UK Government G-Cloud
The UK Government G-Cloud is an initiative targeted at easing procurement by public sector bodies in departments of the United Kingdom Government of commodity information technology services that use cloud computing. The G-Cloud consists of:
- A series of framework agreements with suppliers, from which public sector organisations can call off services without needing to run a full tender or competition procurement process
- An online store - the "CloudStore" that allows public sector bodies to search for services that are covered by the G-Cloud frameworks
The service began in 2012, and had several calls for contracts. By May 2013 there were over 700 suppliers - over 80% of which are small and medium enterprises. £18.2 million (US$27.7 million) of sales were made by April 2013. With the adoption of Cloud First policy in UK in late February 2014  the sales have continued to grow, reportedly hitting over £50M in February 2014. These are based on procurement of some 1200 providers and 13000 services, including both cloud services and (professional) specialist services as of November 2013. 
Cloud computing caused a step change in the way information systems can be delivered. Given this, the UK Government initiated the G-Cloud programme of work to deliver computing based capability (from fundamental resources such as storage and processing to full fledged applications) using cloud computing.
G-Cloud established framework agreements with a large number of service providers; and lists those services on a publicly accessible portal known as the CloudStore. Public Sector organisations can call off the services listed on CloudStore without needing to go through a full tender process.
After plans were announced in March 2011, the government aimed to shift 50% of new government IT spending to cloud based services by 2015. Furthermore the government established a "Cloud First" approach to IT, mandating that central government purchases IT services through the cloud unless it can be proven that an alternative is more cost effective.
In June 2013 G-Cloud moved to become part of Government Digital Service (GDS) with the director Denise McDonagh moving to be CTO of the Home Office. Tony Singleton, COO of GDS, took over as director of G-Cloud.
Following hints by the head of the programme, GDS chief operating officer Tony Singleton, that the call for G-Cloud 4 would be open by the "end of July", the G-Cloud 4 call opened on the 6 August 2013. The blog entry also stated that the tendering process has been improved, with the use of the Government Procurement Service.
The press noted the name of the G-Cloud call for framework agreements moved from suffixing the call with Roman numerals (G-Cloud I, II and III) to using the Arabic numeral 4.
Suppliers define the service that they are offering as part of the framework agreement, and those details will be made available in the CloudStore. These details include such things as Business Impact Level (e.g. IL2) that the service is accredited for, and how users will be on-boarded and off-boarded. In particular is the requirement to enable users to leave the service (off-board) if they wish to move to a different provider of the same service.
Services are classified into:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) - provisioning of fundamental computing servcies (processing, storage etc.) for the user to run arbitrary software
- Platform as a service (PaaS) - provisioning of platform services to enable a user to deploy user-built or acquired applications
- Software as a service (SaaS) - provisioning of the provider's application as a cloud service
- SCS - Specialist Cloud Services - typically consultancy in the cloud domain
The CloudStore is a public accessible, searchable database of services offered under G-Cloud. The first service was offered in February 2012. Following criticism of the original CloudStore interface, CloudStore was substantially reworked by May 2013. Services can be searched by free text search as well as by continual narrowing of the field using various search criteria such as business impact level supported, cost, deployment model (e.g. Public Cloud, Private Cloud).
The CloudStore procurement processes handle selection and procurement of services. They do not replace internal processes for securing funds. However, assuming funds are available, procurement from CloudStore does not require a full tender or mini-competition.
Services offered on the CloudStore can be accredited by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) Pan Government Accreditation Service as appropriate for use across government for data up to a specified Business Impact Level. As of July 2013[update] only 72 services achieved Pan Government Accreditation out of about 7,000 available on CloudStore.
The CloudStore web site states "Any services procured which have not achieved pan government accreditation are purchased at the risk to the consumer." It is the responsibility of the purchasing organisation to confirm that the systems and processes in use by the provider are appropriate for the Impact Level of the data being held in the service.
- Margaret Rouse (October 2012). "G-cloud (government cloud)". Search Cloud Computing. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Peter Middleton (6 August 2013). "G-Cloud 4 Now Open". G-Cloud blog. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Public sector told to buy IT through the cloud as G-Cloud iii goes live". Public Service. 7 May 2013. Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Gary Flood (22 April 2013). "U.K. Government CloudStore Sales Spike 300% In March". Information Week. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- The G-Cloud Programme
- "UK government may miss cloud computing targets". BBC News. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Gov tech buyers told to buy from CloudStore first
- Government Adopts Cloud First Strategy As G-Cloud 3 Goes Live
- G-Cloud director stands down as programme moves to GDS
- Lonely G-Cloud wanders in search of crowd o'er UK.gov vales and hills
- Tom Brewster (27 November 2012). "Amazon And Google Denied G-Cloud Entry ‘As Clouds Not Government Ready’". Tech Week Europe. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- G-Cloud – ready for the next phase
- "Applying to G-Cloud", G-Cloud web site, 19 August 2013, retrieved 26 September 2013
- Contracts Finder, UK Government
- "G-Cloud Services V". 10 April 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- What did the Romans ever do for G-Cloud?
- HMG IA Standard No. 1 - Technical Risk Assessment
- "Cloudstore: Government launches public sector app store". BBC News. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Peter Middleton (4 May 2013). "CloudStore". CloudStore blog. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "CloudStore". Official web site. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "How to buy". G-Cloud web site. UK Government. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Pan Government Accreditation Service, CESG
- "Pan Government Accreditation status", G-Cloud web site, 23 July 2013, retrieved 26 September 2013