Cloud Journey Part 6: Going to Tender

Ultimately we published our requirements into a request for information (RFI) and distributed out to service providers and systems integrators in the UK in order to understand the types of solutions that would deliver a private cloud for us.

It became obvious that the technologies involved and the skillsets required to deliver them were not going to be delivered quickly if we looked to do it ourselves. Both from an internal resource perspective: we didn’t have any as everyone was trying to keep up with the business demands and we would need to develop people before they would have the requisite skill sets to build it. Therefore we decided to go to a full tender process (request for proposal or RFP) to have a systems integrator deliver a new standardised data centre platform with a Cloud management platform delivered on top. They would also help us deliver the first two or three use case we had identified for our service catalogue so that we prove the benefit of cloud and start the process of up skilling our people internally.

During the course of the process it became obvious that partners that we had had relationships for a long time previously were not going to be able to deliver what we wanted. In the end we selected a brand new partner to deliver the new server and network elements we required along with the new Cloud Management Platform.

More than anything else it was obvious that some of the older, more established vendors were struggling to keep pace with the newer guys on the block that were positioning more widely available commercial off the shelf (COTS) packages. One systems integrator especially, that had supplied us with mainframes, servers, SANs and virtualisation products since Moses left Egypt, really struggled to deliver against our requirements. They positioned their in house developed cloud management tool and in house developed virtualisation tool (which could only run on their servers) all of which had only ever been run in the US with no EMEA customers or sector relevant customers to note. It screamed ‘vendor lock in’, however Gartner were very complementary of it when we spoke to them.  That said in the intervening 18 months since the tender process I haven’t really seen anything of it, so whether it is getting customer traction I’m not so sure.

In the end we went with products that we could get delivered and supported by pretty much any IT provider and Systems Integrator and we chose a company that really impressed us with their high energy, can do attitude and obvious experience with the products. Sometimes changing actually reduces risk!

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