The government is planning to launch a G-Hosting framework to complement the second iteration of the G-Cloud, Computerworld UK has learned.

G-Hosting will allow the public sector to place complex applications into highly virtualised, shared environments within selected suppliers’ data centres.

Both frameworks are set to be launched on 30th May, with spend on the G-Cloud expected to reach £250 million by 2015 and spend on G-Hosting to reach £470 million by 2016.

The G-Hosting framework is being put in place to support the public sector where the G-Cloud framework does not suffice – specifically with complex hosting requirements for legacy systems.

The Cabinet Office has said that there is a need to provide government departments with suppliers that offer hosting capabilities, as there are a number of complicated legacy applications across the public sector that would benefit from a shared services environment. 

Ian Brown, senior analyst at Ovum, explained that the G-Hosting framework will be used for government applications that can’t be replaced by easy-to-implement public cloud solutions provided through the CloudStore.

“I can see why there is a need for a G-Hosting solution, because frankly the G-Cloud is not totally relevant to all that government departments need to do in terms of supporting legacy applications,” said Brown.

He added: “The G-Cloud is great for applications that are standardised, already virtualised, and that are running on a standard Linux or Windows platform, but not so good for some of the big Unix back-end or mainframe applications that a lot of the public sector is still running on.”

“By sharing services and putting them into a shared environment, departments will be able to spread their cost. The supplier will be serving many customers, so it will be able to spread its cost across the shared platform.”

Brown admits that the problem for the public sector has been placing sensitive information with high security levels into a shared environment, which isn’t easy. However, this has been done by HMRC and the DWP, he said, so isn’t impossible.

He suggests that the G-Hosting framework will make it easier for the public sector to procure such projects.

“I think that what the government is trying to do is ease the procurement process and save costs for government departments looking for shared hosting by opening it up to a few more suppliers outside of the big Tier 1 outsourcers,” said Brown.

“We will probably see a few more commercial players involved, such as Rackspace or BT, and possibly even some specialist SMEs.”

The first iteration of the CloudStore was launched in February and saw 257 suppliers, half of which were SMEs, signed up to provide public cloud services to the government departments.