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UK.gov 'pay as you go' IT services cloud to float in March

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The opportunity for suppliers to join the government's £60m G-Cloud framework is drawing to a close, according to Mark O'Neill, proposition director for innovation and delivery at the Government Digital Service (GDS).

"We plan to launch the first tranche of the G-Cloud catalogue in March," O'Neill told the Cloud Expo event in London.

The G-Cloud procurement process was extended last year to give more suppliers the opportunity to participate. At the end of December 2011 there had been in excess of 500 expressions of interest in joining the framework from suppliers offering more than 1,600 cloud services.

"The billions which we spend on IT is fundamentally changing because too much goes on systems that are unacceptable," said O'Neill. "Cloud can disaggregate systems and to do things differently and dramatically cheaper."

O'Neill has first hand experience of cloud computing: the GDS rolled out cloud desktop services to 125 of its users in October. Over the last four months, the cloud software has worked out 80 per cent cheaper than a traditional on-premise desktop set up, he said.

"At the moment that is for the cost of the desktop services that we use," he told GGC. "So that is for email, collaboration and standard services where we are paying 80 per cent less than equivalent users."

O'Neill said he would never purchase software for email, collaboration, instant messaging, databases, file storage and printers outright again. "I have not printed out anything for six months," he told the audience.

While issues with security, management and ownership are common reasons for a failure to adopt cloud, O'Neill asked delegates if they knew where their medical records were, noting we often do not know who runs such servers.

O'Neill said: "We either grab the opportunity, or we give up."

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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