UK government seeks data host partner

Out-Law News | 23 Jul 2014 | 3:43 pm | 1 min. read

The UK government is looking for a joint venture partner to host government data in a new data centre environment.

The prospective partner would own a majority stake of up to nearly 75% in 'DatacentreCo', the new joint venture business being created, and has to have a track record of providing data centre facilities in the UK.

Initially it is expected that DatacentreCo would provide hosting services to government departments under a four year framework contract that could be worth up to £700 million. Data centre facilities being provided would have to meet minimum space and storage requirements but also be "scalable" to meet possible demand from other public sector customers in the future. Data classified as 'top secret' by the UK government may eventually be stored on the servers, the Cabinet Office said.

It said that the successful hosting provider would be available to store data that the government decides should not be stored in a cloud environment.

"Under [the government's] cloud first policy the hosting of many existing and new applications will move to the public cloud over the next few years," the tender document said. "DatacentreCo will support and compliment this policy by providing 'legacy' (non-public cloud) hosting for applications not suitable or not ready for cloud hosting or for which conversion to cloud readiness would be uneconomic."

The Cabinet Office said that its "desired outcomes" for the joint venture arrangements include that it delivers "increased efficiency and better value for money; greater transparency over service utilisation, costs and supplier margins; [and] increased agility by moving to scalable, service-based models".

"It is great to see government taking the mixed economy approach of using both cloud and non cloud. This is sensible both on costs grounds and because of the level of risk involved in hosting sensitive government data," IT contracts expert Simon Colvin of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said. "Our experience of cloud solutions is certainly that one size doesn’t fit all, and it’s good to see that the government has a similar view regarding its approach to data centre rationalisation."