Wednesday 19 December 2012

Cloud computing supplier raises doubts about cloud computing suppliers – "suicidal mission with no exit"

It should be made clear that Mr Peter Dawes-Huish, the chief executive officer of LinuxIT, is in favour of cloud computing. "G-Cloud is a great opportunity for government", he is quoted as saying in

This has provoked fury in the Twittersphere where Chris Haslam has re-Tweeted Mark_Anthony's scorn: "RT @Mark_Antony: Worst article on the @G_Cloud_UK I have ever had the misfortune to read:  - shameful drivel...”".

The shameful drivel Mr Dawes-Huish is guilty of uttering is presumably where he described G-Cloud as a military mission "with an entry route and no exit route" that is "not just dangerous, but suicide".

G-Cloud, of course, is the government cloud, a military mission in the safe hands of the Cabinet Office and the Government Procurement Service (GPS). GPS, if you remember, are the people whose procurement service broke down because it didn't have enough space to store the tenders submitted by prospective suppliers in response to GPS's invitation.

In the worst article ever, Messrs Haslam and Mark_Anthony had the further misfortune to read "if you move your applications and data to a cloud service in the proprietary model then you'll be held to ransom" and "some government departments indicate that using G-Cloud is illegal, or against government policy". Drivel. Shameful.

HMRC's decision to store local tax office data in the cloud is perfectly sensible. So is the Government Digital Service's decision to host GOV.UK in the cloud.

Let there be no doubt about that, both decisions have been made with the support of GPS. There is nothing untoward in the fact that the supplier concerned in each case, Skyscape Cloud Services Ltd, is owned 100% by just one individual (when last checked on Companies House) and provides a map on the web how to get to its data centre. That will not stay CESG's hand for a moment, they will be pleased to confirm that Skyscape meets all security requirements.

Cloud computing is the flavour of the month, Mr Dawes-Huish suggests. It is based on the attractions of the utility model, you only pay for the IT services you actually use. The utility model is in some disrepute in the gas and electricity world at the moment but it would be shameful drivel to suggest that the same fate awaits cloud computing – quasi-monopolists ramping prices, consumers helpless in the face of.

What happens, though, Mr Dawes-Huish asks, when there is a new flavour of the month round at GPS Towers? Will the Gadarene lemmings who have signed up with G-Cloud be able to escape and take advantage of the new flavour? Or will HMRC's records and the entire single government domain GOV.UK be locked in to/held hostage by last month's flavour?

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