A report into the long-running drive to reduce the carbon footprint of central government IT and the consolidation of its estate of around 220 datacentres will be published within weeks, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has told Parliament.
Former government CIO John Suffolk had talked of reducing the number of central government datacentres and slashing overall energy consumption in the process, when he served under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – a fact that demonstrates the true age of the project, as well as its glacial pace of progress.
Suffolk's ideas, though, were repackaged in the government's Green ICT strategy published at the end of March 2011, followed up by a more detailed implementation plan in October 2011.
"The Cabinet Office has collected the baseline information from departments around the cost and energy consumed by government datacentres and their servers, and is actively working to consolidate and rationalise government datacentres, which will save energy and costs," wrote Maude in response to a question from MP Michael Dugher.
Maude added that G-Cloud, launched in February, is expected to save £340m in procurement costs for the public sector.
In the ICT strategy launched in March 2011, the government committed to:
• Reduce the cost of "using" data centres by 35 per cent over five years;
• Move away from ‘big bang' solutions delivered by the same large suppliers to a larger number of smaller and agile projects;
• Publish details of government contracts, and reduce bureaucracy and costs, enhancing the ability of new providers and SMEs to win government ICT contracts;
• Share and re-use ICT solutions and services via a common ICT infrastructure, an ICT asset register and an online applications store;
• Using common and open standards, and creating cross-government standards on application programme interfaces.