Decision Maker: Leader of the Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Cabinet Member is recommended to:
1. Authorise the award of contract to Strategic Blue Limited 1 June 2023 to 31 May 2027 for a sum not exceeding £4,500,000. relating to cloud-based infrastructure services.
2. Authorise the Executive Director of Corporate Services to vary this Contract, subject to consultation with the Director of Law and Governance (or authorised officer’s).
Operationally AWS offers best value and continuity of service to the council with specific benefits including; high availability server capacity, modern server technology, switching off servers when not in use to reduce cost, a level of disaster recovery and improved business continuity.
The Council is therefore provided with an effective ICT service which offers:
· Cost savings: Eliminates the need to purchase and maintain physical hardware, reducing capital and operational expenses.
· Scalability: Allows you to quickly and easily scale your infrastructure to meet changing demands, both down (instantly reducing costs) and up.
· Agility: Gives the ability to quickly test new technologies
· Improved disaster recovery: Provides built-in disaster recovery and business continuity features, reducing the risk of data loss and downtime.
· Increased efficiency: Many IT processes can be automated, freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks.
· Better security: Cloud providers offer a high level of security, including data encryption and multi-factor authentication, reducing the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks, which would be difficult to match within the Council’s own data centre without significant and ongoing costs.
· Sustainability: Providers use energy-efficient hardware, reducing the carbon footprint of their operations. AWS use renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, to power their data centres. (In January it was announced that Amazon set a new record for most renewable energy purchased by a Single Company). The Council does not need to buy redundant hardware that won’t be used.
The current contract expires on 31st May 2023 therefore a new contract is required in order to continue use of AWS cloud-based services.
The recommended option is to continue the cloud-based services but also enhancing our ability to manage the environment better financially by doing this via a finance operations (finOps) partner. This partner will ensure that we are getting the best value for money and adopting different techniques for what we need, unlike other organisations in this sector they do not charge on top of what we would have paid directly to AWS. After running a procurement process under the GCloud 13 framework Strategic Blue Limited are our preferred supplier.
This is considered to be the preferred procurement route, as opposed to renewing the contract via any third party, as it removes any handling charges or mark-up that may be applied by a third party.
The contract for cloud-based services is based on a direct award of contract via the G Cloud 13 Framework Agreement and is made in accordance with the procedures for awarding a direct call-off.
A soft market test was performed, this looked at replacing the existing hardware used by the Council. This was broadly comparable in terms of total cost of ownership, however the following points were noted
· the amount of hardware required will decrease over the next couple of years as more line of business systems are moved to the cloud which would represent expenditure that is unnecessary
· the high cost of energy for local data centres
· the need for energy security
· the increased resilience from running cloud services
· the target of moving the Council to net zero
The conclusion was that the best option is to continue with the current approach and to move the remaining services into the cloud.
There are other suppliers of cloud services but the Council already has a presence within AWS and it would cost more and take a significantly longer time to move those services to another provider with an impact on service delivery and service availability during that time.
There were none.
There were none.
Publication date: 17/05/2023
Date of decision: 17/05/2023
Effective from: 23/05/2023