It looks like trouble is brewing somewhere in the UK Cabinet Office. CIO John Sherwood's ( who you remember was fresh from the mighty NHS ICT project?) latest missive ran thus:
"We will shortly be publishing a new public sector ICT strategy that, as called for by the Operational Efficiency Programme, will deliver savings of more than £3bn a year."
This was followed days later by a lengthy article on the BBC news site, a telling clip of which we have below:
“Treasury officials have stressed that only part of the NHS IT programme is facing the axe, and the whole project will not be scrapped"....
Yes, it's those loveable rogues and their blue-tinged G-Cloud again. But what are they up to this time?
My best guess follows:
We as a Nation will save a fortune if we move from high-energy, high-maintenance, high-licence cost PCs and switch our public sector to Cloud terminals.
These instant on eco-friendly devices will actually be nothing more than windows onto the existing and beloved databases with a couple of Office-esque 'apps' (from the 'App store') thrown in to keep the paper-generators happy.
Of course most the money saved when we stop paying Microsoft for the traditional desktops complete with Office 20** will go straight back to them for hosting the now deeply trendy so-called Private Cloud. (The Times actually did a four page pull-out on the topic, how trendy is that?).
More savings will follow from that army of desktop support technicians...that will no longer be needed (Sorry guys I did say).
That extra step.
So far so good. I should be very happy After all the G-Cloud's thin-clients will be 'instant-on' very low energy devices that need no maintenance...just what I have always banged on should be the case.
Yes, I would prefer the G-Cloud's databases to be PostGresSQL rather than Oracle, I would prefer that the G-Cloud was based on Open Source software such as Linux and Eucalyptus rather than a proprietary system. I would love the terminal interface not to be that expensive and not very good proprietary thing the NHS use (may have got lucky here judging by opening quotes).
But, all the above having been said, a Public Sector Private Cloud is still a good thing. Maybe I have been a little harsh in the past?
I know I'll write an open letter to the Cabinet Office CIO:
Dear John Suffolk,
I think you have 'nailed' the future of public sector IT. I support your vision (God that hurt) but may I start the argument afresh about taking that extra step?
Your Government is very publicly promoting open source software and has re-affirmed that position recently, so how about taking the lead and putting Open Source Software at the heart of the G-Cloud project?
Think of the freedom, think of the control.
I understand the the Linux Ubuntu Cloud is quite nice and uses the tried and tested Eucalyptus technology. Also PostgresSQL seems to work as well as Oracle. It's all free,open source software.
Think of the money..
.. an open source private cloud, now that really would be something.
ps if it works, wouldn't it be cool if the SME's in the private sector could rent Cloud computing for their businesses too? They could do with lowering their IT costs too.
We are going to get a Private Cloud, it will save loads of money. Can it be an Open Source Private Cloud please?