So with the clustering of data centres already beginning, where might it eventually lead? One idea is that the entire public sector should have just 30 or 40 major data centres spread across the UK.
Each would contain and support a cross-section of locally based services – NHS, further education, local government, emergency services. Each of which would in turn fail-over to a different data centre within the overall network.
Taking this approach might easily gain the kind of economies that could be reinvested to provide levels of redundancy, functionality and security that perhaps only the banking industry today can contemplate. Importantly, proper standards for the design, construction, maintenance and operation of public sector data centres could be developed and then implemented and audited.
What’s more, in these times of heightened security, by mimicking the essential structure of the Internet the UK public sector would enjoy much of the bullet-proof resilience of the Web itself.