The Schwarz Group, parent company of Lidl and Kaufland, is entering the cloud computing business for third parties. Amazon is strongly represented in this area with its subsidiary AWS.
In the future, the Schwarz Group - the largest European retailer and the fourth-largest retailer in the world by revenue - will also offer its IT infrastructure as a service to third-party companies under the STACKIT brand. This was announced by the Schwarz Group, whose best-known brands are the retailers Lidl and Kaufland.
The German discounter group is thus following the example of the retail giant Amazon on a small scale, which has been offering its IT infrastructure as a cloud service via its subsidiary AWS (Amazon Web Services) since 2006. Alongside Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform, AWS is now the world's leading provider of computing power and storage space on the Internet.
European cloud alternative
With its offer, the Lidl parent company is aimed at companies and public administrations. The Schwarz Group is thus providing an answer to political demands for a European alternative to the cloud offerings of non-European providers, said Christian Müller, CEO of Schwarz IT. According to the company, the data centers are located in Germany and meet the "highest European security standards". Around 4,000 people work in the IT subsidiary of the Schwarz Group.
In addition to complete cloud services, Schwarz IT will also offer so-called colocation services. The customers operate their own IT hardware in two Schwarz Group data centers in Germany and Austria, without having to take care of a suitable and secure environment themselves.
Rapid industry growth
Cloud computing has developed rapidly in recent years. According to calculations by the market research company Gartner, global sales in 2010 were still 43 billion US dollars. For the coming year, the experts expect an increase to around 600 billion dollars. With the latest quarterly figures for AWS, Amazon announced a jump in sales of 37 percent to 18.4 billion dollars for the first three months.