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A new study by Gartner puts forward the idea that Europe will continue to trail the US in terms of cloud adoption and infrastructure by two years for the foreseeable future. However, is this necessarily true?

Analysts make predictions which can be slightly biased towards whoever has commissioned the work and other online information has proved to be contradictory to the research.

Gartner say that European adoption is due in part to the Eurozone crisis and ongoing recession as well as different laws that govern cloud in various European countries.

“The opportunities for cloud computing value are valid all over the world, and the same is true for some of the risks and costs,” said Paolo Malinverno, vice president at Gartner.

“However, some of cloud computing’s potential risks and costs — namely security, transparency and integration — which are generally applicable worldwide, take on a different meaning in Europe.”

Microsoft gives more positive results

Whilst the adoption of cloud has been slow to take off in recent years, this is something that is changing rapidly in Europe as SMBs begin to realise the benefits of SaaS. Whilst recent research by Microsoft doesn’t exactly disagree with Gartner’s findings, it’s much more positive in that it states the adoption of cloud computing in Europe will create 1.2m jobs in Europe alone, suggesting that the outlook isn’t quite as grim as Gartner would have us believe.

Gartner believe one of the biggest contributions to Europe trailing in cloud when compared to the US is due to a number of factors; one of which is data privacy regulations, which are, at least in the UK, changeable and complex, dependent on the industry which is looking to take on cloud.

This, they believe, is hampering entry into cloud as many companies are uncomfortable with using services within the US as their laws surrounding data protection and compliance differ to Euro laws. Further to this, the study speculates that the time necessary to go through the process according to EU regulations makes adoption a timely and costly project which it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

Eurozone crisis

Of course, the Eurozone crisis is also blamed for the slow adoption of cloud when compared to the US as many corporations can’t afford any radical changes to infrastructure, whether that be IaaS or hybrid solutions.

However, the Microsoft study, carried out on their behalf by analysts IDC suggests otherwise, with Germany and Poland being the top countries who are looking to take on new staff for cloud related jobs. Spain also appear to be investing in cloud technologies in order to create new jobs and invest in innovative projects to promote growth.

These somewhat conflicting reports make for confusion when it comes to how far behind the US Europe is and suggests a number of misconceptions when it comes to how the technology is performing in Europe.

Whilst the Gartner study argues that EU companies are wary of using US-based data centres, this isn’t surprising despite the analysts assertion that Euro companies are confused by US laws such as the Patriot Act, which allows US officials to access data for national security reasons.

Doyenz disaster

The recent demise of the UK arm of Doyenz and their disaster recovery service rCloud won’t have helped Europeans gain any trust with the US. Whilst the US-based company have reportedly said that customers may be able to move the data to another server in the US, the fact remains that the company gave clients little more than a week’s notice of their intention to remove the service, and only another couple of weeks to retrieve any data stored at their data centre.

Bearing this in mind, it’s not completely surprising that Euro companies are wary of using US services.

However, does this really mean that the EU will continue to trail in cloud technologies? Most of the EU has a 3-year plan to deal with both superfast broadband roll-out and the adoption of cloud technologies and the latter is something that has seen a steady increase in 2012.

According to Microsoft: “IDC’s research predicts revenues from cloud innovation could reach $1.1 trillion per year by 2015, which, combined with cloud efficiencies, will drive significant organizational reinvestment and job growth.”

This would suggest that the Gartner study concentrates mainly on the adoption of European companies of US-based cloud services, rather than internal data centres in Europe itself.

Microsoft infographic

The infographic below, illustrates the growth in cloud in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and would appear to contradict what Gartner say, unless of course they are discounting growth and concentrating on how the rest of the world does business with their cloud-based services.

Cloud adoption in the EU

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