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.

Creating the future data centre environment

Organisations will transition to revised arrangements at different timescales and in different ways because organisations have different existing contractual arrangements. But it is important that the public sector delivers the change required and it will do so by adopting, with consistency, the following set of principles:


1. organisations review their current ICT data centre and hosting arrangements

  • these arrangements should be clearly related to an organisation's business requirements deriving from their business strategy. Organisations should maintain their own asset registers and configuration management databases (CMDB)
  • see case study from David MacBrayne at Annex H

2 . cost of running data centres and hosting is known

  • the cost of running a data centre consists of a number of elements, these should all be known in order to fully understand the cost of alternative options or any new services

3. utility and cloud computing is considered in assessing the appropriateness of current arrangements and future investment plans, and a shift to the cloud takes place when this is the most cost-effective option that delivers business requirements

  • as organisations address the need to provide greater continuity and disaster recovery capabilities for both existing and new systems, this will also increase demand for data centre space. In most cases, implementing an improved continuity or disaster recovery strategy for systems will require additional computing hardware and software to be maintained, the use of cloud should be the first consideration for this activity
  • see case study from Dundee University and Improvement Service at Annex I

4. co-location in existing world class data centres is considered where cloud options cannot meet business needs or are not cost-effective

  • a catalogue of public sector facilities that meet the standard should be available and refreshed regularly
  • organisations will consider this option in their business case when looking at new services
  • see case study from Scottish Prison Services at Annex G

5 . no new data centres should be built to meet the needs of an individual or small number of organisations with new centres only considered if, in line with principles 3 and 4, cloud or existing data centre options do not meet business needs.

  • public sector organisation and partners should collaborate on providing efficient and appropriately available ICT services
  • organisations should make use of the world class data centres or form significant partnerships to increase the availability of world class data centres in Scotland
  • by understanding their organisational requirements and following the decision roadmap it is expected that organisations will find an appropriate solution that is already available

6 . Organisations measure and continually improve on their data centres PUE.

  • Data centre energy consumption must be measured and reported with organisations taking steps to reduce it (see Annex C)
  • See case study from St. Andrews University at Annex F
Delivery models

Commercial data centre utilisation and cloud models.

Organisations that require infrastructure and services run by private organisations offering a comprehensive service can currently utilise procurement frameworks including e.g. g-cloud and Scottish Procurement Framework - IT Managed Services, that offer managed services (see Annex H for definition of managed service) and cloud solutions (see Annex I)

Procurement solutions can be an important enabler to support delivery of the strategy and encourage transformation from a fragmented data centre landscape environment to a service consumption and cloud provision model, taking advantage of aggregated demand and economies of scale.

Continued Investment in the world class data centres that already exist in the Scottish public sector.

Data centres that are run by the Scottish Public Sector should be maintained to recommended standards (see Annex E). If organisations are doing so they should additionally determine whether a programme of virtualisation, in line with the guidance (see Annex B.), would be beneficial.

Data centres that meet the standard and are virtualised should be capable of making co-location (see Annex G) services available to other public sector organisations.

Where application or infrastructure as a service is being considered there are precedents where a combined model can be deployed using framework suppliers to augment the co-location offering.

Decision making

Public sector organisations considering their next investment in delivering their ICT infrastructure or services should make use of the decision roadmap to determine the most appropriate solution.

Private sector solutions offer organisations a number of options that will help them meet their business objectives and allow them to deliver their services without necessarily requiring a capital investment. ICT managed service companies can proactively manage an organisations infrastructure services and applications where the vendor can either take complete end-to-end responsibility or provide facilities for them to use.


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