Posted: 3 Min ReadFeature Stories

Enabling a Sovereign Cloud Using a Multi-Cloud Foundation

Technology executive considerations

The adoption of multiple clouds by European business and public agencies continues to increase due to the need for competitive differentiation and growth through speed, quality, and the delivery of great customer experiences. To achieve these goals, IT and business executives must manage challenges across data governance, security, and compliance to protect sensitive customer, citizen, and country data using privacy, access, and security controls.  For further details, check out the IDC report on sovereign cloud here

Data has become both a business and national asset. The ability of enterprises and governments to control data and run workloads while operating within legal jurisdiction, complying with multi-jurisdictional regulations, and protecting against unauthorized access requires a critical set of sovereign capabilities which are essential for customer trust and business growth. 

Given this transformational journey, sovereign clouds should be included as part of a multi-cloud strategy. Using common sovereign tenants and principles is becoming increasingly necessary while at the same time supporting capabilities that deliver efficiency, reduce complexity, and enable standardization. This approach provides a foundation from which IT and business teams can ensure that the necessary solutions are in place to control, secure, and store data in compliance with relevant regional, national, and (where applicable) international laws and guidelines. A multi-cloud architecture can provide layers to meet local and national regulations, and thereby give organizations greater choices and flexibility across multiple sovereign cloud environments. Fundamentally, a multi-cloud approach to sovereign cloud is about unlocking and supporting emerging data economies with as little complexity and uncertainty as possible. This approach empowers enterprises to focus more on serving their stakeholders through innovation and growth. Additionally, a multi-cloud approach to sovereign cloud enables legacy application and back-end infrastructure modernization.

Technology executives must understand that establishing a sovereign cloud is complex and difficult, especially without assistance from a partner or vendor with deep expertise. There are various complex dimensions spanning data security and data protection, understanding regulations and their impact on technology needs, and the complexity of driving standardization and controls across multiple clouds.  In addition, data classification for a sovereign cloud is essential for its success.  This complexity requires technology leaders to build expertise with strategic partners who have the depth and bench strength to deploy a sovereign cloud.  As part of a sovereign cloud foundation, multi-cloud tools enable organizations to tailor infrastructure to their specific needs, and respond in an agile way to data privacy, security, and geopolitical disruptions.

Fundamentally, a multi-cloud approach to sovereign cloud is about unlocking and supporting emerging data economies with as little complexity and uncertainty as possible.

When it comes to vendor and partner support, customers should not expect to create a sovereign cloud on their own because of the required complexity and expertise. Let's take two examples of sovereign cloud deployments using large global professional service partners, VMware and Broadcom.  VMware's technology has been a critical foundation for driving innovation and scale for governments and public agencies in Europe for many years.  With a set of tools that can position customers to work across multiple clouds, VMware can enable the critical foundational requirements for a sovereign cloud, and has been an instrumental partner in the process of driving innovation for governments and public agencies in Europe. After its pending acquisition by Broadcom, VMware will be supported by Broadcom’s lengthy track record of significant R&D investments, an innovation-focused culture, and commitment to customers.  Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware creates opportunities for the new, combined organization to offer customers a more complete set of sovereign cloud capabilities.  Such a set of capabilities could help accelerate digital transformation across Europe while also furthering the needs and objectives of sovereign clouds.

Digging deeper into multi-cloud technology capabilities, enterprises must consider how to manage the necessary controls, security, and data transparency required for a sovereign cloud.  Without the right technology foundation that empowers these capabilities, the successful deployment of a sovereign cloud is simply not possible.  Additional key areas customers must consider enabling a sovereign cloud include:

  • Basing the technology architecture on a resilient and scalable architecture that takes advantage of process automation across application, service, and operational tasks and capabilities
  • Taking a focus on data and security policies that deliver layers of digital protection and sovereignty across the software development pipeline and service operations
  • Enabling processes that empower jurisdictional controls, and an ability to adjust to geo-political dynamics, enabling business and IT teams to manage and control confidential data via advanced methods and practices 
  • Enabling an organization to adopt country-specific regulatory, compliance, and data requirements, (regardless of the underlying cloud platforms) with data control points and reporting mechanisms 

Multi-cloud solutions like those offered by VMware provide European enterprises and the public sector with a flexible, consistent digital foundation to build, run, manage, connect, and protect their most important and complex workloads.  Once Broadcom completes its pending acquisition of VMware, the combined company can make new and significant R&D investments, develop a stronger and broader set of innovations, and foster larger professional service partnerships focused on multi-cloud capabilities to power and enable sovereign cloud. 

Learn more about sovereign cloud in IDC’s Market Perspective: Considering a Sovereign Cloud? A Blueprint for IT and Business Executives

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About the Author

Stephen Elliot

Group Vice President, I&O, Cloud Operations, and DevOps - IDC

Stephen Elliot is Group Vice President at IDC, responsible for P&L and team management for multiple programs spanning IT Operations, Observability, AIOPs, ITSM, DevOps, Automation, virtualization, multi-cloud management, FinOps, End point management, Log analytics, container management, DaaS, Cloud native management, and software defined compute.

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