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Ark’s Crown Hosting JV wins seven-year deal for UK government cloud

Steve Hall Crown Hosting.jpg

An Ark Data Centres venture has won a seven-year deal to provide hybrid private cloud services for the public sector in the UK.

The new contract – an extension of an existing deal – gives Crown Hosting an agreement to provide services for a further seven years, following a market assessment by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS).

Steve Hall (pictured), who was reappointed as CEO of Crown Hosting this year after a one-year gap, said: “Since the set-up of the first framework in 2015, we recognise that the market has matured significantly, particularly due to the challenges, dependencies, mapping, and complexity presented by IT infrastructure legacy debt.”

Neither Crown, nor Ark, nor the UK government have put a price on the seven-year deal.

Crown Hosting is a joint venture between the UK government’s Cabinet Office and Ark Data Centres. In April 2022 Ark secured £700 million in funds to partially cover the expansion of its campuses and refinance the existing facility closed in 2019.

The CCS assessment said that Crown Hosting had significantly over delivered in terms of savings – approximately £2 billion in taxpayer’s money and a 99% reduction in CO2 emissions.

The new phase, dubbed “Framework II”, promises to go even further, said Hall. “The expectation that everything will go to the public cloud has proven too complex for most organisations and is taking too long to deliver, so it’s imperative that the services we offer evolve to reflect the needs of our clients and the technical solutions available in the market. We need to keep innovating.”

Under the new agreement, Crown Hosting said it can now provide additional discovery and project management skills along with migration services, designed to support customers that “struggle with resource, data discovery, mapping estates, identifying interdependencies and [finding] cost effective procurement routes”.

Crown Hosting will introduce “a new shared infrastructure in Framework II”, said the company, that will allow hyperscalers to bring the cloud into its campuses, “eradicating the traditional challenges of security, proximity and latency when transitioning legacy technology”.

Hall said: “Framework II offers plenty to be excited about. We know that even in a tough economic climate, we have managed to create an offering with nothing but upside for the public sector.”

He added: “In over seven years, we have consistently helped our customers reduce their electricity costs by 75% and carbon emissions by 99%. The pricing has stayed extremely competitive, regularly benchmarked, helping protect taxpayers’ money, combatting the cost of living and empowering our customers to re-invest those savings into public services.”