Cloud Providers Fear G-Cloud Evaporation

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The government needs to clarify its cloud strategy, amid confusion over the G-Cloud, says Cirrus Stratus

Cloud computing providers are calling on the government to clarify its position on the G-Cloud, following reports that the project has been abandoned.

The concept of a nationalised government cloud was introduced by the Labour government in December 2009, and was touted as a way to enable sharing and reuse of business apps, services and components across the public sector.

However, last week HP’s Nick Wilson, who has been heavily involved in government IT planning, let slip to IT PRO that the Coalition had dropped the cloud initiative in favour of focusing more heavily on data centre consolidation.

“They’ve canned the project,” Wilson reportedly told IT PRO. “They thought cloud was a bit too much nirvana, so in the short term, the projects that are being looked at are data centre consolidation.”

Clarification needed

Costas Galonis, managing director of cloud provider Cirrus Stratus, urged the government to clearly set out its cloud strategy, in order to reassure the public that it is still committed to the policy.

“It would be very disappointing if the government is backing away from cloud computing and taking a short-term view of the investment necessary to save vast amounts of money in the long term,” said Galonis. “The G-Cloud is a step in the right direction and the British public should know that if this statement by HP is accurate it will cost the British taxpayer dearly.”

Galonis added that cloud computing does not only lead to savings, but can also benefit the environment.

“The Government should be encouraging cloud computing for carbon efficiency and just as importantly they should give a clear lead for small to medium sized enterprises,” he said. “We use the cloud in many ways every day already – it is not going away.”

The Cabinet Office was contacted by eWEEK Europe to clarify the status of the G-Cloud, but did not respond in time for the publication of this article.

Government backing out?

The news follows the notable omission of the term ‘G-Cloud’ from the government’s recently announced IT strategy. Following the publication of IT PRO’s scoop, the Cabinet office reaffirmed its commitment to cloud computing, but without mentioning the term ‘G-Cloud’.

“Any inference that government has ‘ditched’ the cloud computing programme is wrong,” a spokesperson explained.

Meanwhile, the G-Cloud strategy has been dismissed as unnecessary by David Wilde, CIO for Westminster City Council. When asked back in March whether the government’s concept of a nationalised cloud was a mistake for most government data, he responded: “Why have a nationalised one when there are so many privatised ones out there already?”

He went on to say that much of the central infrastructure is already outsourced to third parties, so the government is “already part way there in terms of commercial, almost-cloud-based services”.

A poll of eWEEK readers back in January revealed mixed attitudes to to the government’s cloud-based IT strategy, with roughly equal numbers of people predicting it will be an outright failure and an outright success.

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