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By | Gavin Clarke 9th November 2012 07:27

Amazon Web Services will make it into G-Cloud 3.0, says UK.gov

Weird: Won't be OK'd for use pan-gov until 9 months later

Amazon Web Services will be on the official list of approved services for used by civil servants through the G-Cloud catalogue - this time for sure.

That's the message from G-Cloud programme director Denise McDonagh, who said Amazon only missed the cut on the second iteration of G-Cloud thanks to timing.

"We don't have Amazon on just now - reason is we ran out of time," McDonagh said during a UKAuthority.com webcast Wednesday.

"But that's the beauty of G-Cloud. We are still in discussions with Amazon about how they get on framework 3. Unlike other procurement [frameworks], if you missed [it], that was you for two to three years; with G-Cloud we can do the next three to four months."

The Reg contacted the Cabinet Office, which is in charge of G-Cloud, for a date for the third version, but No 10 was unable to respond at time of writing.

The Reg broke the story in April that Amazon, along with Salesforce, was expected to be on the list of G-Cloud 2 suppliers. "I fully expect them to be on G-Cloud 2," McDonagh said during another UKAuthority.com web cast, when quizzed by The Reg.

G-Cloud 2 went live in October with 3,185 services from 458 suppliers and with contract lengths extended to up to two years. But while Salesforce was present, Amazon was - again - missing. It was the second miss, as the government had hoped Amazon, along with Salesforce, would make the first iteration of G-Cloud in February this year.

McDonagh attributed that first delay to the US operations being uncomfortable with the possibility their data might need to be subject to a UK government audit and their concerns had to be soothed.

Being listed in the G-Cloud catalogue is one thing, but pan-government accreditation is quite another and it could take quite some time before AWS is actually certified as hitting government standards on confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information as measured by Impact Level (IL) certification. This is assessed by the Pan Government Accreditation Service.

In stroke of circular, Sir Humphrey-esque Whitehall logic, accreditation has followed a G-Cloud listing.

Accreditation of IL1 and IL2 services is taking up to nine months, the always-optimistic EMC advisory technology assistant and former deputy government chief information officer Bill McCluggage said on the UKAuthority.com webcast.

McCluggage warned accreditation is taking so long that by the time of G-Cloud 3 there will be a huge backlog from version two, with the PGA having to take on new suppliers. "It's not working," he said. "I'd like to see not a catch-up process but a leading process by new mechanisms."

McDonagh attributed some of delays to handholding of the PGA with new suppliers, who have not adequately scoped out their services for accreditation. "That would account for some of the timings we've seen, " she said. "It's a learning process." ®

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