UK HOME OFFICE TO SPEND £450m ON PUBLIC CLOUD HOSTING SERVICES

Publishing Date: Dec 04, 2023

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Amazon Web Services has scooped up almost half a billion pounds of UK taxpayer cash in return for public cloud Hosting Services.

The contract – valued at £450,281,369 to be precise but there is no guarantee it'll reach that – runs for three years and kicks off today. Payment will be spread over the contract period, and the contract was a call-off from a framework agreement. This means that it could have been awarded after a mini-competition or been given directly to AWS.

The Register contacted the UK government early this morning to check how the award was made, but we have yet to receive a response.

The size of the award indicates the service will underpin the Home Office's digital operations, and it comes at an interesting time for AWS. The cloud giant and arch-rival Microsoft are under increasing scrutiny in the UK as the competition regulator examines just how level the playing field is.

Both businesses have won huge contracts in the British public sector in recent years. As an example, AWS was tapped to provide storage for secret government files, and a four-year hyperscale cloud deal was inked with the UK tax office – HMRC – in 2021.

The Home Office itself is no stranger to AWS, having signed a multimillion-pound services deal with the cloud vendor a few years ago. By our reckoning, that contract is coming to an end, and so here we are at the renewal stage.

How much longer the cloud party will go on for is open to conjecture. In October, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed it is going to inspect the health of the UK's cloud marketplace, currently dominated by AWS and Microsoft, which are estimated to account for up to 80 percent of the approximately £7.5 billion ($9.5 billion) local cloud infrastructure market.

As far as the contract starting today is concerned, it is not clear exactly what public cloud hosting services AWS will be providing, although the very specific amounts mentioned indicates that the department has a good idea of what it wants from the contract. Certainly, the amounts involved would indicate that a substantial amount of digital work in the department will be running on Amazon's infrastructure. ®

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