Thursday, 9 May 2013

UK Government "All in" with G-Cloud 3



With the rollout of G-Cloud 3 now taking centre stage, the UK government has thrown itself "all in" with the new addition of the cloud framework. It has now officially adopted a cloud-first approach that stresses to all government and public sector agencies the importance of considering G-Cloud first, before procuring IT services elsewhere.

As reported by Tech Week Europe, using G-Cloud is already mandatory for central government operations. But now other public sector organisations will be strongly urged to do likewise. The goal is to increase G-Cloud use to the extent that 50% of the government IT budget is being spent there by 2015.

The framework offers a one-stop shopping experience for organisations looking for cloud computing services. The latest incarnation of G-Cloud includes the following:

  • CloudStore - The central buying place for cloud computing and IT services. Vendors choosing to participate in the framework make their services available through the CloudStore.

  • G-Cloud Authority - A set of rules and methodologies designed to standardise the IT services offered. G-Cloud Authority is also used to resolve differences between private sector providers and public sector consumers.

With the launch of the new release, the government is also stepping up efforts to consolidate its data centres. The idea is to close underutilised facilities while concentrating all government cloud operations into a consolidated environment that will eventually be a hybrid of public and private clouds.

Today's G-Cloud 3 now boasts 708 suppliers providing cloud-computing services to central government agencies. The hope is to continue adding more vendors as a means of reducing the likelihood that one or two very large commercial operations will win most of the contracts. Interestingly enough, Amazon and Google are still not on board as G-Cloud 3 partners.

A Blessing in Disguise


Some look at the absence of Google and Amazon from G-Cloud 3 as a good thing. For example, Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell believes the government cloud environment should be a place for as many small, specialised players as possible. We agree, at least to some extent.

When smaller companies with unique specialities are part of the community, most of the more complicated needs are addressed more rapidly and with greater focus. Nowhere is this more apparent than with cloud security. Just ask companies like Palantir Technologies.

Palantir Technologies has already demonstrated their acuity for cloud security through previous projects with America's FBI and CIA. They are now on board with G-Cloud 3. Moreover, because they are not bogged down with the bureaucracy of a monster corporation like Google, they are more flexible, more focused, and able to respond much more quickly.

This is exactly what the government needs if it expects to eventually reach 100% participation in G-Cloud 3. They need providers able to handle the specialised needs of each department and, in some cases, individual offices within a department. The "big boys" are not able to supply those specialised services properly. At least not as it stands right now.

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