Case Study: Migrating a nationally important cloud platform for the Home Office
Single Online Home (SOH) is a pioneering platform that revolutionised how people report crime and engage with the police. Part of our critical national digital infrastructure, SOH is used by 35 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. The platform continues to grow, with the addition of new forces and organisations, including police and crime commissioners, Police UK and British Transport Police.
Built by CDS the SOH platform was devised by the Digital Public Contact Programme (DPC) within the then Digital Policing Portfolio (DPP). SOH has been referred to as the ‘world’s biggest online police station’.
The platform has been an immense success, freeing up time and budget, reducing administration and improving efficiency for officers; however, in 2021, an imminent seven-fold price increase from the original host, UK Cloud, prompted the requirement for migration to begin to ensure not only value for money, but improved performance, optimisation and future-proofing. Microsoft Azure which presents multiple opportunities for further modernisation and optimisation, was chosen as the new cloud home for the platform.
The objective was to improve cost optimisation, resilience, and performance and enable app modernisation, which required a complete digital infrastructure redesign and migration from a secure data centre to the cloud.
The migration to the Azure platform was a great piece of collaborative work between CDS and the SOH National Digital Team – Mohammad Asif, Head of Service – Single Online Home National Digital Team
The migration, which was to be completed by an immovable delivery date, involved working closely with the fast-track team of our world-leading software partner, Microsoft Azure, and with the client who worked onsite at CDS in the remaining weeks of the project.
The development team at CDS are focused on innovation, and they developed an ambitious development plan for the migration of SOH to Azure. CDS are Microsoft partners.
Proof of concept began in late 2021 and was completed in early 2022. The client set a fixed end date for the migration in June 2022, allowing less than six months for the project to be completed. Due to this challenging timeline, the migration had to begin before the proof of concept was finalised.
The strategy for migrating 60 servers to the cloud was defined, stakeholders were aligned, and a migration and modernisation plan was created using modern infrastructure architecture techniques following best practice design and software principles.
Work began on the proof of concept in October 2021 and was completed in March 2022. At every stage, the expert development team mitigated the risk in close collaboration with the client and software partners.
The team ran into data transfer speed issues, which forced a change of approach for the final data migration, but the project still developed beyond the original scope, with CDS building the Landing Zone and Blueprints with the client.
Since migrating, we have experienced 100% service uptime which is key when hosting a national platform providing essential services to the UK public. – Mohammad Asif, Head of Service – Single Online Home National Digital Team
The successful migration saw the scoped eight months of work completed in six months while the team simultaneously continued other Single Online Home projects and support work.
The migration was achieved during the final weekend of June 2022, with all parties onsite at CDS after an excellent period of collaborative work, which oversaw the successful migration with no downtime for end users.
Due to the modern architecture, there has been a significant performance improvement with a reduction in bandwidth and an increase in speed.
Much-needed cost savings of £360,000 per year will help reduce budget pressure, with the investment costs being recouped within the first six months.
Besides enabling app modernisation, the move to Microsoft Azure makes the solution's scalability far more straightforward, efficient, resilient and cost-effective, thanks to CDS’ secure-by-design, modern digital architecture approach.
At a glance...
- Improve cost optimisation, resilience and performance and enable app modernisation.
- Complete digital infrastructure redesign and migration from a secure data centre to the cloud.
- Fixed end date of June 2022, allowing less than six months for completion.
- Defined strategy for migrating 60 servers to the cloud.
- Create a migration and modernisation plan using modern infrastructure architecture techniques following best practice design and software principles.
- Cost savings of £360,000 per year.
- Investment costs recouped within the first six months.
- Improved scalability, efficiency, resilience and cost-effectiveness.
- Future-proofed solution enabling flexible development of new applications
Head of Service – Single Online Home National Digital Team