I’d like to say it’s been a busy few months between the announcement of the Digital Alpha investment and our success on the latest G-Cloud framework – but in reality, it has ALWAYS been busy since we started out all those years ago!
The main thing that keeps us busy is keeping pace with the evolving needs of our customers and partners. We’ve learnt to become agile and adaptable – and that means a constant cycle of prioritising and re-prioritising based on the reality of what our customers actually need – not just what we think they need. Thankfully, the G-Cloud framework – and its regular iterations – makes it possible for us to adapt our services and introduce innovation that our customers can tap into.
In the following few years, we adapted. We moved from a one-size-fits-all cloud to multi-cloud in recognition that organisations need different tools for different jobs. We created a diverse public cloud offering including; cloud hosting platforms based on traditional technologies such as VMware and Oracle, as well as cloud native platforms based on Microsoft Azure, OpenStack and Red Hat OpenShift (Docker/Kubernetes).
We focused on building a platform that helps organisations simplify the complexity of running multiple technologies (#1 and #2 shown below), a platform that provides One Portal, One Network, One Service Desk, One Invoice and One Governance-wrapper. Easy to adopt, easy to use, easy to leave – is still the mantra today, as it was when we started out in 2011.
And with G-Cloud 11, we’ve adapted further still. Fuelled by the investment by Digital Alpha, and our closer collaboration with Cisco and other leading technology providers, we’ve expanded our portfolio of capabilities that serve to help resource-constrained organisations reduce the time, cost and risk of their digital transformation.
It starts with making our expertise available to our customers – at every stage of their cloud journey. We’ve always provided award-winning customer service for customers that are on our platform, but now we’ve created a number of packages (#3 in the diagram below) that enable customers to tap into our skills and experience earlier in their project – from assessment services, understanding the art of the possible and creating the plan for cloud adoption – to migration services, training and on-boarding to execute the plan. We offer a unique approach that recognises that your destination won’t always be UKCloud – so whether you need some co-location in Crown Hosting, some of the unique capabilities provided on Microsoft Azure or a SaaS offering, or anything in between – UKCloud and our community of specialist partners are here to help.
Second, we recognise that you need more than just infrastructure to simplify your journey to cloud. So, we’ve created a marketplace of specialist 3rd party software (#4 in the diagram below) that addresses the common challenges that you might encounter when you start to consume cloud. Let me share just one example. Monitoring the performance of a traditional monolithic stack is quite straightforward. But when you start using cloud native technologies such as containers – application performance management (APM) becomes much more challenging. Thankfully, Cisco AppDynamics is a great solution for this problem. It’s built from the ground up to provide unique levels of insight and instrumentation that makes it easier for you to understand the performance of your multi-cloud applications. And there are many more examples, from Keyless Encryption with Hytrust, through Cyber Risk Assessment with XQCyber to AI Ops with Moogsoft.
Third, for the first time, we’re stepping up to provide end-to-end solutions (#5 in the diagram below) – not just the components that enable you to create your own solutions. We’ve recognised that whilst many organisations prefer to dis-aggregate and manage multiple suppliers, some prefer ‘one throat to choke’. And given that we’re already a trusted provider to public sector, we can be that ‘throat’! A couple of examples, based on the work we’ve been doing with Genomics England, we’ve created a Hadoop-based big data solution in partnership with a specialist provider called Blue Metrix. This is available both via G-Cloud 11 and the Data and Application Solutions framework. And based on the Cyber Security platform we run internally, we’ve recently delivered Cyber Security Operations services into a large Central Government department – and G-Cloud 11 makes this “CloudSOC” service (in partnership with e2e Assure) available to the entire public sector.
Finally, UKCloud has always been known for the award-winning public cloud platform that we’ve created within the government-grade Crown Campus. Now, we’re able to take our public cloud architecture and deploy that as a private cloud – in your datacentre, in Crown Hosting or in our own facilities. This follows the announcement at CyberUK 2018 that we’re able to build and operate high assurance clouds for even more secure and sensitive workloads. And this year, we’ve delivered our first services that span between our own platform and 3rd party platforms such as Microsoft Azure. From multi-cloud to multi-classification and multi-deployment (#6 in the diagram below) – we’re providing choices and options that you can’t get from anyone else.
Now you can see what has been keeping us busy! Our portfolio now looks more like this:
I’m really proud of the UKCloud team and our partners for mobilising so quickly to bring these new capabilities to G-Cloud. And I’m really excited about how these capabilities genuinely address the common challenges that resource-constrained organisations in Public Sector and similar regulated industries are facing that inhibits their adoption of cloud. As Simon said in his blog, we’re merely at the ‘end of the beginning’ – the best of digital transformation is yet to come – and UKCloud is ready to make that transformation happen – cheaper, faster and safer.