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gov.ukUK cloud service provider Carrenza has announced it is now providing the majority of hosting for the government digital service (GDS) as it made the production and staging environments for the Gov.UK site live on its cloud infrastructure.

Gov.uk has now rationalised hundreds of individual web sites for government departments and public bodies and concentrated the traffic for 24 ministerial departments and 28 other organisations according to Carrenza.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider Carrenza was initially asked to provide the infrastructure for Gov.UK’s preview operation in 2013 but, it claims, once it opened a second UK data centre its role was expanded. Carrenza rents capacity in Slough and London from data centre operators Equinix and Level 3.

Carrenza runs its IaaS and platform as a service (PaaS) offerings on a VMware-based cloud built on HP servers and HP 3PAR SAN storage which, it says, supports a range of operating systems, application and database technologies that includes “pretty much anything that runs on X86 architecture”. After Carrenza achieved official security accreditation the GDS moved the majority of Gov.Uk’s staging and production systems to the Carrenza Cloud, which has now received 2 billion visits, it says.

GDS originally found Carrenza through the G-Cloud III framework and a competitive tendering process. A major consideration for any cloud service provider, when pitching for contracts with the GDS, is a commitment to open source technology, according to Carrenza CEO Dan Sutherland.

Carrenza was chosen for Gov.UK because its custom software was developed in-house at GDS which needed to source cloud hosting and support for its flagship website.

“The launch of Gov.uk was a significant milestone,” said Sutherland. Open source has underpinned open dialogue and is helping to change and improve the way government communicates with its citizens, according to Sutherland.

Any cloud service provider wanting to win government contracts needs to concentrate on communicating with them, according to Andrew Mellish, Carrenza’s Head of Public Sector Services. “Our team understands what GDS is trying to achieve and how best to deliver the technologies they are using,” said Mellish, “when someone from GDS calls one of our engineers, they know they are speaking to someone who gets it and will work with them as efficiently as possible.”

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