
Oracle has built the new region in compliance with a comprehensive set of policies and governance that will ensure that how Oracle stores and manages data, adheres to regulations. These processes also align with EU monitoring regulations and guidance that limits data transfers out of the EU (such as the Court of Justice for EU Schrems II Ruling and the European Data Protection Board).
Customers who want to connect to services and solutions outside the region can leverage over 85 global and regional OCI FastConnect partners with dedicated connections to other Oracle regions. Initially, it appears that Oracle has built two high-availability regions as part of EUSC. Digital Realty is the host partner in Madrid, Spain, and in Frankfurt, Germany, it is Equinix. The two regions act as failover and disaster recovery, with each region also being fault tolerant with N+2 redundancy.
Analysts and Customers celebrate EUSC.
Rahiel Nasir, Associate Research Director, European cloud practice, IDC, commented, “IDC continues to see significant growth in the use of public cloud for mission-critical workloads across major industries. At the same time, data protection laws as well as other regulations that mandate compliance also continue to evolve.
“All this requires organisations to have greater visibility and control over strategic data assets across their operations. Sovereign cloud services, such as Oracle’s EU Sovereign Cloud, are designed to give enterprises greater control and protection of their critical data assets. They also aim to help customer organisations comply with data residency rules and regulatory requirements while continuing to take full advantage of the benefits of cloud and digital transformation.”
Private and public sector customers are also enthusiastic about the new region. After all, it offers increased benefits for the same or lower pricing than existing solutions.
David Soto, President Spain and Portugal, Kyndryl, commented, “This is a major announcement that has great significance for the Oracle / Kyndryl alliance and will help us leverage Oracle’s cloud technology. It will remove some of the barriers to public cloud adoption through the concept of sovereign cloud and will comply with regulations and data governance. At Kyndryl, we believe that this announcement and our strong partnership will enable us to help our customers and reinforce our position as a market leader in mission-critical systems management and transformation services.”
Jarkko Levasma, Government CIO, Director General, Ministry of Finance of Finland, said, “Having cloud services with data centers that are located in the EU and operated, updated, and supported by EU residents, while maintaining isolation from non-EU cloud regions, is an important part of our cloud adoption. This will open up possibilities to adopt infrastructure, platform, and software as a service in Finland for the government.”
Two new services
Oracle also announced two new services that will be available within the EUSC and within all Oracle Cloud Regions OCI Dedicated Key Management Service and OCI External Key Management Service.
OCI External Key Management is built in partnership with the Thales Group and manages Oracle keys on CCKM. It allows customers to encrypt their data using encryption keys created and managed by the customer outside of OCI. These encryption keys always stay within the customer’s custody. They are never imported into OCI, enabling customers to move regulated workloads to OCI that require control over the physical storage of keys outside the cloud.
OCI Dedicated Key Management gives customers control over their encryption keys using a dedicated, single-tenant Hardware Security Module (HSM) provisioned within OCI.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
This is an important announcement by Oracle, and demonstrates its emergence as one of the major cloud players. OCI now has 44 commercial and government cloud regions in 23 countries. It is not yet the largest of the global cloud players, but its growth over the last two years has been impressive. Adding the EU Sovereign Cloud will help cement its presence in Europe, and the OCI services may help attract even more startups to start using its services. It should, once available, also assist with winning more contracts for Oracle Fusion in the region across the public sector and highly regulated industries.