IBM talks up open cloud, downplays vendor lock-in as it signs public cloud framework with UK.gov

Now just AWS waiting in the wings under One Government Cloud policy


As predicted by El Reg, IBM has joined the growing band of mostly American vendors to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK government that defines discounts for public cloud sales to public sector buyers.

The framework forms part of the One Government Cloud initiative that involves the Cabinet Office, its buying arm Crown Commercial Services (CCS), and the Government Digital Service (GDS). Microsoft, Google, and local player UKCloud put pen to paper earlier this year and are now joined by Big Blue.

The One Government Cloud is a continuation of the Cloud First policy: public sector buyers have been asked to evaluate the cloud before they consider topping up their on-premise infrastructure.

According to IBM, the deal is all about breaking down the barriers to public sector cloud adoption, which isn't exactly a glowing review of the Digital Marketplace that GDS launched in 2012 under the G Cloud strategy.

Cue the prepared remark from IBM UK and Ireland veep for public sector, Janine Cook: "As the public sector continues its rapid digital transformation, government organisations crossing many industries need a reliable, resilient and secure technology environment to meet the needs of citizens and address complex security and regulatory requirement."

Not content to end it there, Cook added that an "open hybrid cloud platform" built and run by IBM can help the Brit public sector "develop new digital services and take the next step along their cloud journeys".

All central government organisations will be able to buy IBM's public cloud services on "preferential commercial terms" including local authorities, education establishments and the National Health Services, the company said.

IBM's pitch is that its infrastructure was built on a "foundation of open-source software" with over 190 cloud-native APIs from AI and blockchain to serverless and DevOps. "This will give organisations greater flexibility to access services without vendor lock in."

"Organisations [in the public sector] are encouraged to take steps to mitigate provider lock-in by choosing products that use open standards and formats, so they have control of their data," claimed IBM.

The proof will be in the pudding.

Services on offer include IBM's Multicloud Manager, Cloud Paks, Red Hat OpenShift, Cloud Garages, Power Virtual Servers on Cloud, VMware, and Cloud Migration Services.

IBM is an also-ran when it comes to the global public cloud sales stakes: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Alibaba accounted for 62 per cent of global cloud spend in Q1, according to Canalys.

In recent years, AWS has won multiple contracts with various government departments, including HMRC and the Home Office. TechMarketView analysis placed AWS as the fastest-growing software and IT services player in the UK.

AWS is to be the final vendor to sign an MoU with the Cabinet Office, though the company has so far resisted the temptation to comment on this. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Google recasts Anthos with hitch to AWS Outposts
    If at first you don't succeed, change names and try again

    Google Cloud's Anthos on-prem platform is getting a new home under the search giant’s recently announced Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) portfolio, where it will live on as a software-based competitor to AWS Outposts and Microsoft Azure Stack.

    Introduced last fall, GDC enables customers to deploy managed servers and software in private datacenters and at communication service provider or on the edge.

    Its latest update sees Google reposition Anthos on-prem, introduced back in 2020, as the bring-your-own-server edition of GDC. Using the service, customers can extend Google Cloud-style management and services to applications running on-prem.

    Continue reading
  • Azure issues not adequately fixed for months, complain bug hunters
    Redmond kicks off Patch Tuesday with a months-old flaw fix

    Updated Two security vendors – Orca Security and Tenable – have accused Microsoft of unnecessarily putting customers' data and cloud environments at risk by taking far too long to fix critical vulnerabilities in Azure.

    In a blog published today, Orca Security researcher Tzah Pahima claimed it took Microsoft several months to fully resolve a security flaw in Azure's Synapse Analytics that he discovered in January. 

    And in a separate blog published on Monday, Tenable CEO Amit Yoran called out Redmond for its lack of response to – and transparency around – two other vulnerabilities that could be exploited by anyone using Azure Synapse. 

    Continue reading
  • IBM ordered to hand over ex-CEO emails plotting cuts in older workers
    Infamous 'Dinobabies' memo comes back to haunt Big Blue again

    Updated In one of the many ongoing age discrimination lawsuits against IBM, Big Blue has been ordered to produce internal emails in which former CEO Ginny Rometty and former SVP of Human Resources Diane Gherson discuss efforts to get rid of older employees.

    IBM as recently as February denied any "systemic age discrimination" ever occurred at the mainframe giant, despite the August 31, 2020 finding by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that "top-down messaging from IBM’s highest ranks directing managers to engage in an aggressive approach to significantly reduce the headcount of older workers to make room for Early Professional Hires."

    The court's description of these emails between executives further contradicts IBM's assertions and supports claims of age discrimination raised by a 2018 report from ProPublica and Mother Jones, by other sources prior to that, and by numerous lawsuits.

    Continue reading
  • Makers of ad blockers and browser privacy extensions fear the end is near
    Overhaul of Chrome add-ons set for January, Google says it's for all our own good

    Special report Seven months from now, assuming all goes as planned, Google Chrome will drop support for its legacy extension platform, known as Manifest v2 (Mv2). This is significant if you use a browser extension to, for instance, filter out certain kinds of content and safeguard your privacy.

