The Crown Estate


saving per year


hours saved per year


petabyte of data

Integration of SharePoint with a scalable cloud solution to share big data. The Crown Estate, which is responsible for managing the U.K. seabed, faced the challenge of managing up to 1 petabyte of data originating from various sources.

Project Summary

The Crown Estate plays a crucial role in enabling the advancement of the UK offshore renewable energy industry by managing the leasing process for renewable energy projects. Part of this process has seen The Crown Estate establish a data management repository—the Marine Data Exchange—for managing and storing up to 1 petabyte (one million gigabytes) of data cultivated from offshore renewable energy developers. Making this data easily accessible provides crucial support for those looking to develop in the marine environment as well as enhancing the sustainability of marine businesses and furthering our understanding of the United Kingdom’s coastal areas.

The Crown Estate was keen to avoid high infrastructure costs for a public-facing service. As a result, it decided to implement a cloud-based solution to deliver content on request to the public, developers, and research-based institutions.

ClearPeople created a Business-Critical SharePoint (BCSP) solution that uses Microsoft SharePoint as the hub for large data sets and reports that are produced and managed by over 120 wind farm partners who collect the data and submit it to The Crown Estate. The BCSP solution connects SharePoint with Windows Azure to share and exchange Big Data - in other words, high volume and high variety data - with energy developers and the public due to its scalability and elasticity.


By using a combination of on-premises infrastructure and Windows Azure, The Crown Estate has acquired a highly scalable solution to deliver a huge quantity of content to the public. The Crown Estate is enjoying a low initial infrastructure cost to minimise the overall expense of introducing a new web-based service. The solution from ClearPeople replaces its previous data management repository.

Compared to traditional hosting environments, where The Crown Estate was facing costs of up to £210,000 per month, the Windows Azure solution that ClearPeople implemented will save The Crown Estate up to £2.2m per year in hosting costs alone. Additionally, ClearPeople was able to deliver a fully integrated SharePoint intranet, partner extranet and public front end that allowed The Crown Estate to accept data from over 120 energy partners, then collate, format and publish the data via Windows Azure to the website - saving more than 7,500 hours per year compared to the previous manual process.

Key Features

  • Cloud provides effective way to store and manage “big data”
  • Solution frees up valuable space for other applications
  • Windows Azure incorporates data from the previous system
  • "Working with ClearPeople – a leader in SharePoint based solutions and early adopter of the cloud and Azure – has been a very positive experience, so much so that we are utilising their support on another major project, our wave and tidal knowledge network."

    Nigel Spencer, Head of Information Services, The Crown Estate

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