This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Friday 5 August 2022
British Library

British Library consult for Azure hybrid cloud compute environment technically & commercially

12 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 6 large

21 Completed applications

7 SME, 14 large

Important dates

Friday 22 July 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 29 July 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 5 August 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
A one month consulting exercise to assess our needs for a hybrid compute estate and define the appropriate technical and commercial approach. The produced report will justify a particular approach, and the requirements that we must consider essential in any solution
Latest start date
Monday 3 October 2022
Expected contract length
One month
Yorkshire and the Humber
Organisation the work is for
British Library
Budget range
A suitable budget is available for one months consultancy

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Library needs to modernise its compute infrastructure, and prepare itself to benefit from the industry move towards cloud. We have a technology strategy that states we are cloud first, and we need to begin our journey towards that state.
Our environment is around 1500 VMware virtualised servers and more dedicated hardware of various ages, running a mix of dot net and java as well as other environments, and with a variety of applications from off the shelf applications through to in house custom development. Many of our current platforms are reaching the end of their useful life, and we need to accelerate our planning for replacement, to create a flexible and hybrid compute platform for future growth and change.

The work must be completed by 31 October 2022
Problem to be solved
We currently have an aging application estate and infrastructure that we have big ambitions to modernise. However, the ever increasing support workloads of our existing VM compute estate are consuming more of our teams' time than we'd ideally like, and we therefore now need assistance to assess and understand the optimum replacement solution for us as we move towards a hybrid cloud compute environment that will create the foundation for our applications in the future.

Currently The Library has limited experience in cloud and hybrid compute, and we need consulting support to help us define the optimum approach both technically and commercially, and guidance on an appropriate migration strategy. We need to understand whether consumption or subscription based models would works for us too, or whether to remain capital focused.

The output of this work will be sufficient detail for us to begin a formal tendering process to acquire a solution with confidence, but not a kit list. Instead, your consulting output will rationally justify a particular approach, and the requirements that we must consider essential in any solution
Who the users are and what they need to do
The users of the report produced here are the British Library Technology Management team who will use the report to drive a procurement exercise to meet the long term needs of the Library's service users, customers, and employees
Early market engagement
Ongoing conversations with vendors have uncovered that the market is changing rapidly, and that solutions are transitioning from traditional capital procurements to service and consumption led approaches.
Any work that’s already been done
The solution elements of a previous tender will be available to the winning bidder. This has helped us understand the need for the solution to be considered in both technical and commercial terms.

Our investigation thus far, has led us to believe our future is Azure, as we have a strong dot net direction, plus extensive current and planned use of Dynamics, so anticipate a hybrid solution being led towards this environment.

We have also recently implemented a new storage platform, based on Dell technology, and any proposed solution will need to coexist comfortably with this environment.
Existing team
Working with the British Library Technology technical and leadership teams and a selected number of senior stakeholders in the wider organisation.

There maybe a need to engage with existing British Library technology suppliers.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The majority of the work will take place at the British Library Boston Spa, West Yorks, LS23 7BQ.

A smaller amount will take place at the British Library, St Pancras, London, NW1 2DB.

Elements may be delivered remotely and virtually
Working arrangements
We operate in two primary location London and near York, and would expect elements of on-site attendance at both these sites. We would make available technical and leadership individuals to assist, and would hope this to be done via a mix of face to face and virtual. We are open-minded to the use of software to assist in data gathering on our infrastructure, but will consider impact on resources, security and performance. We would expect conclusions and summaries to be delivered face to face via presentations and workshops to the Technology Leadership team, followed by a formal written report.
Security clearance
Security clearance as required organised by the British Library

