A lack of unified data centre guidelines and policy across Europe is driving investment out of the region, according to SAP's EMEA president.
Franck Cohen spoke to Computerworld UK at SAP's Database and Technology Partner Summit in Barcelona this week, where he said that it doesn't make sense that the free trade approach in the EU doesn't apply to data, like it does to the flow of goods and people.
He believes that the United States holds an advantage because of standardised regulation across all states.
“In the US they have one single market, one single legislation. In Europe we don't know where we are going, there are different views of how the data centres should be administered – France is talking about data privacy, Germany is talking business guarantees, Brussels isn't saying anything,” said Cohen.
“The reality is you don't know where you go with this. Are we going to have a situation where every country wants its own data centres? Are we going to allow data to circulate around Europe like the flow of goods and people do today?”
He added: “Still today, there is a lack of clarity from the European community and the countries in Europe about how they are going to address this. For me this is a show stopper for companies [vendors], because they don't know if they are going to have to build a data centre in multiple countries in Europe.”
If the solution isn't resolved and if Europe doesn't establish a centralised, standardised approach to regulation regarding the flow of data, Cohen said, then vendors will take their investment elsewhere – to countries where it is less complex and more cost effective.
He also said that the current situation is stifling cloud uptake in the region.
“There is a lack of legislation, there is a lack of visibility, which is not an issue in the US – Europe is so fragmented that if we don't pay attention we are going to lose this battle completely. The data centre will be somewhere else,” said Cohen.
“There is a big battle for who is going to provide the hosting solutions – if in Europe it means a lot of work, a lot of employment, a lot of cost – I'm going to lose the battle of where the money is and where the money goes. It's far too expensive [to build a data centre in every country in Europe], you kill the whole business case if you have to do that.”
He added: “And I also think it is prohibiting some companies from more rapidly adopting cloud solutions. It's the responsibility of the Europe to put in place unified data centre guidelines.”