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UK: Government sets up G Cloud Board
Source: guardian.co.uk
Source Date: Thursday, October 27, 2011
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Europe
Created: Oct 27, 2011

A G Cloud Delivery Board is to take the lead role in implementing the government's programme for cloud computing, while a G Cloud Authority will oversee the longer term take-up and assurance of commodity services.

The plan is outlined in the Government Cloud Strategy, one of the sub-documents of its broader ICT strategy, newly published by the Cabinet Office. It outlines a number of policies devised to support the goverment's plan to set up a G Cloud to provide services to public authorities and for half of Whitehall's new ICT spending to be in cloud services by 2015.

The delivery board will govern the programme, with responsibilities that include establishing and testing the standard service metrics for commodity services to be obtained through the G Cloud. These will cover performance, quality and price and be published in a comparable form. It will also set the timetable for delivering the Government Apps store - a collection of cloud based services - and data centre consolidation.

Much of its work will be devolved to four bodies: a cloud services group, a security working group, a commercial working group and a data centre consolidation project board. In turn the delivery board will report to the CIO Delivery Board.

The G Cloud Authority will manage the long term adoption and assurance of commodity services and cloud take-up by government, and will provide any ongoing strategic and accreditation management across the commodity services. It will also handle commodity commissioning and provide a lead on procurement for all of government.

One of the long term plans is for the authority to integrate with the Public Services Network Authority.

The document also states a policy of "public cloud first", in which organisations will be encouraged to use services available for numerous public authorities. However, it will be acceptable to use a private cloud environment when the systems demand a higher level of security assurance, and there will be scope to use hybrids of the two.

It provides a set of metrics by which the success of the programme will be judged, divided into three groups:

• Cloud: cost per full time employee per commodity service; the percentage of Whitehall's new ICT spend going on cloud; and the number of departmental systems closed and services moved to a cloud service.

• Government Application Store: the number of accredited products it includes; the number of services departments have adopted from it; and the number of applications re-used by different organisations.

• Data centre consolidation: the number of data centres and associated hosting services; the cost per server; the percentage of servers virtualised; and the utilisation of servers.

The Government Application Store will take the form of an online portal and provide an open marketplace for the relevant services.

There is also a group of federated commodity services with a lead organisation, or foundation delivery partner, already in place: software as a service (SaaS) for collaboration (Department for Education); SaaS for email (Warwickshire county council); SaaS for customer relationship management (British Council); infrastructure and platform as a service (Home Office); web hosting and online content management systems (the Government Digital Service, the Department of Health and HM Revenue and Customs); public cloud services (Ordnance Survey); and enterprise resource planning (the Government Digital Service).

Writing in the foreward to the collection of sub-strategies, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said of the G Cloud programme: "Government will move away from expensive, long duration bespoke solutions to a common approach - sharing resources and infrastructure to enable us to become a consumer of widely available, ever improving mass market products and solutions. Many of these solutions will be available for re-use from the Government Application Store."

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