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Gaia-X founding member Scaleway exits project over misgivings about its future direction

A founding partner of the Gaia-X project, which aims to build an open, federated data infrastructure for European companies to host their cloud workloads, has exited the project over concerns about where the initiative is heading

Scaleway, one of the founding members of Gaia-X, is exiting the project over an apparent difference of opinion about how to achieve its goal of building an open, federated data infrastructure for European organisations to host their cloud workloads.

The French cloud company confirmed its impending departure from Gaia-X in a brief statement, signed off by the firm’s CEO, Yann Lechelle, which hints at its misgivings over the direction in which the initiative is heading.

“Scaleway will not renew its Gaia-X membership,” said Lechelle. “The objectives of the association, initially laudable, are being sidetracked and slowed down by a polarisation paradox, which is reinforcing the status quo, and that is an unbalanced playing field.

“Scaleway will focus its time, money and attention on its multicloud product offering – a key factor of true reversibility and openness.”

Computer Weekly contacted Scaleway for further clarification about its reasons for exiting the project, but it was not immediately available for comment.

The Gaia-X team also did not respond to Computer Weekly’s request for comment on this story ahead of publication.

Gaia-X was set up in 2019 with the goal of creating a European cloud infrastructure that is secure, federated and interoperable, while also meeting the data sovereignty and scalability requirements of the continent’s cloud users.

Scaleway was one of 22 original founding members of the project, and since then, more than 300 other companies, trade associations and research institutions have joined its ranks to support Gaia-X in building out its cloud ecosystem.

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A report by the political news site Politico in October 2021 suggested that the project was stalling amid reports of in-fighting among its members and concerns that its “bloated bureaucratic structure” was making it difficult for decisions to be signed off about how the project should proceed.

The news of Scaleway’s departure coincides with Gaia-X’s two-day summit, where attendees are being given updates on the future direction of the project and its progress to date.

One of the main announcements from the show is that the European Commission’s directorate-general for competition has given the project’s membership criteria and rules of operation its blessing.

Gaia-X CEO Francesco Bonfiglio said the organisation is “proud of this feedback” and this is proof of how inclusive its membership is.

“It confirms that the rules adopted by the association are inclusive with respect to all members, regardless of their type, size and region, and offer an equal opportunity to all in developing Gaia-X as the common objective for users and providers of technology,” he said. “Gaia-X is not about building walls, but about creating a new opportunity in Europe, for Europe and beyond.”

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