European Commission awards its first Cloud contracts
The Cloud will enable the Commission to follow the ceaseless pace of today's technological race among infrastructure providers where costs of storage, bandwidth and computing power are decreasing day by day while enabling at the same time innovative solutions for new challenges such as Big Data.
In the first Call for Tender for Cloud Services (CLOUD I) the European Commission received 20 offers from 12 tenderers: 7 offers for Lot one, 9 offers for Lot two and 4 offers for Lot three.
The call for tender generated a significant interest, with more than 3000 downloads of the specifications and more than 450 questions asked by potential bidders.
Contracts have been awarded to:
• Lot 1: Private Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - BT Limited Belgian Branch;
• Lot 2: Public Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - BT Limited Belgian Branch, IBM Belgium, Accenture, Cloud Team Alliance, ATOS;
• Lot 3: Public Platform as a Service (PaaS) - Telecom Italia, Accenture, ATOS Belgium, IBM Belgium.
The maximum financial volume of the resulting contracts over a maximum of four years are 10,252,762.00€ for lot one, 13,946,625.00€ for lot two and 10,360,350.00€ for lot three.
75% of the contract volume is reserved by Institutions other than the Commission (56 participants all together). As awarding authority, the European Commission has a central role to play, through DG Informatics, to advise and coordinate the usage of these facilities.
The Call for tender will allow the deployment of a first set of IT services in the Cloud during 2016. A series of use cases are studied and should be deployed in the coming months.
The Call for Tender, launched on December 27th 2014, is a first decisive step for the European Commission towards the use of the Cloud for its own systems.
The CLOUD I call for tender was divided into 3 lots:
• Lot 1: Private Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): compute and storage facilities hosted by a single provider connected to the EC datacenters by a dedicated private network link;
• Lot 2: Public Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): compute and storage facilities offered over the public Internet;
• Lot 3: Public Platform as a Service (PaaS): more than just storage and compute facilities, this lot also includes operating systems and/or database services built upon Cloud infrastructure.
The call imposes that all data and infrastructure are deployed on European Union territory only, for essential security and data protection reasons and to be compliant with EU data handling requirements.
Established datacentre providers answered this lot (4 EU companies and 3 US companies). All technological stacks provided are technologies coming from US companies exclusively. This Lot introduced a significant constraint to have dedicated link between the customer and the provider, which explains the significant presence of Telecom operators that are also datacentre providers. No hyperscale providers (almost fully automated with a huge installed base of servers) made a bid for Lot 1, the size of the award being too small for such operators.
The received offers for Lot 1 were technologically comparable; therefore the winner was the provider offering the best price.
Layers of services were required in the tender. Such services are not available in the catalogue of hyperscale providers. Thus the offers received were joint bids between hyperscale and other market players able to provide more differentiated services.
The re-opening of competition mechanism for each specific contract did not prevent participation in Lot 2 (IaaS). Awards for this Lot have been driven by the quality of the offers instead of the prices.
Only hyperscale providers with partner companies participated in Lot 3, which shows that the PaaS market does not appear as mature as the IaaS market.