The lack of government adoption of open source storage may be even more pronounced than a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request suggested.
The FOI request, filed by open source vendor Nexenta, initially showed that just one of the 44 government bodies which responded had bought into open source storage.
However, it is unclear whether the only positive respondent – Stafford Borough Council – has moved to adopt open source storage after all. Upon enquiry, a council representative told ChannelWeb that a mistake may have been made on the FOI request form.
This raises the possibility that all 44 bodies favoured legacy options.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude earmarked greater uptake of open source software as a top priority in a report on government ICT strategy last March.
Evan Powell, chief executive of Nexenta, argued that the apparent lack of progress is hitting the taxpayer in the pocket.
"It is 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," he said.
The departments shelled out, on average, £236,004 each year on "premium" storage equipment from the likes of IBM, NetApp, HP, HDS and EMC. One spent as much as £1.8m, according to the FOI request, which quizzed government departments on their storage spend in 2010 and 2011.
Each terabyte of storage typically costs them about £2,000, the request found.
Powell continued: "Governments, like other end users, have limited resources, but do not have limited requirements. The government wants to improve its IT and have better systems, but with storage taking up half of the budget, you just cannot."
Mark Taylor, chief executive of open source reseller Sirius, argued that, despite recent headway, the government's open source strategy has not gone far enough.
He said: "It is fair to say that there are increasing numbers in government who do realise that open source is important; the government has put together an excellent policy.
"They say people should look into open source, but the majority are ignoring it and are sticking to what they have always done.
"There needs to be a better transmission of ideas to all corners of the government and it needs to feed into day-to-day practice," he added.
Open source solutions are a more budget-friendly option, especially during a recession, added the Nexenta boss.
Powell said: "Open source storage is absolutely financially viable.
"At Nexenta, we power the largest cloud in Asia with Korea Telecom as well as for the US Army. If they are making the push, why can't the UK government?"
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