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What is sovereign cloud?

Tytus Kurek

on 10 January 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of cloud computing, the concept of a sovereign cloud has recently emerged in response to data management challenges. As governments increasingly recognise the importance of safeguarding their data, ensuring compliance with local regulations, and asserting digital autonomy, sovereign cloud solutions have gained prominence. This blog will explore this concept in detail. It will discuss its significance, purpose, and Canonical’s role in enabling digital sovereignty across the public sector worldwide.

What is sovereign cloud?

Sovereign cloud, often referred to as government cloud or national cloud, is a cloud infrastructure designed to cater exclusively to the needs of government entities and their institutions within a specific country or jurisdiction. Unlike traditional public cloud services provided by global tech giants, sovereign cloud solutions are hosted and managed within the geographical boundaries of the country they serve. This approach ensures that sensitive data and critical digital services remain under the control of local authorities, thereby enhancing security, compliance and digital sovereignty.

Public clouds vs sovereign clouds

Public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure or Google Cloud, are well-established infrastructure players, providing on-demand access to theoretically infinite resources. They are ideal for individuals, startups or even medium to large-sized businesses. However, when it comes to the public sector, the quest for digital sovereignty plays a crucial role.

Public clouds are operated by huge commercial organisations whose interests might be divergent from the interests of local governments. Therefore, we often see individual countries, or even supranational organisations, such as the European Union, making efforts to build their own cloud infrastructure where confidential data can be stored and processed safely.

The quest for digital sovereignty

Governments want to have full control over their data – that’s for sure. However, digging a little bit deeper into this topic, the drive to establish a sovereign cloud usually stems from multiple reasons. Those include:

  • Data sovereignty and security – Governments must protect sensitive data, including military information, citizen records and intellectual property, from foreign interference or cyber threats. Sovereign clouds offer a secure, localised environment for data storage and processing, reducing the risk of data breaches and unauthorised access.
  • Compliance and regulations – Many countries have adopted data protection laws that mandate storing and processing confidential data within national boundaries. In this case, sovereign clouds help governments comply with these regulations while maintaining full control over the data.
  • Digital autonomy – Relying on global public cloud providers can create dependencies on foreign companies, potentially compromising national interests and digital autonomy. Sovereign clouds empower governments to take control of their digital future.
  • Resilience and disaster recovery – Sovereign clouds can be optimised for redundancy and disaster recovery, ensuring that critical government services remain operational despite natural disasters or cyberattacks.

Building sovereign cloud with Canonical

When it comes to a sovereign cloud project roll-out, it is important to involve a trusted partner who has years of experience in this space. Canonical, for instance, plays a pivotal role in enabling governments to build and operate sovereign clouds effectively. Canonical offers a range of infrastructure products and services that align seamlessly with the requirements of the public sector while ensuring cost-effectiveness throughout the stack.

Ubuntu Pro is at the heart of Canonical’s offering for the public sector. This comprehensive commercial subscription provides extra services not available in Ubuntu long-term support (LTS) by default, such as:

  • Ten years of support – Ubuntu Pro ensures ten years of security maintenance and optional commercial phone/ticket support for all the software included in Ubuntu’s Main and Universe repositories. This enables organisations in the public sector to use stable versions of Ubuntu for a long period of time and move at their own pace.
  • Hardening and auditing – included in the subscription are hardening profiles, most notably Centre of Internet Security (CIS) and Defence Information System Agency (DISA) Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG), which help to secure fragile infrastructure according to common benchmarks and facilitate auditing.
  • Certification and compliance – Ubuntu Pro serves as a gateway to various certification programs, such as the federal Risk and Authorisation Management Program (FedRAMP). Canonical is happy to work with their customers to help them achieve required authorisation.

On top of Ubuntu Pro, Canonical delivers a full gamut of products and services as required by the typical sovereign cloud implementation project. This includes cloud design and delivery services, comprehensive training sessions and migration scenarios. Everything that is required for governments to accelerate their digital transformation while taking back full control of their digital assets.


In conclusion, the adoption of sovereign cloud solutions represents a significant step toward safeguarding national interests in the digital age. As governments continue exploring the benefits of sovereign clouds, Canonical stands as a trusted partner, providing all the required tools and expertise to navigate this transformative journey towards digital autonomy and security.

Learn more

Download our solution brief to learn more about Canonical products, solutions and services in the digital sovereignty space.

See how Canonical helped Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) build a disaster-proof sovereign cloud.

See how the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) has partnered with Canonical to to build the first secure private cloud for the UN system, providing cutting-edge security and data sovereignty.
Get in touch with Canonical cloud experts.

Further Reading

Learn more about Canonical’s open source infrastructure solutions.

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