Ark scoops £700m to host ALL UK.gov's data centre needs

Everything will run from biz's bases, sources tell us


Exclusive Small data centre biz Ark has won a £700m four-year outsourcing megadeal with the Cabinet Office to supply the government's entire data centre estate via its Crown Hosting contract, multiple sources have told The Register.

El Reg understands that the estate will initially be run via the company's two data centres in Farnborough and Corsham, with the first services to go live shortly after the official announcement is made early next week.

The deal will boost Ark's revenue significantly. For its financial year 2014 ended June, the company recorded revenue of £59.1m, up 56 per cent on the previous year.

Gross profit was £5m, with the company recording an operating loss of £7.3m, according to its latest Companies House filing. Ark employs 31 staff.

Under the joint venture arrangement the Cabinet Office will own 25 per cent of the company, with Ark owning the rest.

The tender was advertised in July last year for the "installation, maintenance and operation of IT systems; Data Centre LAN services; Data Centre interoperability and the provision of facilities and equipment from at least two separate locations and available in multiple regions".

In 2012 central government spent £1.6bn on hosting. Liam Maxwell, government CTO, has described spending on this area as "one of the largest categories of technology spend in government", adding that hosting was one of the most expensive areas in public sector IT.

He said the government operates a "huge estate which is ripe for consolidation."

Last year Ark won a data centre contract with the Ministry of Defence. It also bagged a £11m contract for data centre services to the Ministry of Justice's Future IT Sourcing programme.

Ark's chief executive officer is Huw Owen, who joined the company in November 2012 following the "recapitalisation" of the company.

Non-executive directors on the firm's board include Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5), and Brian Fitzpatrick, CEO of Vodafone Carrier Services.

Ark declined to confirm the deal. ®

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