Swedish Cloud DBaaS Avoids Patriot Privacy Snag

As the Patriot Act drowns Safe Habor concepts, European cloud services find a marketing angle

Two Swedish companies are taking advantage of the US Patriot Act to drum up some European business.

Severalnines, which offers automation and management software for cloud database provisioning, and the City Network hosting company have banded together to produce “a fully European Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) solution”. The Severalnines DataCloud service is still in beta under the name of the City Cloud Database Service but is ready to take customers on board.

Unsafe Harbor

The passing of the Patriot Act and a recent court case have breached Safe Harbor promises of extending EU data protection standards to US-held data. Under the new regulations, United States law enforcement officers are now entitled to access any information stored on US soil or by a US company without the owner’s permission, or even knowledge, that the information has been touched.

This has incensed the European Commission (EC) and changes to current European legislation will be proposed by the end of June 2012. This could be hold a major shock for European companies, and is expected to have a direct impact on all cloud service providers and social networks that operate within the Europe.

In a joint statement, European Union (EU) Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding and Ilse Aigner, the German Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, wrote: “We both believe that companies who direct their services to European consumers should be subject to EU data protection laws. Otherwise, they should not be able to do business on our internal market. This also applies to social networks with users in the EU. We have to make sure that they comply with EU law and that EU law is enforced, even if it is based in a third country and even if its data are stored in a ‘cloud’.”

Johan Christenson, chairman at City Network, said,“A fully managed database service will enable our customers to further reap the benefits of the cloud,” said “We believe that a service owned and operated locally in the EU, and fully compliant with EU data protection laws, will be  particularly attractive to European companies.”

Latency benefits

The City Cloud Database Service is based on MySQL and stored on Swedish servers. Deployment of a new database is automated so new instances can be spawned at will, with the customer only paying for what is used. Auto administration takes care of routine management tasks, such as analysing database performance and applying software patches. The service also keeps watch over the instances and detects if a database needs restarting, handles failures, and can even redirect applications to another database instance if needed.

Because the servers are this side of theAtlantic, the company has claimed it can have distinct latency benefits

Vinay Joosery, CEO at Severalnines, said, “Small start-ups and large corporations are turning to the cloud in a bid to deploy and manage databases with as little overhead as possible – but they need to know their data is secure and that they retain the right and ability to control who accesses it.”