Cloud shopping catalogue by November

By Julian Bajkowski

The federal government has moved one step closer to allowing agencies to access cloud computing services after the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) issued an invitation to industry to sign up to a panel of suppliers.

In a post to its official blog, AGIMO first assistant secretary agency services, John Sheridan, said that his agency hoped to launch a list of approved government cloud suppliers by the end of October 2012.

Vendor applications would be evaluated on “a first come, first processed approach”, Mr Sheridan said.

AGIMO clearly expects there to be significant interest from industry for the new cloud list, noting that there was a possibility of there being too many responses to process by the October target date.

“If this occurs, there will be a second tranche of consideration,” Mr Sheridan said.

Despite being rather awkwardly named the “Data Centre as a Service Multi Use List” or (DCaaS) (MUL), the initiative represents an important shift in thinking for government and industry in terms of how computing power, facilities and applications are supplied and bought.

Cloud computing has the potential to offer government big savings and productivity gains because it can deliver processing, storage and applications as a utility service thus avoiding more expensive capital investment in facilities and equipment that is not fully utilised.

In the private sector, a big appeal of the cloud model is that costs like annual software maintenance and support fees – which are effectively rent after an initial capital outlay – can be avoided because a usage based model is typically applied.

However, the cloud charging model presents a dilemma for traditional software suppliers who have for decades estimated their forward earnings based on annualised licence fees and multi-year contracts.

AGIMO said that its new cloud shopping catalogue “aims to establish a low value and low risk process for agencies to use when acquiring cloud services and cloud like services”.

It is also relatively low priced. “Work Orders through the DCaaS MUL must be for a maximum value of less than $80000 (GST inclusive) (including under more than one work order or contract if these are for the same Services) and must not exceed a maximum term of 12 months,” the agency said.

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