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Not applicable

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Demonstrate significant technical experience in hybrid compute consultancy and design
  • Demonstrate significant technical experience in Azure hybrid consultancy and design design
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience of VMware, VM licensing and VMware migration strategies
  • Have significant technical and commercial experience in Microsoft hybrid design
  • Demonstrate knowledge of integrating hybrid compute management towards a single management console
  • Demonstrate a track record of designing complex migration of applications
  • Demonstrate a track record of designing complex migration of data
  • Demonstrate experience in identifying the appropriate financial approach for solutions in this area
  • Show significant experience of working with mixes of data, operating systems, and application estates
  • Demonstrate significant experience you have of working with sensitive or high value data
  • Relevant and up to date manufacturer qualifications/certifications that demonstrate experience and competence in this technology area
  • Experience in Showing how final conclusions and report will help drive subsequent procurement(s)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate familiarity with government procurement frameworks
  • Show Knowledge and awareness of governmental direction and policy with regards to cloud and hybrid compute
  • Demonstrate Thought leadership and relationships within government and influencers within this area
  • Show Experience of working with social impact metrics
  • Demonstrate Experience of working to deliver solutions that support diversity and inclusion

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach to helping BL design the optimum technical and commercial hybrid compute environment
  • Approach to determining the best path for us to migrate our current virtualised estate with little or no down time
  • Identifying the best approach to placing existing compute demands into the above and migrating between environments.
  • How you deliver migration guidance as part of your response
  • How the Library delivers simplification of process and cost minimisation of future procurement or expansion
  • How will your approach support the library in meeting its carbon reduction and environmental impact aspirations
  • How would you ensure that we are minimising risk of reputational damage for the Library during migration and subsequent operation
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate experience consulting for an organisation of 1500 plus employees
  • Show experience of working within a hybrid or flexible working environment
  • Demonstrate multi-site consulting experience
  • Have exposure to aging and legacy technical estates requiring modernisation
  • Experience working with client technology process that needs modernisation
  • Experience of working with organisations with varying paces of delivery and decision making
  • Demonstrate how Diversity and Inclusion are central to your approaches
  • Have ability to work across multiple sites in a short time frame and in parallel
  • Experience of consulting approach, and in particular running workshops remotely and physically
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. I’d like to register for an invitation to the presentation and Q&A on the 29/7 1400-1500 but I don’t see an obvious way of doing that – can you help?
If you wish to attend the Q&A please send an email address for all your attendees, and the Library will send out a Teams meeting invite nearer the date.
2. Please confirm email address to request Q&A session invitation.
Please send all email addresses for your attendees via the Marketplace message function
3. Please could the authority confirm the budget for this requirement
The British Library has not disclosed the budget for this requirement
4. Could you please confirm what level of security clearance will be required for this?
The Library will carry out a DBS check on all consultants working onsite at Boston Spa and St Pancras
5. Supplier Briefing Session Q&A on the 29/7 1400-1500
Please send all requests to attend on Friday by close of play today. A Teams meeting invite will be sent out on Thursday to all suppliers that expressed an interest in attending the session.
6. Could you please clarify if the successful bidder will be allowed to bid for subsequent design, build and migration activity required to deliver the solution defined for the British Library?
Yes they would.

