This is despite the government’s well-publicised efforts over the past several years to cut costs across the board and create a more level playing field between open source and proprietary software vendors.
The FOIA request looked into the storage buying habits of 48 local and central government departments, with 44 responding to the request. Key findings include:
• Departments reported spending, on average, £236,004 each year on storage, with spending reaching as high as £1.8M.
• They are buying, on average, at least 101TB of storage every year.
• Each terabyte of storage typically is costing them around £2000, but some are spending close to £5000 per terabyte.
• Resellers still are pushing legacy, big-name, high-margin brands, such as IBM, NetApp, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, and EMC.
• Just one local council admits to using open source storage, and a paltry 100GBs worth at that.
Evan Powell, CEO at Nexenta, believes that the public sector needs to radically rethink its storage buying strategy in the face of a worsening economic climate. He said: “It’s incredible to think just how much of British taxpayers’ money is being wasted on expensive storage solutions due to a combination of vendor lock-in and general apathy. And it is sadly ironic that open source based storage is growing massively faster outside of the UK government despite the government’s proclaimed preference for open solutions.”
Powell claims many of the world’s leading storage buyers now rely on open source based storage, including some of the largest financial, telecommunications, and government organisations around the world. He cites KT (Korea Telecom), the U.S. Army, Cisco, and VMware as just a few examples where open source storage from Nexenta has helped cut costs by up to 80 percent, saving hundreds of millions of dollars that otherwise would be spent buying proprietary storage brands, while delivering the improved flexibility and innovation that is the hallmark of open approaches.
Powell believes that once open source storage starts to be adopted by the UK government, those resellers that cling to selling legacy brands will face a rude awakening. “Resellers need to have an open source storage strategy or risk being quickly shut out of deals. What’s more, resellers that make the investment in providing more savings and flexibility to the government will find those investments paying off.”
Ryan Tyler, Technical Sales, VA Technologies, concurs. “The public sector urgently needs help from IT partners who have the necessary skills and tools with open source storage to make the necessary transition as soon as possible. Government departments are faced with the rapid growth in data and are required to store it for increasingly longer periods. The rapidly growing cost of maintaining and expanding on their legacy storage systems is proving too expensive, a fact that the government needs to quickly wake up to.”
Powell concludes that research confirms that the UK government’s open standards policy initiative has yet to make real progress and suggests several reasons why they are not making the leap. He sums it up as a combination of issues, “Confusion, apathy, and fear, and the challenge of finding an IT partner with the necessary skills to roll out open source storage are part of the problem. In these austere times, if the government wants this initiative to work, it needs to begin by educating not only the public sector itself but also the service providers that cater to this sector.”
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