Salesforce's Benioff chastises government over G-Cloud

Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff has said the UK government is tardy in adopting public cloud services, and has called the G-Cloud 'just a big virtual machine'
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The UK government is not moving fast enough to implement its G-Cloud strategy, and is not using its datacentres efficiently, according to Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff.

Marc Benioff

Salesforce boss Marc Benioff has criticised the UK government for its slow adoption of cloud technology and its failure to utilise its datacentres fully. Photo credit: Larry Dignan

Benioff met with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude on Tuesday, where topics for discussion included the G-Cloud and the government's IT strategy, Benioff told ZDNet UK at the Cloudforce event in London on Wednesday.

"The UK government needs to get aggressive about public cloud services," Benioff told ZDNet UK at a press conference. "The UK government is way behind in this, and way too much into virtualisation and the G-Cloud, which is basically just a big virtual machine that has not been executed well. Too much cost has gone into running too many datacentres."

UK government datacentres are not running at optimum efficiency, said Benioff, with "single digit utilisation rates". "That's not ok," said Benioff. "It's costing them a fortune."

The government has put back publishing its cloud computing strategy from September to around mid-October, ZDNet UK understands.

Benioff said that the UK was behind the US government in cloud adoption. He said the main driver for governments into the cloud was "cost reduction".

"This is a great opportunity for government, which tends to be bloated, and not moving fast enough. Government needs to stop hiding behind the private cloud," said Benioff.

The G-Cloud project, which includes a government app store, aims to reduce the number of government datacentres. The project has faced uncertainty but retains ministerial support, a member of the G-Cloud delivery board said on Tuesday.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that the UK government was engaged in a number of pilot schemes using public cloud services, including one in which Warwickshire County Council is employing Google cloud services.

"This pilot is an important step forward in revolutionising the provision of ICT services in government," government cloud programme director Chris Chant said in a statement. "By exploiting innovations in this manner, government will transform public-sector ICT estate into one that is agile, cost effective and environmentally sustainable."

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