Amazon – which claims to be the world's largest web services company – and cloud platform vendor Salesforce.com are set to join the government's G-Cloud 2.0, according to the organisation's new programme director, Denise McDonagh, who takes over from Chris Chant at the end of the month.
The recruitment of the two big names is a boost for the G-Cloud, and will enable public-sector organisations to use the two companies' software and services on uniform terms and conditions. Both had turned down the opportunity to join up in February, when G-Cloud 1.0 launched, over concerns about their legal obligations under the terms of G-Cloud 1.0.
According to McDonagh, the organisation has had to reduce the number of terms and conditions – from hundreds of pages down to just 20 – and simplify the wording to attract new suppliers.
Since its launch in February, says McDonagh, just "20 or 30" services had been sold via Cloudstore, but the organisation is planning to hold several "buy camps" to persuade CIOs and others involved in IT procurement in the public sector to use cloud services.
The recruitment of Salesforce.com is significant, following stinging criticism from the company's CEO, Marc Benioff, in September last year.
"The UK government is way behind in this and way too much into virtualisation and the G-Cloud, which is basically just a big virtual machine that has not been executed well," he told ZDnet.
He added that he believed too much public-sector money was being wasted on datacentres with utilisation rates running in single-digit figures. The public sector could make huge savings by adopting cloud services, he suggested.
Both Amazon and Salesforce already provide hosting of US government data and applications. Amazon, for example, has a specialised Amazon Web Services offering for the US public sector, called AWS GovCloud, which was designed to comply with US data protection and other regulations. These include the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which dictate how defence-related data should be managed and stored. ITAR, for example, mandates that the data be accessible only by US persons.