To develop the European Commission’s cloud infrastructure, the Commission recently launched three tenders. Following a competitive bidding process the Commission has commissioned six firms, including three consulting firms: Accenture, Atos and IBM.
To keep pace with rapidly changing environment for network and communications, the European Commission has embarked on a transition to advance its cloud based technologies and capabilities. In line with the its strategic objective, the Commission has decided to outsource a wide range of activities to external players, for which it last year sent out a Call for Tender for Cloud Services (CLOUD I), a move which would be the first decisive step towards the EC gaining access to its own cloud system.
In the first tender process three lots were organised. Each lot develops different capabilities, requiring different types of vendor solutions:
- Lot 1: Private Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): computing and storage facilities hosted by a single provider connected to the EC datacenters by a dedicated private network link. This lot has a maximal four year value of around €10 million.
- Lot 2: Public Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): computing and storage facilities offered over the public internet. This lot has a maximum value of just under €14 million.
- Lot 3: Public Platform as a Service (PaaS): on top of storage and compute facilities, this lot also includes operating systems and/or database services built on cloud infrastructure. This lot has a maximum value of circa €10 million.
The tender for the lots generated considerable interest – in total 20 offers were made from 12 different parties: 7 offers for Lot one, 9 offers for Lot two and 4 offers for Lot three.
Lot 1 was won by British Telecom, with the EC highlighting that bids for Lot 1 were technologically similar, therefore the winner was selected mainly on the base of best price. Lot 2 was won by British Telecom, IBM, Accenture, Cloud Team Alliance and Atos – with in this case the quality of the offers the key weighing factor instead of the prices. Lot 3 was awarded to Telecom Italia, Accenture, Atos and IBM.
In the coming months the selected preferred suppliers will start their work as part of the CLOUD I contract. The cloud system to be developed must conform to a range of data and transfer requirements in line with EU security, and data protection and handling.