Category Archives: procurement

Bulgarian gov writes open source into law

Yellow road sign with a blue sky and white clouds: open sourceThe Bulgarian government has launched a number of amendments to the Electronic Governance Act which requires all code written for the government to be open source.

The announcement was made public through Bozhidar Bozhanov’s blog, who is currently acting as an advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister who is responsible for e-governance systems and policies. The new policy doesn’t mean the entire country will be moving towards Linux, though it is one of the first examples of a government putting the concept of open source into legislation. Article 58.a of the act states:

“When the subject of the contract includes the development of computer programs: (a) computer programs must meet the criteria for open source software. (b) All copyright and related rights on the relevant computer programs, their source code, the design of interfaces and databases which are subject to the order should arise for the principal in full, without limitations in the use, modification and distribution. (c) Development should be done in the repository maintained by the Agency in accordance with Art.7cpt.18.”

The amendment will not impact current contracts, or insist on the major vendors give away the source of their products, but only focuses on custom written code. When the government procures IT services or software which means custom code will be written specifically for the project, the act ensures this code will be outsourced for the rest of the country to use.

“After all, it’s paid by tax-payers money and they should both be able to see it and benefit from it,” said Bozhanov on the blog. “A new government agency is tasked with enforcing the law and with setting up the public repository (which will likely be mirrored to GitHub).

“The fact that something is in the law doesn’t mean it’s a fact, though. The programming community should insist on it being enforced. At the same time some companies will surely try to circumvent it.”

Our cloud ambitious are frustrated by barriers, enterprises tell Hitachi

Network servers

An overwhelming majority of enterprise decision makers want cloud services, but practically all of them are blocked from adopting it, according to new figures released by Hitachi Data System (HDS).

HDS recently announced the results of a study the IT growth issues in UK enterprises. In the research it surveyed 200 UK IT decision makers at companies with over 1000 employees in a bid to discover the issues that cause “innovation inertia”.

HDS reported that a large majority (81%) of IT leaders say their companies aren’t set up for the digital age. It also established two other pieces of evidence for a growing clamour for cloud services, with 75% of IT leaders complaining that they can’t make informed investment decisions and 90% of the study group confession that their organisation is at risk of being outpaced by digitally-born brands.

However, HDS has released statistics to BusinessCloudNews that reveal that even more of the study group are prevented from applying cloud solutions to these problems, with 86% of respondents saying they experience barriers to cloud adoption. The main blockages, according to Hitachi, are security concerns (reported by 50% of the study group), data protection concerns (39%), budget constraints (28%) and legacy technology restrictions (20%).

“It’s not surprising that IT leaders feel concerned,” said Bob Plumridge, EMEA CTO at HDS, “the digital evolution feels scary because they are having to throw out every theory and intuition they have.”

In response HDS has a launched additions to its flash portfolio in order to improve the performance of cloud infrastructure and remove any performance doubts from nervous cloud buyers. The new offerings include an all-flash Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) F Series, enhanced models of the Hitachi VSP G series offerings, next-generation Hitachi flash modules with inline data compression (FMD DC2) and enhanced Hitachi Automation Director and Data Centre Analytics tools for improved response times and greater effective capacity.

Hidden cost of public sector cloud over £300m a year, says research

The UK’s public sector is spending an extra £300 million a year on maintaining cloud services and on hidden costs associated with their cloud computing projects, according to Sungard Availability Services.

The claim follows an independent study, commissioned by Sungard, that questioned 45 senior IT decision makers in the UK in public sector organisations with more than 500 employees. The average individual cloud spend of the study group, in 2014/15, was £390,000.

Sungard’s analysis of the research appears in a report, Digital by Design: Avoiding the Cloud Hangover in the UK Public Sector, which claims that unexpected costs and increasing complexity will create a ‘cloud hangover’.

The main revelation of the research is that 82 per cent UK public sector organisations (according to the study group of 45 decision makers) have encountered some form of unplanned cloud spend. The average yearly cost of maintaining cloud services (among the study group) was £139,000. A further £258,000 was spent by each, over the last five years, on unforeseen costs. External maintenance costs for hardware accounted for 41 per cent of these unexpected costs, while systems integration was the other major contributor to bill shock, accounting for 30 per cent of the unbudgeted expenditure.

According to the report, 42 per cent of UK public sector organisations use the cloud to lower the work load for their ‘IT team’, while 47 per cent expect the cloud to reduce IT costs. Some 43 per cent of the public sector’s cloud customers are allegedly struggling with the costs of personnel needed to manage cloud deployments.

Roughly half (53 per cent) of all UK public sector organisations said cost savings were the key driver for adopting cloud services, but 33 per cent believe this has not been achieved. Over half (55 per cent) of all UK public sector organisations (claims the report) complain that the cloud has increased the complexity of their IT environment and 71 per cent say that cloud computing added a new set of IT challenges. Achieving interoperability between existing IT and new cloud platforms was the most frequently mentioned challenge, cited by 44 per cent of the survey group.

“There is no silver bullet for adopting cloud computing,” said Keith Tilley, executive VP of Global Sales and Customer Services Management at Sungard Availability Services, who called for a case by case review.

Ministry of Justice has made no savings at all from cloud strategy claims report

The UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has saved nothing from its cloud strategy as the department still buys 2.3 million licenses, reports The Register. According to the report, a government insider said Oracle is “extreme in its defence of existing licensing” and “stopping any flexibility.”

A freedom of information (FOI) request forced the MoJ to reveal that it buys 53 separate Oracle products including 961,000 internet expense licences, 250,000 licenses for each of three human resources systems and 100,000 payroll licences.

With 3,000 staff at the MoJ’s headquarters, that would average around 767 licenses for each employee. If all staff employed by the MoJ’s partner agencies were considered, then 33 Oracle licences have been bought for each of a total of 70,000 staff.

The MoJ transferred its people, services and IT to the Cabinet Office-run shared services centre in November last year. The FOI response revealed there had been no licensing cost savings yet to be associated with the move, since the licences are held in perpetuity and do not expire. The Technology Oracle Support and Maintenance Shared Services Oracle Support contracts will expire in April 2016, which could save £100m over the lifetime of the shared services centre contract.

The MoJ has refused to disclose the total it is spending on Oracle software, claiming this is a matter of commercial confidentiality.

The MoJ needs to review its use of Oracle, said analyst Clive Longbottom, senior researcher at Quocrica. “If the ministry being held to ransom by Oracle, through the systems integrators and consultants that the government insists on using, then it’s time to insist on a replacement database,” said Longbottom.

The analyst argued that Microsoft or IBM would be ‘more than willing’ to help the MoJ to move them over to their systems. A more nuanced data storage platform using a non-relational database alongside Hadoop could save them a lot on Oracle licences. “Oracle fights to the death to look after its licence revenues,” said Longbottom. “It is still in a legal battle with Rimini Street over how the third party support vendor manages Oracle licensing.”