back to article Ark scoops £700m to host ALL's data centre needs

Small data centre biz Ark has won a £700m four-year outsourcing megadeal with the Cabinet Office to supply the government's entire data centre estate via its Crown Hosting contract, multiple sources have told The Register. El Reg understands that the estate will initially be run via the company's two data centres in …

  1. The Vociferous Time Waster


    its not one of the usual suspects so perhaps we can be optimistic

    1. batfastad

      Re: Well

      Was thinking the same. Until I got to "Non-executive directors on the firm's board include Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5)".

      So it seems the best way of winning Gov business still is to have a "Baroness Manningham-Buller" on your board. Anyone aware of any channel suppliers for those and how are they deployed?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Well

      It looks as if several suspects might be on their board.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    They could have a problem

    If the lion's share of their income is with HMG, especially if it's all in one contract, times could be tough if that business gets switched elsewhere. That happened to my last client.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: They could have a problem

      it's OK, hopefully they have learnt from all the others and put in a £trillion exit fee.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: They could have a problem

        You just need to be too big to switch .... especially if you have peer connections.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This seems to be a rather large piece of work for a company that size, and with a rather poor profitability rating. I'd guess that when the tender went out the decision went with the cheapest bid, possibly helped by a bit of massaging of the selection criteria and their weighting so the "right" company (read, the one part owned by someone's mate) won the contract.

    1. The Godfather

      Safety hatch..

      Taking a 25% stake in the business is a bit of a saver....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This seems to be a rather large piece of work for a company that size, "

      Ah yes, but don't forget the comment about "recapitalisation". This invariably means that the firm was either effectively sold by its previous owners, or bailed out by new ones. In this case Ark were bailed out by Revcap, a private equity firm run by former Lehman staff (now there's a good sign). Revcap's focus is on property (Real Estate Venture Capital Management being the full name), so it'll be interesting to see how this one pans out.

      My guess is that this isn't the old boy network, or the brown bag network. It's an outcome of fuckwit civil servants pledging to give more business to SMEs. Being civil servants they can't do anything without a definition, and that definition said that Ark were an SME, despite being part of Revcap's £4.7bn of assets. As property companies (like banks) make their profit from the balance sheet not the P&L, I would guess that now they've landed the contract Revcap will already be looking to sell Ark to the next mug that's passing. And sadly there's plenty of IT companies willing to buy revenues at any cost, without asking where the profit is.

  4. batfastad


    Sounds like "Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5)" has got the hang of that GovCloud procurement framework perfectly!

    Remember GovCloud has the word "cloud" in it. A new-fangled word... same old sh*t.

  5. D Moss Esq

    ARK & Skyscape

    Take another look at those directors – stuffed to the gills with the usual suspects: G-Cloud, GDS, HMRC and Skyscape, the company with just one director, who owns all the shares – Whitehall SNAFU

    Then take a look at the original plans for G-Cloud – efficient, consolidated, centralised, trusted, green: G-Cloud Overview

    Remember that Skyscape claim to have picked up 50% of all G-Cloud business – they're no longer an SME: Skyscape – the Surprise as a Service company

    What does that add up to?

    It's not clear, especially with this latest revelation that the Cabinet Office have taken a 25 percent stake in ARK, but it doesn't add up to central government outsourcing to the private sector, especially SMEs, while taking advantage of the cloud with its mythically low costs (practically free), magically releasing billions to be spent on cakes, bunting and post-it notes for GDS's walls.

  6. Phil Endecott

    700,000,000 pounds! That is a hell of a lot of something.

    Over 4 years that's £2.50 per year for each person in the country.

    On AWS, that would buy 25 GB of data - 500 MB per week, each. That's the sort of numbers I would expect to see for the BBC, not for

    Of course it's not all spent on data, but if that were all spent on hardware that would be a similarly vast amount of something.

    Does anyone know what they were actually asked to provide?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Does anyone know what they were actually asked to provide?"

      Don't contracts of this size need to be advertised in public in the EU public procurement journal whose name I forget?

      1. cosymart


        OJEU - the Official Journal of the European Union. There you go.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      £700 million won't go far on the salaries of SC cleared contractors in the M4 corridor.

    3. Richard 26

      The tender is linked in the earler Reg article. £700M is the traditional journalese maximum number, the tender is for 50-700M. And presumably the bid is specified in £/GB etc, and how much it's actually going to cost depends on the takeup. Since we have no idea what the figures in the bid are, there isn't really any basis to make a comparison.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting. Ignoring for a moment the question marks over the directorship because they've been well covered above, my first thought here is that this will meet the government's 'contracting with SMEs' target in one go for a long time.

    On the one hand that may be a vote of confidence that an SME can be trusted with a significant project (whatever the behind the scenes networking, this is too high profile to avoid a detailed risk and planning exercise).

    On the other hand if they screw it up we'll be back to Capita, EDS etc. in the blink of an eye and for the foreseeable future. There are lots of medium sized UK data centre providers who'll be irritated at missing out and scared that Ark may screw it up for everyone.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Just a 'brass plaque' company setup by GCHQ/NSA surely?

  9. Kay_terra

    Wonder if they are going to force departments into this solution irrespective of whether it works for them. Last I heard this deal lives and dies on whether the big departments get on board ... and with an election in the offing, and Francis Maude having resigned will GDS have the same authority to mandate approaches as they have over the last four years?

  10. Velv

    Are we finally loading up the B Ark?

  11. Loud Speaker

    Didn't their grannies tell them never to put all your eggs in one basket - particularly when it looks like a basket case IT supplier!

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