CloudStore opened by government

Mark Say Published 20 February 2012

CloudStore opened by government

Launch of online marketplace for services fulfils major target of G-Cloud strategy

The Government Procurement Service has opened its long awaited channel for the public sector to obtain cloud computing services on a 'pay as you go' basis.


It has been named CloudStore rather than the Government Application Store, the name under which it was developed, and makes more than 1,700 services from 258 suppliers available through a catalogue for the first tranche of the G-Cloud service.


It comprises four service genres infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as a service and specialist cloud services and individual services including email, word processing, system hosting, enterprise resource planning, electronic records management, customer relationship management and office productivity applications.


The Cabinet Office said it provides the public sector with a cheaper, quicker and more transparent way to procure services, and that its main advantage will be that it gives organisations the option to pay for many services as they use them rather than developing their own systems.


Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: "The launch of CloudStore is an important milestone in the Government's ICT strategy to deliver savings and an IT system fit for the 21st century. Simply stated, purchasing services from CloudStore will be quicker, easier, cheaper and more transparent for the public sector and suppliers alike."


The catalogue includes service details and pricing information . Among the suppliers included are big names such as Capita Business, CSC Computer and Atos IT services, but about 50% are SMEs. On its G-Cloud blog , the Cabinet Office has highlighted that the service has been developed by a UK SME, Solidsoft, while it is hosted on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform.


Maude added: "By creating a competitive marketplace, the G-Cloud framework will constantly encourage service providers to improve the quality and value of the solutions they offer, reducing the cost to taxpayers and suppliers. And it gives SME suppliers of niche products the same opportunities as bigger organisations supplying services.


"Using cloud solutions that have already been secured and accredited will almost always be less expensive, and we will only pay for what we use. We will also know from the outset the cost of the product and, importantly, the cost of exit from contracts that will be no longer than 12 months."


The framework will be open to applications from potential new suppliers in the spring.


The G-Cloud framework has been under development for more than two years, with the aim of providing a route for the easy procurement of IT services on a 'pay as you go' basis. Central government has a target of cloud services accounting for 50% of IT spending by 2015.




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