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MoJ reveals move to public cloud

17/10/18

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is beginning to move all of its digital systems to a public cloud environment.

Cloud obscuring sunlight

A blogpost by Steve Marshall, the ministry’s head of hosting, said the move could ultimately reduce costs for the services by 60%, and help to make the relevant systems more resilient to failure.

It would also be in line with the Government’s Cloud First policy, which presents public cloud – services offered over the public internet – as the first option, while stating a department should always source a provider that fits its needs.

Marshall says to facilitate the move the MoJ is grouping its infrastructure under three headings. The retirement infrastructure consists of systems it does not want to continue running, usually because they are hosted on technologies that are no longer supported or are not easy to scale or manage automatically.

Its modernisation infrastructure is in the public cloud but with applications that are not yet cloud native. This provides the scope for savings but may not be easy to manage at scale.

Thirdly, the cloud native infrastructure can be managed all at once, clearly separated from the applications, is resilient to failure and can be scaled. The MoJ is following up on this option by using the Kubernetes open source system for containerised applications.

First moves

Marshall says the systems supporting HM Prison and Probation Service have already been moved and that the transition of the Legal Aid Agency’s systems is under way. The latter includes some that cannot be moved directly to modernisation infrastructure, and which are being move to retirement infrastructure as a first step.

Efforts are also being made to automate the management of the infrastructure and the deployments.

While the blog provides no indication of the timescale for the change, Marshall says: “We will keep improving the systems in our modernisation infrastructure until they’re cloud native and, when they are, move them onto our cloud platform.

“We’re trying to reduce the amount of manual administration we do on every system, making them easier to run and update. Doing this makes us able to more respond quickly to security threats and bugs and spend more time improving our systems and making them more resilient.”

Image from iStock, Zubin Li

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