Sergey Nivens - stock.adobe.com
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft are among the nine suppliers to have secured a place on the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) £750m hyperscale-focused Cloud Compute framework.
The four-year framework is set up to allow public and third-sector organisations to purchase cloud infrastructure and platform-as-a-service offerings in high volume directly from suppliers that specialise in the provision of hyperscale, general-purpose compute environments.
“[This framework is] necessarily restricted to pure compute requirements which do not require additional services such as design, detailed configuration, tailoring or any ongoing management or professional services to assist with data migration in or out,” said the original tender notice for the framework.
Framework suppliers must also be able to host and provide their services primarily within the UK, and must be able to point to at least one example of a contract where they have delivered public cloud services to a private or public sector organisation during the last three years, the tender stipulated.
As well as AWS, Google and Microsoft, the other suppliers on the framework are IBM, Oracle, Fordway Solutions, Frontier Technology, UKCloud and UKFast.net.
Chris Perkins, general manager of public sector at Microsoft UK, said the framework would help public sector organisations pick up the pace of their digital transformations by making it easier to access to hyperscale cloud capacity.
“The Cloud Compute framework will empower many more organisations as they look to innovate citizen services, and work smarter and faster,” he said.
The framework has been a long time in the making – CCS technical director Niall Quinn first outlined the concept of a hyperscale cloud procurement framework during an interview with Computer Weekly back in October 2018.
At the time, he billed the framework as an alternative means of procuring cloud capacity for public sector buyers who felt hamstrung by the relatively short two-year contract terms offered through CCS’s long-running G-Cloud procurement framework.
The organisation has also made an effort during its past discussions about the prospect of the Cloud Compute framework to repeatedly position it as a complement to G-Cloud rather than a competing procurement mechanism, which is a message CCS wants to continue hammering home.
Read more about government cloud frameworks
- The latest government spend data suggests public sector IT buyers are increasingly using G-Cloud to procure services from the hyperscale cloud community, prompting concerns about the impact this might have on the SME-friendly framework.
- The 12th iteration of the UK government’s G-Cloud procurement framework is now live, with 5,224 suppliers offering public sector IT buyers access to more than 38,000 cloud services through the Digital Marketplace.
“CCS is launching Cloud Compute to complement G-Cloud, which has shorter call-off terms and a wider pool of suppliers able to offer more diverse services,” the organisation said in a statement published today (11 May 2021).
To this point, Cloud Compute framework buyers will benefit from three-year call-off terms for any contracts they embark on, with the option to extend them for up to 12 months each, twice.
“Being able to rapidly scale up or down the service offered is crucial and unavailable through G-Cloud,” the CCS statement added.
The statement also revealed that participating suppliers were asked to share details of how they would help framework users improve the sustainability of their operations, too.
“CCS will continue to work with suppliers on this agreement to understand and reduce the public sector’s carbon emissions footprint through cloud adoption, in line with the government’s carbon net zero commitments,” the CCS statement added.
UKCloud CEO Simon Hansford applauded CCS for taking steps to ensure framework suppliers would be helping buyers to achieve their sustainability goals, as well as deliver on their digital transformation ambitions.
“With inclusion on the CCS Cloud Compute, organisations are able to quickly analyse and confidently identify that UKCloud is able support them as they look to implement more digital-first operations and unlock new services,” said Hansford. “We’re very pleased to be able to contribute to wider social good in this way.”