UKCloud Launches Sovereign Microsoft Azure Hybrid Offering for UK Public Sector

14 February 2018 – UKCloud, the easy to adopt, easy to use and easy to leave assured cloud services company today announced that it is collaborating with Microsoft and Cisco to accelerate the adoption of cloud services across the UK Public Sector. As part of the new agreement, UKCloud will combine Microsoft’s Azure Stack hybrid cloud offering with its own accredited, government-grade platform, powered by Cisco’s world-class integrated infrastructure.

UKCloud’s delivery, which can be extended via Azure stack into the same data centre campuses as Crown Hosting will create new hybrid opportunities for the UK Public Sector. All this will be wholly sovereign and operated by UK security cleared experts. This will allow Public Sector workloads, with specific needs for data sovereignty and privacy, to enjoy the innovation of Azure on the UKCloud platform.

“As a big advocate of cloud, I have always appreciated the role that it has played in helping us to modernise our infrastructure, implement new clinical technology and enhance our overall flexibility and productivity,” commented Joanna Smith, CIO at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, which is a customer of both Microsoft and UKCloud. “In many ways we have been a few steps ahead of other organisations, many of which are still struggling with complex legacy-based technology estates and still retain concerns about the move to the cloud. This collaboration between Microsoft and UKCloud should help dispel many of their concerns – with the enhanced assurance, UK data sovereignty and direct connection to government networks, like N3 and HSCN, that it offers.”

Microsoft’s strategy of consistency between Azure and Azure Stack will enable Public Sector organisations in the UK to build and deploy applications using exactly the same APIs, DevOps tools and portal, thereby maximising developer productivity. At the same time, they can also ensure that their more sensitive workloads and datasets benefit from the enhanced security and high assurance provided by UKCloud.

“The UK Government is a digital leader, particularly with its original ‘cloud first’ and now ‘cloud native;’ policies,” said Michael Wignall, National Technology Officer at Microsoft UK. “As one of the country’s leading technology providers, we see it as our responsibility to help meet and encourage these new initiatives and have invested locally to ensure we are up to the task. We have worked side-by-side with the UK Public Sector for many years to ensure that OFFICIAL workloads can run in our cloud and this new partnership with UKCloud and Cisco will enable us all to best serve those with more complex and evolving requirements by providing the best of Azure’s hybrid offering.”

Simon Hansford, CEO at UKCloud said of the partnership: “These new Azure capabilities, owned and operated by UKCloud, the trusted cloud experts in the UK Public Sector, will empower customers to manage sovereignty, ensure assurance and become more connected than ever before. This new collaboration underpins our beliefs that there is a right cloud for every workload and brings together our respective strengths to deliver the best of both worlds. It also gives choice and flexibility to avoid lock-in, while creating rich heterogenous multi-cloud solutions that are optimised to meet customers’ specific needs.”

The UKCloud platform is powered by Cisco’s Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack, which utilises both Microsoft’s robust Azure cloud technology and Cisco’s Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) and Cisco Nexus® 9000 Cloud Scale switching technology, and is designed specifically to cater for the demands of a cloud environment and the need for simplified management and control.

Paul Garvey, Head of Government & National Security for Cisco, believes that “this collaboration between Cisco, Microsoft and UKCloud, provides our customers with a solution which addresses their needs across a wide set of Public Sector use cases, bringing the best of all three together to further bolster the value that customers already see in UKCloud’s platforms’.

The adoption of the Microsoft Azure Stack is part of an expanded multi-cloud portfolio of services being rolled out by UKCloud this year to enhance the breadth of its government-grade platform, giving customers more flexibility and choice than ever before. UKCloud will operate its UK Public Sector Azure Stack platform with security cleared UK nationals and wholly UK sovereign facilities as part of this broad new multi-cloud portfolio.

UKCloud is the power behind the UK Public Sector, providing an assured multi-cloud platform that has already supported more than 220 Public Sector projects. It has helped local and central government departments as well as police forces and NHS trusts as they have sought to move workloads from a diverse set of legacy environments to the cloud and enable digital transformation. As a specialist cloud provider, it focuses exclusively on the specific needs of its customers in healthcare and the Public Sector in the UK, providing connectivity to all government networks (from PSN to HSCN). UKCloud also operates from secure UK data centres, offering its clients a UK-sovereign data storage guarantee.