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Digital public sector news, research & engagement

Friday 2 March 2012Author: Helen Olsen Bedford

Cloud Store's first sale

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has become the first public sector organisation to test the brave new world of the government's CloudStore.

The MCA's James Findlay confirmed on Friday that this first contract was let through the framework within 24 hours. Details of the prcise nature and value of the contract are not yet available, however it has been confirmed that the contract was not procured via the online store - as this capability has yet to be developed.

A post on the G-Cloud blog explains that the store is a work in progress yet makes no mention of the development of online purchasing. Instead, prospective buyers are told to contact their 'personal shopper', Michael Bateman, via email (

On Thursday the CloudStore went down briefly, causing a flurry of consternation. Howver, a further post on the G-Cloud team blog explains:

"The current version of CloudStore was developed for free and we are currently paying for hosting charges on a pay as you go basis and the accompanying minimum maintenance. The [Microsoft] Azure install we are using does not provide multi service deployment. This is because the CloudStore is not [a] critical government system. As a result it is unlikely that we would ever pay the premium that would be needed to guarantee "five nines" up time for the site as it simply isn't a wise way to spend scarce resources. Obviously this will be under continuous review."

The fallback position in the case of service failure, as with wanting to buy a product in the catalogue, is to email the G-Cloud team.

The CloudStore has been met with great enthusiasm and widely applauded. It has the potential to fundamentally change the procurement of government technology. But while engagement and promotional work - such as yesterday's valuable 'buycamp' - is clearly well underway no confirmation has yet been given as to the direction of future development and iterations of this agile project.