UK G-Cloud 2.0 Expected to Have Big Players on Board
The first iteration of the UK's G-Cloud launched in February of 2012, but while big names like Google were willing get behind the computing initiative and serve government needs for storage and hosted computing, others like Salesforce and Amazon weren't so keen on the idea. Now, the UK's new cloud leader says that the version 2.0 of the cloud, due out in May, should have these providers on board.
According to an article in The Guardian, there were several reasons why Salesforce and Amazon passed up the opportunity to get in on the government cloud and get a hefty piece of the provider's pie, including concerns about their legal obligations and their responsibilities when it came to data audits. With a different set of standards in the UK (as compared to the US, which has more stringent security measures), both Salesforce and Amazon were uncomfortable with how their data would be handled in the cloud.
New UK G-Cloud leader Denise McDonagh says that after further consultation, both companies are "much more at ease with what we are asking them to do." McDonagh went on to say "I fully expect them to be on G-Cloud 2." G-Cloud 2 is slated for release in May, though that date could slip as the government struggles to produce measurable results, such as a promised app store that has yet to materialize. In fact, a number of questions have been raised, about both the cloud's readiness to handle government traffic and the quality of its IT.
A recent Tech Week Europe article discusses the last blog post of outgoing UK cloud head honcho, Chris Chant. According to Chant, the level of IT service in the government cloud is "unacceptable," a sentiment echoed by CEO of Salesforce Marc Benioff when asked about the UK cloud last year. Benioff says, "The UK government is way behind in this and way too much into virtualization and the G-Cloud, which is basically just a big virtual machine that has not been executed well."
McDonagh herself was clear that while she believes the cloud gives the opportunity for choice to government agencies and "a way to offer that choice far faster than we would otherwise be able to do so," she's also certain that "government isn't immediately ready to make big bets on cloud."
For midsize businesses looking to compete in a cloud-based world, government cloud evolution is exactly what they need to see. Big players will always be the first targets for government dollars and once newer versions of G-clouds are up and running, their market will expand and allow other providers through the doors. While version 2.0 of the UK cloud won't be the app-laden paradise initially promised, it's a step in the right direction to creating a cloud that offers true vendor choice and will eventually embrace small and midsize businesses, along with big players.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter