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back to article G-Cloud guru slaps down Cloud Store critics

G-Cloud governor Chris Chant has defended the standards adopted to construct the Cloud Store framework and the length of contracts on offer. As revealed by The Register last week, storage integrator Proact wrote a letter to Chant criticising the recently launched online cloud services marketplace and explaining its reasons for …

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FAIL

After choosing Microsoft to run its G-Cloud services

The Prime Minister gave him a Cast iron guarantee he had his full support.

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Headlines

Easy with the tabloid headlines. Was not a slap down nor intended to be.

Chris Chant

Programme Director G-Cloud

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Re: Headlines

Chris,

I really do hope that G-Cloud works.

Having worked in places which fed from the teat of government programmes and seen how my tax gets spent I can vouch for why things cannot continue as they are. I am not just bashing the suppliers here, the fault seems to be fairly equally distributed between incompetent procurement on the part of the government departments who all want a custom everything because, you know, they really are a unique special snowflake and the suppliers who tend to be greedy and inept as an organisation. The rule of thumb was that if a government project needed "secure" then you charge 3 times what you charge commercial customers for exactly the same service. Again, not all supplier greed, the government customers will keep moving the goal posts and obstructing your delivery because they haven't got a clue what they actually need and can't write a service definition or specification.

As for not allowing individual SLAs, whoohoo! a voice of sense and reason is heard for once! Keep it up! I distinctly recall a project where the procuring department insisted that the service must meet a very high availability target to manage risk to life. I had to break the news to them weeks before go live that the contract they had negotiated and signed gave the requested availability excluding rather than including scheduled maintenance windows and that we would expect to see at least one less nine net service availability and maintenance outages of several hours.

Forcing the contract length down is another master stroke, no more low-bid and milk it all back with change request charges and additional fees over the 5 year lock in.

Again, I really hope you succeed with G-Cloud, buying IT services should not be stuck in the Victorian era, I do hope those who benefit from the current waste of public money don't manage to derail or distort the project too much.

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Anonymous Coward

Perfect example of G-cloud failure

So, isn't it a bit ironic that the Azure cloud platform from Microsoft that runs the G-Cloud store failed today, taking the service down.

That's perfect timing and doesn't exactly help the government counter arguments from providers who seem to be talking a bit of sense (Proact aren't the first to make this point). Short term contracts and weak SLA's won't exactly guarantee a quality service.

Now I'm not exactly coming from a position of any knowledge about the contracts they've signed but they seem to have put a pretty important high profile service onto a cloud platform that doesn't appear to have a contractual service level attached to it.

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Re: Perfect example of G-cloud failure

Nick "Tuition fee" Clegg signed a pledge in great big letters in front of all the cameras that "all is well with our choice of cloud provider".

Or are you saying there's something you don't trust about him, Cast Iron and Microsoft getting together this way?

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Re: Re: Perfect example of G-cloud failure

What a bunch of geniuses. They rush this to market with no real definition of requirements, get a bunch of providers to respond with services that the government hasn't tested or proven and then put them onto a framework. That's a sure fire way to guarantee a quality service.

I don't think anyone would argue that we have to get away from 10-year "old school" inflexible contracts with the usual suspects but the fact that Capita has 180 of the 255 product entries on the Cloud Store makes this a total mockery doesn't it? They've been behind some of the biggest failures over the years and now have total domination of the first phase.

Migrating to a cloud service is not a quick process despite what some providers will tell you. It is not a risk free process and needs careful thorough planning. Signing 6-12 month contracts doesn't allow for that and will just encourage providers to walk away from any contract where it gets tough.

Why didn't they look at 2-3 year contracts with agreed service levels (with real penalties) where providers commit to cost savings, innovation and service levels through the life of their contract.

Oh sorry, that would have been too difficult as they'd have to understand what they want rather than rushing through a politically expedient message.

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Anonymous Coward

The catalogue itself is not useful

The entries say (paraphrasing slightly) -

'We are a cloud provider. We sell cloud'

It's like a dating website where everyone has left the default silhouette in place of loading up a photo

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