VMware to Launch Cloud Data Center in Germany
Bill Fathers, executive vice president and general manager of VMware’s Cloud Services business unit, speaking at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco. (Photo: VMware)

VMware to Launch Cloud Data Center in Germany

As Germans become increasingly concerned with data sovereignty cloud providers expand footprint there

VMware plans to launch a cloud data center in Germany that will host infrastructure for customers who are either obligated to keep their data within the country’s borders by law or worried their data will be unsafe if hosted outside of the country.

The company announced the plan at its VMworld 2014 Europe conference in Barcelona Tuesday. It expects to bring the data center online in 2015.

VMware unveiled its cloud service, now called vCloud Air (previously vCloud Hybrid Cloud Service) last year. The company takes space with colocation providers for the public cloud side of the service in different locations but has its staff operate the data centers.

vCloud’s promise is seamless integration of customers’ existing VMware environments in their data centers with the public cloud infrastructure hosted in those facilities. It is instant hybrid cloud that has a single set of policies across in-house and VMware data centers.

“As we continue to expand VMware vCloud Air into new markets, with more services than ever before, we are only just scratching the surface of what the service will become,” Bill Fathers, executive vice president and general manager of VMware’s Cloud Services business unit, said in a statement.

Location matters, and it matters more in Germany

To compete in an already crowded public cloud market, however, VMware has to expand the physical footprint of its cloud. Companies like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure operate massive data center facilities around the world and have been at it for years.

VMware has vCloud Air data centers in California, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and New Jersey. It also has one location in the U.K. and another one in Japan.

Physical location of cloud infrastructure affects performance of a service for users, depending on how close or far they are from the data center. Companies in some industries, such as financial services and healthcare, have always been compelled by law to keep their data within their countries’ borders.

Physical location of a customer’s data, however, has become a much bigger concern after the Snowden revelations. Germany has been one of the countries where this concern is biggest.

Both Amazon and Microsoft have made plans to build cloud data centers in Germany in recent months, according to reports. T-Systems has made data sovereignty a central message in promoting its newly completed data center in Biere.

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