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The UK Cabinet Office, a department responsible for supporting the prime minister and government of the United Kingdom, has launched a joint venture with Ark Data Centres.

The new entity – called Crown Hosting Data Centres Limited – will be providing data center services to organizations including the Department for Work and Pensions, the Highways Agency and the Home Office.

Crown Hosting promises energy efficiency, ‘utility’ usage model, flexible contracts and the same SLAs offered by the rest of the industry.

“We are extremely proud to be selected as the joint venture partner and look forward to working together to drive real transformational change across the provision of the Government’s data center services,” said Huw Owen, CEO at Ark Data Centres. “We are committed to realizing the huge potential cost benefits for the UK public purse.”

For Queen and Country

The government chose Ark Data Centres as a partner following a competitive tender process, including due diligence and security checks.

The company was established in 2005 and runs modular sites in Hampshire and Wiltshire. It prides itself on efficiency, being the first European data center operator to contractually guarantee its PUE figures.

Ark says the joint venture will help accelerate ‘time-to-market’ for new government services, improve transparency and reduce the risks associated with choosing a service provider.

This last point is especially important, since the UK government has a long track record of disastrous IT projects. Some infamous examples include the National Programme for IT – a £10 billion National Health Service scheme which failed to deliver and had to be cancelled twice – and the biometric Iris Recognition Immigration System which was launched in 2004 and decommissioned in 2013 after producing unacceptably high rate of false alerts.

“The joint venture company will simplify the data center services selection process in government and further drive the unbundling of large legacy contracts,” explained Steve Hall, CEO at Crown Hosting Data Centres.

“It provides publicly funded, mandated and regulated organizations with a pre-approved contract that leverages the buying power of the whole of government for the fastest, simplest access to secure data center services.”