Back in My Day, They Were Called “Data Centers”

The Guardian documents a case of creeping jargon: The UK is going to create its own “cloud“:

    By 2015, the strategy suggests, 80% of central government desktops could be supplied through a “shared utility service” – essentially a cloud service resembling Google Docs, which lets people create documents online for free.

    The move to a “government cloud” mirrors the system used by Google and other large companies, which put cheap “server” computers into huge data centres to provide computing power on demand which is delivered where it is needed via the internet. That would be provided to government departments and local government, replacing the ageing and inefficient systems used in many of the hundreds of data centres presently used – and frequently run at far below their capacity because they are dedicated to one department.

Buried in the story, though, is some news I find exciting: they are encouraging a move to . From the same story:

    . . . John Suffolk, the government’s chief information officer, pointed out that cost savings of just £100 per machine would total £400m across government. Unlike Windows, open source operating systems such as have no licensing costs and can be used on as many machines as required.

There are, however, some in the UK who are skeptical that the effort will produce much success without monitoring:

    But open source industry figures were disappointed with the new proposals. “The government document is a very good document. It’s as good as any such document I’ve seen from any government,” said Shine. “But what’s lacking is an entity within the government to monitor that the procurement policies are being followed.”

    (snip)

    Mark Taylor, CEO of open source system integrator, Sirius IT was even more scathing. “They’ve made some cosmetic changes but it’s still not really an action plan- it’s a policy that needs teeth.”

France and Brazil have already implemented open source in a big way.

When governments find a way to provide the same service for less money, it’s a good thing.

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