UK gov departments spend £236,000 average a year on legacy storage

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Nexenta urges radical shift to open source

Although the Coalition government has been caterwauling about a shift in thinking to IT procurement, the nature of the contract cabal means many departments are locked in to premium legacy brands, on average spending £236,000 each every year.

Nexenta Systems put out a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request which turned out a significant majority of local and central government departments are paying for their storage with brands like IBM, NetApp, HP, HDS, and EMC.

Nexenta points out that the government has been yelling from the rooftops about cutting costs and creating hybrid models of IT where open source is brought in to sort out the country’s collective books. Resellers are not helping.

The FOI request asked 48 local and central government departments about their buying habits. 44 responded. Among the findings was the revelation that one department was paying as much as £1.8 million annually on storage alone. On average, the departments are buying 101 terabytes of storage every year.

The single cost per terabyte, on average, is roughly £2,000. But one department is said to be spending almost £5,000 per terabyte.

Resellers with access to government spending, according to Nexenta’s findings, are pushing legacy systems that deliver high-margins and returns.

Nexenta’s CEO, Evan Powell, said he found it incredible thinking how much taxpayer money is being spent on expensive storage, due to what he calls a combination ofvendor lock-in and general apathy.

“It is sadly ironic that open source based storage is growing massively faster outside of the UK government despite the government’s proclaimed preference for open solutions,” Powell said.

So, then, why shouldn’t resellers continue to pitch legacy storage systems? According to Powell, it is because open source based storage will undoubtedly make strides in the years to come. Nexenta cites organisations like Korea Telecom, the US Army, Cisco, and VMWare, where its own open source offerings have cut costs and improved flexibility. Resellers who don’t have such strategies in place will “face a rude awakening”.

“Resellers need to have an open source storage strategy or risk being quickly shut out of deals,” Powell said. “What’s more, resellers that make the investment in providing more savings and flexibility will find those investments paying off”.

In what may be reassuring news for SMEs targeting government contracts, Francis Maude recently told parliament that during the first round of G-Cloud procurement, there were over 600 expressions of interest.

“The government procurement service subsequently awarded framework agreements to around 250 suppliers,” Maude said. “74 percent of whom have identified themselves as SMEs.”

“The frameworks were the most SME-friendly in UK government history,” Maude claimed.

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