The British Library however would need to make clear under transparency guidance to include the name of the supplier we consulted with in the tender documents.
7. Is there an earliest date the team can start?
The Library would not have an issue with work starting earlier (indeed would welcome it!), but are yet to formalise the exact dates for the latter stages of the process, so can’t state a precise ‘earliest date’ right now
8. For the shortlisted suppliers, is there a template or proscribed format for the proposal and / or presentation?
As part of the DOS framework, we will give more details on next steps to shortlisted suppliers at that stage.
9. Demonstrate Experience of working to deliver solutions that support diversity and inclusion”- Are you looking for data for diversity in supplier provided teams ?
We are looking for evidence that you understand how your organisation, and/or its responses to the proposal can support diversity in any way. We aren’t being prescriptive, more looking for evidence that it is a consideration for you.
10. Can you provide some details around the Social Impact metrics you are looking for ?
We are encouraged by central government to look at how our work affects measures such as gender inequality, carbon emissions, access to opportunity for disadvantaged communities, and many other similar considerations. We are not looking at specific measures at this stage, more looking for evidence that you understand how your organisation and its response to this tender support a range of social metrics positively.
11. Are there middleware and integration bus services in the environment ?
There are a range of middleware and integration environments, but this tender is for a consulting exercise to understand that better and propose appropriate approaches as a consequence, rather than for us to present all the technical background at this stage.
12. Do you have any Cloud subscriptions and applications in place or is everything currently on premises with an intent to migrate to Cloud?
We have both Azure and AWS subscriptions, but both are currently used either lightly, or in a very basic manner. Currently, there is little in the way of cloud hosted applications. This exercise is partially to help us determine the right answer to the question on what and whether to migrate to on-premise cloud or other forms of cloud.
13. Can your existing application register and CMDB date be leveraged to assess the technical and functional stacks of the applications or is this knowledge to be acquired from supporting teams and vendors
We will largely expect the knowledge to be gathered via engagement with supporting teams , rather than from CMDB.
14. To what extent is the current infrastructure setup in high availability mode and also does it have DR component?
That is a question that is better addressed during the delivery of this consulting exercise. We, like most organisations, have a mixture of high availability and single device/platform environments. There will need to be a DR consideration, and that must be part of the response
15. Could you clarify the approximate amount of storage supporting the 1500 VMs and what proportion is served by the Dell investment?
We have around 15Pb of data, across various locations, of which the majority is, or will be in the Dell environment. We would expect that the exact details of what is desired, and what is possible would be discussed and shared in more detail as part of the information gathering element of any consulting exercise.
16. Can you clarify whether dynamics is currently an on-premises installation or a 365 solution as it is used extensively, If on-premises do you Intend to move out of a hybrid to a Cloud model for this platform?
It is currently on-premise. We foresee it migrating to cloud at some point, but that timeframe is not yet agreed.
17. The documents advise there is a deadline of the 31st of October, but could you please advise what exactly is expected to of been completed by this date please?
Is it an initial assessment & report?
An initial assessment, report & recommendations?
An initial assessment, report, recommendations and planning for the next steps? Etc.
We expect an initial assessment, report and recommendation, sufficient for us to start constructing a tender process that will lead towards a solution. The approach to that tender will depend heavily on the nature of the recommendations in the response, and we do not believe that planning is possible until recommendations have been made and considered against organisations budgets and change capacity.
18. Has any external supplier been involved in the initial scoping work? If so, who?
No, the work has been done in house – We however, have discussed our environment at length with multiple technology organisations
19. Can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
20. Can you please provide an anticipated timeline for this procurement that includes dates for: 1) Shortlisting Notification for Stage 2 2) Submission Deadline for Stage 2 3) Presentation 4) Evaluation period 5) Award Notification
We will agree the timelines for the latter stages, once we have shortlisted. They will be in line with the stated aspiration to have the consultancy delivered during October.
21. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
We currently have a physical platform based on HPE servers, with a VMware virtualisation layer. The servers have been on site for more than 8 years, and the VMware state for more than 10 years.
22. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The scoring will be completed by three members of the Technology leadership team – heading up Architecture, Operations, and Performance, along with the Head of Technology
23. In the section “Any work that’s already been done” you state that “our investigation thus far, has led us to believe our future is Azure, as we have a strong dot net direction, plus extensive current and planned use of Dynamics, so anticipate a hybrid solution being led towards this environment.” Can you provide details of that investigation and comparisons used to evaluate the merits of Azure and other public cloud providers? Other public cloud providers can host solutions similar to those described. Can you please detail why this opportunity is not open to consider solutions from other cloud providers?
The investigation has been completed internally, and has been architecturally led. We looked at the alignment with our strategic aims, and also considered market dynamics. We are not entirely closed to alternative approaches, but the response will need to demonstrate why that is a viable path to consider. In particular, we considered the scale of the developer community associated with various cloud platforms, and the alignment with the long term roadmap for Dynamics and 365
24. Can you share what classifies as “High Value Data
We hold a significant amount of data that has been gathered over many years, such as oral histories, radio archives and film, that is only now held in digital format, and if lost is gone forever. We also hold much content with copyright restrictions, that has potential significant value. The value is also often in in the historical importance of digital artefacts, and the data associated with them as part of a national record, and the need for it to be suitably protected.
25. In the “Any work that’s already been done” section you mention a previous tender that solution elements may be available from. Can you confirm the supplier who undertook this work and whether they will be bidding for this contract?
The tender had responses from 6 organisations, of whom at least 2, and maybe more, may respond to this new tender, although we do not formally know who will respond until the closing date. There is no expected advantage from the previous work.