The first iteration of the G-Cloud store is now up and running with 257 suppliers offering the public sector around 1,700 cloud computing services for year-long contracts.
The G-Cloud initiative, dubbed CloudStore, aims to bring a broader range of cloud computing suppliers to the government market and increase the flexibility in procurement contracts.
The new CloudStore will do this by allowing the public sector to rent the use of services as and when needed and do away with lengthy contracts.
Of the suppliers on the framework, around 50 per cent are small and medium businesses (SMBs), according to the government.
"By creating a competitive marketplace, the G-Cloud framework will constantly encourage service providers to improve the quality and value of the solutions they offer, reducing the cost to taxpayers and suppliers," said Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, when launching the services.
"It gives SMB suppliers of niche products the same opportunities as bigger organisations supplying services."
Examples of services that will be on offer through G-Cloud include: email, word processing, system hosting, enterprise resource planning, electronic records management, customer relationship management and office productivity applications.
"Using cloud solutions that have already been secured and accredited will almost always be less expensive, and we will only pay for what we use. We will also know from the outset the cost of the product and, importantly, the cost of exit from contracts that will be no longer than 12 months," said Maude.
The CloudStore has been built by UK SMB Solidsoft, which has been working closely with the G-Cloud programme over the last four weeks. The procurement store will be hosted in the cloud, running on Microsoft Azure.
Some of the larger suppliers taking part include Capgemini, EMC, Google, Fujitsu, HP, Microsoft, PWC, SAP, Sage and IBM. Oracle was noticeably absent from the list, though.
Meanwhile, recognisable open-source firms such as RedHat, OpenText and Rackspace are included in G-Cloud, as well collaboration start-up, Huddle.
For suppliers not yet on the G-Cloud store, the government said in plans to re-open the framework to applications from new suppliers and products in the spring.
Recently, G-Cloud director Chris Chant said the initiative is helping departments drive down their IT spend by as much as 90 per cent.
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