Scotland's Digital Future: Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy for the Scottish Public Sector

The data hosting and data centre strategy sets the vision that Scotland’s public sector data hosting is cost-effective, carbon neutral and makes appropriate use of cloud technology, for the delivery of efficient and highly available ICT services.

Annex I - Cloud services for the public sector

Service Model Advantages Disadvantages Exemplar
Platform as a Service The capability provided to the consumer is to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages, libraries, services, and tools supported by the provider. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly configuration settings for the application-hosting environment. Languages, libraries, services, and tools supported by the provider.
  • reduced Capex costs for the following reasons: 1
  • with hosted managed services all hardware and some of the software is rented so the customer pays only for what they use (expenditure may also be more predictable) 2
  • in addition an added advantage of PaaS is that the provider manages all hardware, software patching and update, physical & software security and day to day routine operational tasks (so there is a reduction in the need for on-site specialist staff) Given this PaaS can offer lower Op Ex costs than hosted managed services
  • convenience and agility is a major advantage of both as neither entail local installation, so the implementation and scale-up speeds can be much quicker than other service types
  • security is often provided, including data security and backup and recovery
  • makes research and development possible for 'non-experts'
  • flexibility - customers can have control over the tools that are installed within their platforms and can create a platform that suits their specific requirements
  • adaptability - Features can be changed if circumstances dictate that they should
  • teams in various locations can work together; as an internet connection and web browser are all that is required, developers spread across several locations can work together on the same application build
  • potential of vendor lock in
Improvement Service The Improvement Services ( IS) recently looked at the options for renewing a number of their aged services that were currently delivered through multiple suppliers with individual contracts which was complex to manage. The technology stack and hardware was hosted in co-location facility. IS developed a cost model and business case to understand the cost-benefit of various options for upgrading and simplifying their services in scope ranging from reuse and virtualisation of the existing assets through to renewal based on a managed service wrapped around an open source platform. The solution is now hosted in a private cloud for less than half the price that IS were currently paying. This also included 24/7 telephone support for citizens and public sector service providers. No staff costs were included in this saving as it was agreed upfront that no staff losses would be incurred as part of the "outsourcing" of the service. The existing staff and operating model within the IS has been adapted with key roles to support the new managed service contract.
Software as a Service The capability provided to the consumer is to use the provider's applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through either a thin client interface, such as a web browser ( e.g., web-based email), or a program interface. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, storage, or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific application configuration settings.
  • no capex costs as SaaS is subscription based and can also include upgrades, maintenance and customer support depending upon subscription level
  • easily connected as a browser and an internet connection is all that is required
  • as software is already up and running on the vendor's data centre, there is a lack of tasks associated with licensed software upgrades and deployment time tends to be much shorter
  • scalability as the client simply adjusts the monthly subscription fee, thus removing a significant workload from in-house IT department
  • Lack of convenience as not everything can be delivered through SaaS
  • Software integration can be problematic if the customer adopts multiple SaaS applications, or wishes to connect to existing on-premises applications.
University of Dundee - Microsoft Office 365 The University of Dundee is a leading university in the United Kingdom, internationally recognized for its expertise across a range of disciplines, including science, medicine, engineering, and art. The university looked to replace its GroupWise Novell email system with a hosted solution to improve reliability and communications and lower IT costs. The university selected Microsoft Office 365 because it gave them an opportunity to go beyond just email (Lync, SharePoint) and broaden the communication capabilities that it offers to students and staff. The case for Office 365 was also about reducing the total cost of ownership of the university's messaging solution. The university expects to reduce costs by £500,000 over five years, based on reduced IT administration and maintenance, lower infrastructure costs, and reduced staffing levels required to support the email system and its users. For hardware, the ICS department no longer has to acquire new servers or support the 40 servers previously dedicated to the GroupWise email system. The university has also avoided costs that would have been required had it decided to increase storage for the GroupWise email system
Infrastructure as a Service. The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components ( e.g. host firewalls).
  • dynamically choose a CPU, memory, and storage configuration to suit your needs
  • immediate access to unlimited computing power
  • eliminates the need for investment in rarely used IT hardware
  • IT overheads handled by the IaaS cloud computing platform vendor
  • in-house IT can be dedicated to an Organisations core services
  • there is a security risk of unauthorised access to an organisations data using IaaS in the public cloud
  • IaaS cloud computing platform model is dependent on internet availability


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