The G-Cloud framework is a procurement initiative projected to save the UK government £ 120 million by 2014. Developed in only four weeks, the CloudStore offers more than 1,700 cloud-based products and services from more than 250 vendors.
The G-Cloud Programme site explains, "Government is committed to the adoption of cloud computing and delivering computing resources. The G-Cloud is an iterative programme of work to achieve this, which will deliver fundamental changes in the way the public sector procures and operates ICT."
In the G-Cloud CloudStore, UK government agencies will find Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Specialist services, such as configuration, management and monitoring. Companies that successfully bid to be part of the G-Cloud catalog are already sending out announcements about their CloudStore offerings.
Jadu, a UK-based Web Experience Management supplier, announced that its digital forms and data capture solution, Jadu Universe Forms, and its mobile web application network, Weejot, are available in the G-Cloud app store.
Rackspace Hosting was also selected to be a CloudStore vendor. "Rackspace applauds government recognition of the cloud model’s ability to disaggregate computing structures and engineer more flexibility into the public sector IT framework," the Rackspace announcement says. "The G-Cloud framework team has been clever and planned for hybrid hosting environments to be used while the platform in its entirety stabilizes."
Huddle, which has been nipping at the heels of SharePoint recently, is also a CloudStore player. According to Huddle, its framework is already used by 75% of central UK government, and numerous local council and NHS (National Health Service) organizations.
Not to be left out, Microsoft will provide a package of public cloud online services, which includes Windows Azure, Office 365, CRM Online and Microsoft Consulting Services. Many of the company's UK SME partners are also in the CloudStore.
The full list of suppliers is available for download from the G-Cloud site.
The CloudStore launched this month is considered to be a first version, alpha-like release. Content from suppliers still needs to be added to the site in the product description fields, and improvements are planned to make price comparison across equivalent products easier. Even the feedback form is glitchy right now. The next version of the G-Cloud framework is planned to be more dynamic, bringing new services or suppliers on board monthly.