11 Nov 2022

Taking a 'cloud appropriate' approach through hybrid multi-cloud to deliver innovation in Public Service (Guest blog from Nutanix)

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Author: Andrew Puddephatt, Director - UK Public Sector, Nutanix

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Cloud First policy in UK public sector, it is worth reflecting on how successful we have been in adopting cloud computing and how we can accelerate away from legacy towards modern, efficient and more sustainable IT platforms.

Cloud First was introduced by GDS in 2013 and has been the topic of much discussion and debate in our market for the past decade. The policy was reassessed in 2019 and remained a flagship technology policy under which public sector organisations should evaluate potential cloud solutions before any other option.

Cloud adoption in UK public sector

Whilst there are no definitive figures to confirm this, it does seem anecdotally that the uptake of public cloud services, though undoubtedly significant, has not been as rapid as expected and the three main hyperscalers are now anticipating slowing growth or even decline in the coming year, primarily fuelled by cost concerns in the market. That said, there have certainly been many successful public cloud migration projects across all verticals, but a recent study by Vanson Bourne indicated that 42% of respondents in UK public sector used just one cloud service provider, 27% used two and 33% did not utilise public cloud at all. The main barriers to greater adoption listed in the survey will be familiar to all of us - legacy technology constraints, security, cost and skills.

How are we defining cloud?

Perhaps one of the other inhibitors to greater adoption has been the actual definition or perception of cloud computing. In the original GDS guidance cloud meant public cloud rather than private, hybrid or community - the two have in many instances become synonymous but potentially a migration to public cloud is simply a step too far for many public sector bodies. 

However, now there is a growing recognition that one cloud platform will not meet all the needs of an organisation so a more 'cloud appropriate' approach should be taken where cloud is viewed as an operating model rather than a destination.

This has brought about the shift toward hybrid and multi-cloud as preferred strategies across UK public sector. In the aforementioned study, 75% of respondents stated that they expected to be running a hybrid multi-cloud environment within one to three years.

To achieve a true hybrid multi-cloud platform, we need to see more collaboration from suppliers to simplify the way in which public sector organisations can adopt this model.

Moving to hybrid multi-cloud as an operating model

So where do we go from here and what options are available to public sector bodies? The challenges of legacy technology, security, cost constraints and skills are still prevalent. To achieve a true hybrid multi-cloud platform, we need to see more collaboration from suppliers to simplify the way in which public sector organisations can adopt this model.

Crown Hosting are leading the way here by offering a proof of concept environment as a stepping stone to cloud. In collaboration with Trust Systems and Nutanix, Crown Hosting are able to offer a private cloud environment in their data centres with the capability to migrate workloads and applications into any cloud over time as appropriate.

Taking such an approach will enable public sector organisations to accelerate their adoption of cloud as an operating model and achieve the service improvements, innovation, cost efficiencies and sustainability goals that we are all striving for.

Hybrid cloud sets businesses on the path to the cloud edge

#CloudFuture Guest blog by RedHat

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Chris Hazell

Chris Hazell

Programme Manager - Cloud, Tech and Innovation, techUK

Sue Daley

Sue Daley

Director, Technology and Innovation

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK