The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has published a new version of its procurement framework with Crown Hosting for data centre services to the public sector.
Crown Hosting II is set to run for seven years from March 2023 with an estimated value of up to £250 million.
It is being focused on high security purposes reflecting the trend in which large volumes of less critical data and applications are being moved to public cloud services.
The contract will remain with Crown Hosting Data Centres – a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Ark Data Centres – with no prior call for competition as technical reasons preclude any competition.
The notice says CCS is planning to begin negotiations with Crown Hosting on details of the new deal now it has completed a review of its requirements.
It points to the Government’s ‘cloud first’ policy, which directs public sector organisations to migrate their data centre workloads towards public cloud services.
“The net effect of this policy is an overall diminishing of potential data centre business,” it says, “especially that with a security classification of OFFICIAL, and so a greater proportion of continued data centre requirements are those that are critical to the national interest or have higher security classifications.”
This leads to requirements including: very high physical, operational and electronic security for all classifications and across all threat levels; mandated provision of facilities with maximum lead times of one month for multiple rack spaces and six months for multiple large data halls; and the ability to terminate licences without penalty with as little as 30 days notice.
It also says the seven-year framework is more appropriate than the more common four-year agreement as the latter would be insufficient for a large data centre relocation programme.
The framework was set up in 2015, initially with the Government Digital Service as the public sector custodian, and extended in 2018 after its transfer to CCS.