back to article UKCloud acquired: Public sector specialist finally bags investment from current chair and private equity after reporting steep losses

Private investors led by current chairman Jeff Thomas have bought loss-making public sector service provider UKCloud for an unspecified sum, ending the months-long pursuit for potentially life-or-death funding. Hadston 2 Limited, set up by Thomas, is joined by BGF Group plc and Digital Alpha, buying a company that has three …

  1. Korev Silver badge
    WTF?

    It's a shame the government seems so keen to spend its money on services from "tax efficient" Cloud vendors and not support British companies

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      I'd go a step further. Something that's supporting SECRET and above ought to be run in-house.

      1. Blane Bramble

        Not necessarily - that assumes both the capacity and expertise to do so, which is not a given. Sometimes it is better to let an expert manage something on your behalf.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Still better to give people a possibility to be experts within the country.

          Nobody is born an expert nobody will become one without having a company to work in.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          To my way of thinking taking it in-house means that you do it properly and that includes staffing - both in terms of numbers and expertise. There's no actual law that prevents the Civil Service doing that - it's just that the generalists who run it don't really like employing specialists and even less do they like paying them properly.

          It's more likely that a directly employed team with a proper career structure will be a less security risk than a churn of expert managers elsewhere (who, BTW, would have to be vetted).

          1. hoola Silver badge

            There is always money available to fund management posts, not so for technical specialists.

            Part of the reason behind this has been the years of outsourcing to big consulting firms leading to a drain of knowledge.

            They you have the issue that generic management drones that are spewed out of every university "School of Management" have been employed that understand almost nothing. However they are now in positions of power so continue to recruit people who are equally skilled in nothing. Skilled technical professionals scare the crap out of them because we understand that these people are useless.

            The final nail in the coffin has been that as skills have been lost due to outsourcing they bills to bring in the skills as contractors are too high compared to the sales garbage that is hawked round by the cloud outfits.

            A trip for manglement out to Seattle or Redmond is easy and there is incentive.

  2. Ben 77

    Choosing not to report

    "The Register decided not to cover these stories because we didn't want put the kiss of death on a UK business amid a pandemic."

    This surprises me and while I can see the logic (is a UK business more deserving of your protection? Was there some other link?) and can see it may actually have helped UK Cloud, I wonder about the precedent it sets.

    I'm now wondering about what other stories you know about but choose not to report, not because you are unclear if the veracity, but because you wish to protect the subject from bad publicity.

    1. Quotes

      Re: Choosing not to report

      Above all else, that sentence stuck out like a sore thumb. Very disappointing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Choosing not to report

      As someone involved in business with them and aware of some of the details, I was also surprised to not see further reporting on these matters. I was super surprised to see this reasoning behind it.

    3. Starace
      Alert

      Re: Choosing not to report

      It was a waste of time not reporting. Anyone who cared, customer or creditor, was already well aware.

      This isn't a client base that needs journalists to tell them what's happening.

    4. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Choosing not to report

      Hi -- What we meant to say was that we didn't report on the rumors at the time because we didn't want to cause harm with unverified tip offs. If we're gonna say an organization is about to collapse, we want to be really sure of it.

      We never shy from reporting on something just because it might end in bad publicity. For that reason, I've taken out the paragraph.

      C.

  3. Wolfclaw

    We need UKCloud to survive, expand and start taking contracts away from Microsoft, Amazon etc and keep it in the UK and under our laws and privacy rules and of course the profits within the country and not tax dodged back to a mother company other seas.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "our ... privacy rules"

      For what they'll be worth when Patel's finished with them.

    2. Persona Silver badge

      and of course the profits within the country and not tax dodged back to a mother company other seas

      What profits or tax? UKCloud make a loss so no profit hence no tax. Why should it be UK policy to saddle itself with mediocracy that gets rapidly more expensive as time goes on.

      1. Dmac

        Well, they still pay employees (who are in the UK), they play employer's NI, and those employees still pay income tax. And, I'd imagine, most of those UK citizens spend most of their money in the UK.

        Your average AWS or Azure contract - by comparison - will see more of that money going abroad to non-UK destinations.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "a portfolio of innovative businesses promoting the ethical and sustainable use of data"

    Sounds to me like: "our business plan is to monetise the government data we are holding" - i.e. sell it on in various forms.

    Of course we don't have any choice in how this data is used. They'll blank out a few fields and say it's "anonymized".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "a portfolio of innovative businesses promoting the ethical and sustainable use of data"

      You're free to believe what you like, but you'd be wrong.

  5. Starace
    Devil

    We all knew about it

    Everyone with any interest in UKCloud already knew what was happening all those months ago and acted accordingly, even if El Reg decided to keep quiet. So that didn't help them at all and the self censorship was utterly pointless.

    The big problem is that while they provide a specialised service that was useful for some things they're stuck in that unhealthy spot of being much smaller than the usual players - so not so useful for the bulk vanilla stuff - and at a scale where you might use them for niche or PoC but for bigger 'special' stuff you may as well roll your own private cloud solution as actually being better and cheaper and easier to manage. Been around that loop more than once, and it turns out renting cloud is surprisingly expensive and compromised, while building is quite reasonable and tunable. At least if your workload isn't transient and you have specific goals in mind.

    It's not a nice feeling leaving a company and they were good at partnering but there comes a point where you need to go with what works best for you and doesn't add risk. For me that isn't AWS/Azure/whatever either - went a different direction - but the UKCloud thing just wasn't sustainable.

    They did nothing wrong but it's an awkward place to be stuck.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A garbage expensive proposition

      I broadly agree with what you're saying (particularly around the UK Cloud service offerings), but there are many very good hybrid cloud players in the UK market that offer services which work out over time way more cost effective than building your own. Not all providers are like this but there's a decent number that offer extremely cost effective and efficient platforms.

      I"ll caveat this by saying that building your own is more effective if you've got a team who are on top of their resource management, have automated most tasks, have backup, DR under control and your applications teams are not massively over sizing and badly managing their resources.

      In conclusion, I'm right and you're wrong, but equally you're right and I'm wrong...... :-)

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: A garbage expensive proposition

        The problem is that quite a few of those functions are also needed if you run the service in a big cloud provider.

        Availability is the responsibility of the provider, backup and DR is not.

        These are points that are regularly overlooked in the quest that "Cloud Is Better".

  6. D Moss Esq

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