The European Commission has turned to the cloud in a bid to “follow the ceaseless pace of today’s technological race,” announcing BT, IBM, and Accenture among its contract winners.
The Commission has invested a total of €34.6 million (£26.6 million) across three lots of contracts, having just announced the companies which will provide its cloud services for the next four years.
The providers were chosen according to the various requirements of each contract, as detailed on the official EC website. Lot 1 refers to Private Infrastructure as a Service, with BT Limited Belgian Branch the sole company elected to provide a dedicated link to the European Commission’s data centres. BT Limited Belgian Branch has also been appointed to Lot 2 – Public Infrastructure as a Service – alongside IBM Belgium, Accenture, Cloud Team Alliance, and ATOS. Unlike Lot 1, Lot 2 calls for a layered approach to supplying compute and storage facilities over the public internet, thus requiring multiple providers. The third lot concerns Public Platform as a Service, focusing not only on storage and compute facilities but also operating systems and database services built upon cloud infrastructure, which will be handled by Telecom Italia, Accenture, ATOS Belgium, and IBM Belgium.
The European Commission considers its move into the cloud as the key to following “the ceaseless pace of today’s technological race among infrastructure providers where costs of storage, bandwidth and computer power are decreasing day by day while enabling at the same time innovative solutions for new challenges such as Big Data.”
Indeed, with the myriad benefits offered by cloud computing, it comes as no surprise that such a significant organisation is investing so heavily. In addition to streamlined collaboration through centralised document storage, the cloud offers utmost security when it comes to housing and backing up data, which is especially crucial for a body like the European Commission. However, the cloud is not the exclusive domain of large-scale institutions – far from it, in fact. The advantages of cloud computing are just as applicable – if not more so – to small and medium enterprises, offering great flexibility according to bandwidth needs. A multi-million pound investment is not necessary either, with plenty of dynamic cloud server solutions like this on the market, making a transition into the cloud is a viable option for companies of all sizes.
What’s more, the adaptability of cloud services enables small businesses to scale their subscription up or down accordingly, providing an increasingly affordable and more efficient alternative to extensive hardware. As cloud computing becomes increasingly integral to operating a streamlined, competitive business, the European Commission will no doubt see countless organisations – big and small – following in its footsteps.