La compañía de software de Business Intelligence, Birst (www.birst.com), ha anunciado su partnership con Amazon Web Services en Irlanda. Más abajo el artículo en inglés.
This is an attempt to appease concerns from potential customersEuropean-Union-Guidelines-on-Cloud-Computing about having their data hosted in the US, in direct response to Snowden’s revelations about the NSA.
Although Birst is following a recent trend of Software-as-a-Service providers making moves to offer hosting capabilities on EU soil, this announcement strikes a different tone. Unlike Salesforce, Oracle or Netsuite, all of which have remained adamant that the NSA debacle hasn’t had any impact on prospective customers – Birst is stating that it has found that companies in the UK and Europe absolutely do not want their data hosted in North America for that very reason.
This will no doubt please European Commission Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, whom has been using the PRISM revelations as an example of why the region needs a pan-European Cloud Computing Strategy.
Whilst this announcement from Birst is an interesting indicator regarding its strategy to pursue a growing international customer base – see my recent interview with CEO Jay Larson about the company’s ambitions in cloud BI – it also points to some of the challenges that US cloud vendors face in securing EU customers post-PRISM (especially in the public sector).
I got the chance to speak to Birst’s VP of Product Strategy, Southard Jones, about the AWS partnership. He said:
Two years ago we at Birst decided that we wanted to be an international company, not just a North American company. We did a number of things – picking some partners, putting about 12 folks in the UK – and with that came some customers. And what we had heard from those customers and many other folks in Europe was that they were wary about having their data hosted in the United States.
So there was two options for us – build our own data centre in Europe, or partner with Amazon and leverage their capabilities. This is a clear signal to the market and for Birst to make a pretty large investment to ensure that we can service the UK customer. There is no connection to here in the US, it is totally separate.
Edward_Snowden-2It’s primarily to ensure that we could deliver to our customers what they want, which is data hosted in the EU but still run and managed by Birst.
When I asked Larson about the NSA revelations and their impact, I really did expect him to dismiss the question. However, quite refreshingly, he was very honest about how customers in the UK and Europe are now feeling about having their data hosted in North America. He said:
Clearly Snowden and NSA propelled this demand. I think there was always an undercurrent, but between Snowden and the NSA and the spying, it has since been brought to the fore and people definitely wanted a resolution to it.
If it wasn’t for NSA and Snowden, I don’t think we would be doing this with the data centre in Ireland.