The race is on in the channel to pocket the first G-Cloud pan-government accreditation for infrastructure- and software-as-a-service platforms.
The awards will be made this month but industry sources tell The Channel that Memset, Skyscape, SCC and FCO Services (the IT arm of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office) are in the running.
Rhys Sharp, former SCC CTO and now an independent consultant who freelances for the reseller-cum-integrator, expects to be informed this month of the suppliers that have made the initial cut.
Sharp said SCC's Secure Multi-Tenancy Cloud (SMTC) will include IaaS that primarily offers virtual machines, storage and back-up on the platform, built on IBM blades and Storwize V7000 storage tech.
"This was architected with CESG (the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance), with the end goal of becoming accredited," he said.
SCC's SaaS will kick off with email-as-a-service based on Microsoft Exchange and include a bunch of vertical-specific applications from small ISVs after that, playing to the UK.gov's agenda to dish out contracts to firms of all sizes.
The four prospective suppliers may each have their services accredited but clearly all would like the bragging rights of being first.
Skyscape last month pushed through the review for its IL2 and IL3 services designs - the ILs, or impact levels, are security governance levels that range from zero to six - enabling it to go for full accreditation.
"There is more work to do," said Simon Hansford, CTO at Skyscape.
FCO Services, which is looking for full-blown accreditation on the Government Secure Application Environment cloud infrastructure, recently revealed it has teamed up with content management firm Huddle.
Through Huddle IL3, public sector organisations can share documents, review content and chew the fat on ideas in one central place.
Web-hosting firm Memset expects more SMEs to collaborate on cloud services for public sector departments "without a large systems integrator bloating the costs," said co-founder and MD Kate Craig-Wood.
"This approach has the potential to be enormously transformative and disruptive to the status quo," she said.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “Accreditation is a complicated process that a number of services are going through and are at different stages of.
"While we cannot comment on specific services, we hope to have some services accredited soon," said the PR bod. ®