Public-sector cloud panel appointed

Major vendors represented on panel; some excluded

The head of the Department of Internal Affairs’ all-of-government operational computing unit, Government Technology Services, expects “robust debate” and valuable conclusions from a supplier panel chosen to advise public-sector organisations on cloud computing trends.

Members of the panel will be Core Technology, Datacom, Datacraft, Fujitsu, Gen-i, Google, Microsoft and Unisys.

DIA chose the panel from 36 respondents to a request for expressions of interest, put out earlier this year.

The panel, referred to by GTS’s Adam Stapleton in an energetic debate on public-sector cloud computing at last month’s Future Perfect conference, will work with representatives of a group of interested government agencies.

Stephen Crombie, general manager of GTS, says the exercise is separate from the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) project, advertised earlier this month, though both involve a group of agencies interested in shared, remote provision of computing services.

Both are part of the government’s overall Common ICT Capability work programme to improve value for money of ICT expenditure and improve service delivery, Crombie says; but “the initiatives are run as separate projects, as they address different agency requirements.”

The IaaS working group represents agencies who wish to “actively explore the prospect of an IaaS model for government; [and/or] obtain a better understanding of the operational, commercial and other potential benefits that an IaaS model could deliver.” says the IaaS “notice of intention”.

These agencies have a particular interest in shared processing, which may not necessarily involve “cloud computing” as commonly understood, says a DIA spokesperson.

The just-appointed supplier panel is seen rather as helping deployment of cloud computing “as a concept”. It will consider such contentious topics as the risks of putting data and processing overseas and guidelines and other measures that can be put in place to minimise this.

Members of the supplier panel will nominate a representative who will be required to attend, in person, a four-hour workshop in Wellington every month, and allocate “time to respond to emails and collate relevant information from within their company”. Panel members will not be paid for their contribution, DIA says.

Each chosen member of the panel “brings excellent thought leadership in cloud computing trends, local expertise, a sound understanding of the policy drivers unique to the public sector and a pragmatic understanding of the commercial aspects of cloud computing”, says Crombie. “I am sure there will be some robust debate leading to sound guidance for New Zealand public sector agencies.”

The absence of HP and IBM from the panel has surprised some, as The Dominion Post's Tom Pullar-Strecker has pointed out.

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Tags supplier panelgovernment technology servicesSpecial IDcloud computingDepartment of Internal Affairs

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