EDF Outsources British Data Centres To Atos

EDF Energy, the UK arm of French energy giant EDF Group, has signed a ten year outsourcing deal with giant French IT services firm Atos to reduce the cost of operating its data centres.

Under the terms of the deal that is worth in excess of £100 million, Atos will provide data centre services for EDF Energy’s UK business.

This will involve consolidating EDF Energy’s data centre infrastructure in order to cut costs by 20 percent over the life of the contract, as well as transferring EDF staff to Atos.

Cost Effective Move

“Throughout the rigorous 12 month procurement process, Atos clearly demonstrated that it had the expertise, capability and capacity to meet our business needs in the UK,” explained Nigel Pettifer, EDF Energy Head of Data Centres. “The new solution will enable us to run our business more cost effectively while improving the resilience and flexibility of our IT infrastructure.”

According to the companies, the new contract will mean that Atos will provide EDF Energy with significant additional data centre capacity to meet increased demand, whilst also enabling its services to be flexed up or down according to requirements.

But it also seems that Atos will “rationalise” existing data centre facilities, as well as offering new services and improving service resilience.

At part of the deal, over 100 employees from EDF Energy will be transferred to Atos and will continue to be based at EDF Energy locations. “Atos and EDF Energy have worked closely together to ensure a smooth transition for all employees,” said Atos.

“This contract extends our relationship with EDF Group and represents the start of a long term partnership between Atos and EDF Energy in the UK,” said Ursula Morgenstern, CEO for UK and Ireland at Atos. “It also consolidates our leading position in managed services in Europe following the acquisition of Siemens IT Solutions and Services in 2011 and demonstrates our strength in the UK market in infrastructure outsourcing.”

Atos of course already works closely with EDF in France, with many contracts that include the maintenance of EDF’s nuclear simulators and monitoring its power generation.

Spying Operation

Last November EDF found itself in hot water when it was fined €1.5 million (£1.4m) for hacking into Greenpeace computers in 2006. EDF was also ordered to pay half a million euros (£428,000) in damages to Greenpeace.

The judge sentenced Pierre-Paul François, who was EDF’s deputy head of nuclear production security in 2006 to three years imprisonment, with 30 months suspended. Meanwhile his boss, Pascal Durieux, who was EDF’s head of nuclear production security in 2006, was also sentenced to three years imprisonment, two years suspended, and a 10,000 euros (£8,500) fine for apparently commissioning the spying operation.

And Atos has not been without controversery either.

Last year, it attracted a lot of criticism for its handling of the incapacity benefit application system. The government report called the system “flawed”, and this was proven further by the high number of appeals and the high success rate of appellants.

In response, Atos issued legal threats against websites and forums that described patients’ unpleasant experiences of the assessment process, accusing them of libel.

And in December 2011 Atos revealed it is to ban the use of email for internal office communications. The reason Atos said was that the current volume of email is “unsustainable,” and consequently it would stop using internal email for company communications within two years.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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