    Google's Chrome Web Store is supposed to stop accepting Mv2 extension submissions sometime this month. As of January 2023, Chrome will stop running extensions created using Mv2, with limited exceptions for enterprise versions of Chrome operating under corporate policy. And by June 2023, even enterprise versions of Chrome will prevent Mv2 extensions from running.

    The anticipated result will be fewer extensions and less innovation, according to several extension developers.

    Continue reading
  • Google has more reasons why it doesn't like antitrust law that affects Google
    It'll ruin Gmail, claims web ads giant

    Google has a fresh list of reasons why it opposes tech antitrust legislation making its way through Congress but, like others who've expressed discontent, the ad giant's complaints leave out mention of portions of the proposed law that address said gripes.

    The law bill in question is S.2992, the Senate version of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA), which is closer than ever to getting votes in the House and Senate, which could see it advanced to President Biden's desk.

    AICOA prohibits tech companies above a certain size from favoring their own products and services over their competitors. It applies to businesses considered "critical trading partners," meaning the company controls access to a platform through which business users reach their customers. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Meta in one way or another seemingly fall under the scope of this US legislation. 

    Continue reading
  • I was fired for blowing the whistle on cult's status in Google unit, says contractor
    The internet giant, a doomsday religious sect, and a lawsuit in Silicon Valley

    A former Google video producer has sued the internet giant alleging he was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle on a religious sect that had all but taken over his business unit. 

    The lawsuit demands a jury trial and financial restitution for "religious discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and related causes of action." It alleges Peter Lubbers, director of the Google Developer Studio (GDS) film group in which 34-year-old plaintiff Kevin Lloyd worked, is not only a member of The Fellowship of Friends, the exec was influential in growing the studio into a team that, in essence, funneled money back to the fellowship.

    In his complaint [PDF], filed in a California Superior Court in Silicon Valley, Lloyd lays down a case that he was fired for expressing concerns over the fellowship's influence at Google, specifically in the GDS. When these concerns were reported to a manager, Lloyd was told to drop the issue or risk losing his job, it is claimed. 

    Continue reading
  • End of the road for biz living off free G Suite legacy edition
    Firms accustomed to freebies miffed that web giant's largess doesn't last

    After offering free G Suite apps for more than a decade, Google next week plans to discontinue its legacy service – which hasn't been offered to new customers since 2012 – and force business users to transition to a paid subscription for the service's successor, Google Workspace.

    "For businesses, the G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available after June 27, 2022," Google explains in its support document. "Your account will be automatically transitioned to a paid Google Workspace subscription where we continue to deliver new capabilities to help businesses transform the way they work."

    Small business owners who have relied on the G Suite legacy free edition aren't thrilled that they will have to pay for Workspace or migrate to a rival like Microsoft, which happens to be actively encouraging defectors. As noted by The New York Times on Monday, the approaching deadline has elicited complaints from small firms that bet on Google's cloud productivity apps in the 2006-2012 period and have enjoyed the lack of billing since then.

    Continue reading
  • UK competition watchdog seeks to make mobile browsers, cloud gaming and payments more competitive
    Investigation could help end WebKit monoculture on iOS devices

    The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said it intends to launch an investigation of Apple's and Google's market power with respect to mobile browsers and cloud gaming, and to take enforcement action against Google for its app store payment practices.

    "When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards," said Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, in a statement. "As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice."

    The decision to open a formal investigation follows the CMA's year-long study of the mobile ecosystem. The competition watchdog's findings have been published in a report that concludes Apple and Google have a duopoly that limits competition.

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft pledges neutrality on unions for Activision staff
    Now can we just buy them, please?

    Microsoft isn't wasting time trying to put Activision Blizzard's problems in the rearview mirror, announcing a labor neutrality agreement with the game maker's recently-formed union.

    Microsoft will be grappling with plenty of issues at Activision, including unfair labor lawsuits, sexual harassment allegations and toxic workplace claims. Activision subsidiary Raven Software, developers on the popular Call of Duty game series, recently voted to organize a union, which Activision entered into negotiations with only a few days ago.

    Microsoft and the Communication Workers of America (CWA), which represents Raven Software employees, issued a joint statement saying that the agreement is a ground-breaking one that "will benefit Microsoft and its employees, and create opportunities for innovation in the gaming sector." 

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft fixes under-attack Windows zero-day Follina
    Plus: Intel, AMD react to Hertzbleed data-leaking holes in CPUs

    Patch Tuesday Microsoft claims to have finally fixed the Follina zero-day flaw in Windows as part of its June Patch Tuesday batch, which included security updates to address 55 vulnerabilities.

    Follina, eventually acknowledged by Redmond in a security advisory last month, is the most significant of the bunch as it has already been exploited in the wild.

    Criminals and snoops can abuse the remote code execution (RCE) bug, tracked as CVE-2022-30190, by crafting a file, such as a Word document, so that when opened it calls out to the Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool, which is then exploited to run malicious code, such spyware and ransomware. Disabling macros in, say, Word won't stop this from happening.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022