Cloud

Social Security Scotland develops new hosting platforms on AWS Cloud in partnership with IBM Services

Repeatable infrastructure

Automated infrastructure provisioning using a DevOps approach

DevOps-based operations management

Improved configuration management using pipeline-based image and patch management

Cost-effective and elastic infrastructure

Improved run and manage costs with automation and elastic scaling provided by AWS Cloud

About the customer

As part of the devolution of more powers arising from the Smith Commission, The Scottish Government established the new Scottish Social Security Directorate to support the implementation of  eleven Low Income and Disability Benefits and the creation of the Social Security Scotland Agency. In order for  Social Security Scotland to implement benefit delivery differently  for the citizens of Scotland, a number of new Digital solutions were required to be securely designed and developed with Dignity, Fairness, and Respect at the heart of everything it does. The new solutions required deployment on a security-rich, scalable, and resilient hosting platform which had to be rapidly implemented to exacting standards aligning with program delivery timelines.

Customer problem statement

The Social Security Scotland Digital and Technology Strategy set out a “cloud first” approach. Following a thorough technical evaluation and commercial considerations they chose to create this new platform using AWS Cloud with an automated “Infrastructure as Code” principle. This was done to embrace the latest standards, automate wherever possible and reduce recovery times in the event of service interruptions or difficulties.  The customer had a desire to embrace cloud adoption from the outset and lead the way in the Scottish Public Sector.

What was proposed

To meet the deadlines required for delivery of the hosting platform, Social Security Scotland chose to partner with IBM Services. This required the deployment of pre-production and production environments with a supporting set of 32 security and infrastructure foundation services to create a hosting platform which will scale and expand with future demand.

Quickly implementing a DevOps approach and by leveraging existing ‘infrastructure as code” assets available from IBM, the project was able to get off to a rapid start. A collaborative agile delivery model where the infrastructure and security teams from the Social Security Scotland and IBM worked closely from the outset made it possible to build and deploy a number of environments in AWS Cloud.

 

The solution

In a rapid delivery window, the IBM team was able to build and deploy a ‘secure by design’ platform that met the customer needs for developing all-inclusive solution by providing:

 

Infrastructure built on DevOps: A repeatable, cost-effective and highly maintainable platform with a fully automated set of infrastructure and security-centric services. These services were delivered as “Infrastructure as Code” for both pre-production and production. The platform leveraged AWS Cloud and open-source services that included AWS CloudFormation, AWS EC2 Systems Manager and Ansible Playbooks for provisioning.

 

Configuration and systems management built on DevOps: Pipelines for Gold Image and an in-place patch management process using AWS EC2 Systems Manager and Ansible Playbooks helped IBM rapidly create the solution.

The results

Using the assets, tools and services developed by IBM, the project will successfully be delivered by late October 2018 for the first iteration of the hosting platform to support the deployment of its first benefit delivery. The customer has dramatically improved its ability to support the its hosting needs which is demonstrated by the number and complexity of environments that are now managed using this platform. These include:

  • Provisioning over 24 Dev/Test environments to support the demands of the agile delivery teams using the DevOps infrastructure;
  • Provisioning 2 complex non-production environments based on a 3-tiered VPC architecture that includes segregated Management, DMZ and Application VPCs to create a secure AWS Cloud platform;
  • Provisioning a single complex production environment with over 32 supporting management and security services.

 

Thanks to the platform and tools developed by IBM, Social Security Scotland has the foundation to support continued growth of the AWS Cloud platform and handle the expanding portfolio of benefits delivery. The Asset library that will be delivered to the customer will become a part of a digital code library to allow other Scottish Public Sector organizations to embrace a similar “cloud first” approach.

AWS Cloud services used

This project showcases the benefits of AWS Cloud services that included AWS EC2, AWS Lambda, AWS BatchAWS Route 53, AWS Directory ServiceAWS S3, AWS GlacierAWS CloudFormation, AWS Config; AWS Systems Parameter Store, AWS Systems ManagerAWS CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, AWS CodeCommit, Amazon Time Sync Service, AWS Elastic Load Balancer‎ and AWS Identity and Access Management

 

For more information, visit www.ibm.com/services/cloud/aws

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