Ofcom released a statement earlier this month, announcing that halfway into its exploration of UK cloud services, it plans to refer the market to the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) for investigation.

The news, while major, is actually unsurprising when you think about the make-up of the industry, believes Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer.

“The UK’s two lead cloud players - Microsoft and AWS (Amazon Web Services) - hold up to 70% of market share, which definitely feels like a monopoly. There are other hyperscalers competing for customers’ business of course, including Google, but their presence is comparatively dwarfed by the other two giants.

“So we have to ask ourselves, do they have too much control? I would argue they do, but it’s hard to see how anything will change if the Government uses both.”

The dominance of Microsoft and AWS does make it harder for emerging cloud providers to gain traction, adds Tim.

“These providers have traditionally offered seemingly ultra-affordable options for customers - undoubtedly one of the reasons they’re the ‘go to’ cloud of choice for the public sector particularly. But big doesn’t necessarily mean best,” he said.

Ofcom’s article expressed apparent concern surrounding interoperability restrictions and significant price increases at the point of renewal, for example, no doubt just some of the factors that will be further examined by the CMA, if it goes ahead.

We’re told a final decision on the proposed investigation will be made by 5 October 2023.

“I hope it’s not merely an industry rumbling,” concluded Tim. “If there are ways to improve how the market works for all, then surely an investigation makes sense.“In the meantime though, I think the theme of this conversation reminds us of the importance of cloud agnostic conversations. After all, multi-cloud providers exist, who are able to advise organisations on the cloud infrastructure that is truly right for them - it might be Microsoft or AWS, it might be Google, or it might be something else entirely. That’s when things get really exciting.”

Vapour has been awarded a place on the G-Cloud 13 agreement, as part of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework.

The milestone means that, for the next 12 months, Vapour will feature on the Government’s digital marketplace for public sector organisations searching for cloud computing services. The goal of the framework is to compliantly connect such firms with suitable suppliers, without them needing to run a full tender or competitive procurement process.

Vapour will specifically be available to supply cloud hosting powered by its private cloud infrastructure, with public cloud and hybrid options also available. Regardless of the best-fit solution for any given customer, the goal is to deliver resilience and security, in-built as standard, with an efficient network deployment. Vapour’s private MPLS networks are owned, run and managed by the firm’s own engineers for optimum SLA-focused resilience. Delivering eight classes of service from five ISO27001-accredited UK data centres, it supports the full breadth of multichannel, business critical applications for clients in sectors ranging from healthcare to education, and automotive to construction.

Having completed an extensive, legally binding supplier declaration, Vapour can also supply cloud support services for more complex customer requirements, from the initial conceptualisation and set-up phase of a project through to the ongoing delivery and maintenance of the cloud solution. This is particularly helpful for organisations new to cloud adoption or embarking on a new digital transformation journey, as well as businesses looking for continued support for added peace of mind.

Commenting on the achievement, Vapour’s head of transformation and operations Carol McGrotty, who led the framework application, said: “With a number of public sector organisations in our customer base already, this felt like the logical next step for our business. A place on the G-Cloud 13 agreement almost acts as independent validation that our technologies – and the team underpinning our company – have the ability to provide the cloud support needed in the current climate.

“It was a fantastic way to end 2022.”

5,006 suppliers have been awarded a place on the G-Cloud 13 agreement, which runs until late 2023.

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