G-men want a “Digital Britain” to live in a G-cloud

A Digital revolution is sweeping through Britain as the Government attempts to use a $6 levy on every landline to help finance the deployment of new broadband fibre optic cable to boost broadband services that would allow areas with little or no bandwidth to access the Internet at speeds of up to 2mbps.

But, this is still 50 times slower than other leading technology nations such as South Korea where their citizens are used to watching TV and football world cups on their mobile phones.

The introduction of new fibre optic broadband is only part of the story. In its ongoing attempt to become the digital capital of Europe the government has also recently unveiled an ambitious cloud computing vision that would deliver pay-as-you-go infrastructure and software-as-a-service through the Internet.

That’s right: The g-men are trying to hit the g-spot with the g-cloud and they are not holding back. This includes a government apps store, similar to Google apps, which would allow government departments to leverage applications stored on the Internet.

In an “Amber” document entitled “Data Centre Strategy, G-Cloud & Government applications store programme phase 2” the government outlined a phased approach to migrating 99% of their on-premise IT resources to the cloud. The document explicitly rejected a “big bang” approach in attempting to quickly move infrastructure to a public or private virtualized environment.

“Public sector organisations will benefit from ready access to a wide range of pre-accredited ICT services. These will include both ‘public cloud’ services and common and custom ‘private cloud‟ services procured by other public sector organisations. Services will offer usage based pricing, elastic scalability (up or down), and there will be in built flexibility to switch to alternate services or providers,” said the document.

Cost savings will be founded on driving down the number of unique public sector services through rationalising, sharing and re-using software and infrastructure across organisational boundaries, joining up buying power by establishing an open and transparent marketplace that delivers “latest best prices‟ to all, and by introducing standard, automated processes across the entire ICT lifecycle;- from purchasing new solutions through to migrating existing services to a new supplier. Industry standards will be used „as is‟ for public cloud services.

For private cloud services common standards and services will be driven “up the stack‟ to the maximum possible extent; the technical standards landscape will be controlled by the CTO Council through the cross government Enterprise Architecture (xGEA).

The g-men plan to introduce various private cloud services that will be provisioned by suppliers using an industry standard platform including Microsoft Azure, VMware, or Eucalyptus, an Open Source platform that implements Amazon Web Services standards.

The extensive document mentions these benefits:

    Data Centre Consolidation

  • Reduced hardware maintenance, server capital expenditure, and power consumption through more efficient and better utilised infrastructure.
  • Reduced up-front investment costs through standardisation and sharing of assets.
  • Reduced estate footprint through site sales/repurposing of accommodation.
  • G-Cloud

  • Reduced capital investment in computer infrastructure through utility-based rental of computing and processing time.
  • Reduced server purchase costs through virtualisation of servers across departments leading to higher utilisation rates
  • Reduced data recovery costs through fewer dedicated DR facilities.
  • Government Applications Store

  • Reduced bespoke application development through reuse of existing components.
  • Reduced application purchase prices through economies of scale.
  • Reduced licensing costs through licensing consolidation and reuse.
  • Reduced investment costs through SaaS pay for use model

Volume discounts achieved by purchasers apply to all public sector bodies already using the service

The document outlines a roadmap which calls for results within 2-3 years in order to justify the migration to the cloud and achieve critical mass.

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