CCS launches £750m commodity public cloud framework

Deal will allow public sector organisations to buy direct from vendors

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The Crown Commercial Service has launched a £750m framework to allow government organisations to buy public cloud capacity direct from vendors.

The framework, which is due to launch on 31 March 2021, will consist of a single lot “due to the limited number of suppliers in this particular market”, CCS said. The intent is to provide organisations from across the public sector with “self-serve functionality” for buying basic capacity. 

“The main purpose of this framework agreement is to put in place a route for UK public sector organisations to buy their IaaS and PaaS (infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service) requirements directly from the owners of public cloud platforms,” CCS said. “The scope is necessarily restricted to ‘pure’ compute requirements which do not require additional services such as design, detailed configuration, tailoring or any ongoing management or data migration in [or] out. The services can most simply and usefully be thought of as a commodity ‘utility’ service where buyers connect to and use the supplier’s platform and processing resources for their own requirements, subject to acceptable use policies and compliance with law.”

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The procurement agency added: “Examples could include the buyer’s development of new software applications or to manipulate large sets of data such as weather prediction or modelling medical scenarios, and particularly the ability for the services to be rapidly scalable at short notice.”

To qualify for a place on the procurement vehicle, companies “must have full and exclusive control of the infrastructure which underpins” their platform and will need to be able to provide services “primarily from within the UK”.

Firms must also be able to offer availability of at least 99.9%, and deliver services that meet the definition of cloud computing provided by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology – as well as one example of having done so previously. 

Bids for a spot on the purchasing vehicle are open until 14 January and the framework will last for an initial term of two years, plus two optional one-year extensions.

CCS first indicated its plan to create a dedicated public cloud framework in spring 2019. The intention was to create a vehicle with significantly fewer firms than G-Cloud – the current version of which features more than 5,000 companies. 

The procurement body originally indicated that the dedicated cloud hosting framework would feature three lots: one for hyperscale providers; another for smaller requirements; and a third for related services. But the framework that has eventually made it to market appears has been streamlined into a single segment that seems focused primarily on larger providers.

Sam Trendall

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