The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, responsible for the collection and publication of statistics related to the economy, population and society of England and Wales at national, regional and local levels.
ONS' websites were hosted on a legacy third-party server platform, which could no longer provide the performance required for ONS to meet their statistics publishing targets. It also suffered from an unacceptably a high maintenance overhead.
In February 2010, ONS issued an ITT under the Government's Software Applications Solutions Framework for a coherent, structured solution for the hosting and management of its web services and related architecture, offering reduced administration costs, greater data security and reducing risk of capability and availability.
Bramble, with its partner Landmark Solutions, won the tender and work started in September 2010 to develop and implement a fully resilient server infrastructure, based on a VMware virtualised environment architecture and utilising a resilient SAN (Storage Area Network) infrastructure to reliable serve statistical data under very heavy loads, ensuring that the information is always available to the general public (a requirement at the core of the ONS service).
Landmark managed the migration through a complex transition process, not only involving complex technical issues but also requiring thorough project and stakeholder management with multiple departments. Landmark's experienced transition team interfaced with numerous ONS departments to ensure that their individual requirements and needs were catered for within the overall transition. This was achieved in a spirit of cooperation and partnership with ONS personnel.
The transition process involved a detailed examination of the existing website configurations and requirements. Once the new server platform was built, Landmark undertook the process of migrating the existing websites onto the new server platform, through a combination of 'Physical to Virtual Migration' and building new servers from scratch.
Landmark has taken on the updating and patching of the individual servers, which include a combination of Microsoft SQL and complex Oracle Database configurations as well as the security of the websites and server infrastructure – all to strict government dictated standards. Whilst in the migration process, ONS added an additional requirement for Landmark to install a new website consisting of duplicated Pre-Production and Live environments – which we accommodated within the time-frame.
The live service, operating from Landmark Tier 3+ TIA942-compliant Data Centre environments and linked to several ONS sites by secure high-speed communication circuits, went live in September 2011 and has consistently met 100% of Service Level Agreement requirements.
Landmark now manages all ONS's public-facing websites with 24x7 service availability and the highest levels of performance and security. ONS has recently extended its Managed Service Web Hosting contract with Landmark until May 2015.
Paul Auckbarally, ONS's Project Director specifically asked for it to be recorded in Project Board minutes how extremely impressed ONS has been with Landmark's performance - in particular “your flexible, hardworking and professional approach to overcoming the issues that ONS have experienced in the development of their new website and the transition of the existing websites". He asked Brett Varker, Landmark's Transition Manager, to pass on his thanks to all of the team involved in the project. Other members of the Project Board expressed their agreement with Paul's statement.
Landmark Solutions are specialists in managed services for IT, Data, and GIS services and provide a range of end-to-end business and geospatial solutions. They provide a range of Platform as a Service, Software as a Service, Data as a Service and Archiving as a Service offerings as well as more traditional hosting models should customers require. They are specialists in secure and resilient private cloud solutions and have a particular specialism in the provision of geospatial solutions and data.
Bramble Hub are specialists in helping ICT companies secure public sector contracts through UK Government frameworks. We have a large network of SMEs and niche specialists to meet all ICT requirements.
To find out more about being a Bramble Hub partner email us or phone 020 7735 0030