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Stockport moves data centre to cloud

23/06/16

Council’s operational IT team expects new environment to lay ground for service development at speed

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has pushed most of its data centre into an enterprise cloud in an effort to respond to anticipated changes in its service demands over the next five years.

Stockport_Town_HallThe council has completed the migration to an cloud infrastructure - described as an "enterprise cloud infrastructure" - with supplier Nutanix as part of its contract with solutions provider XMA. This has equipped it with a virtual desktop environment that can be scaled up by additional computing nodes.

Adrian Davies, Stockport’s IT operations manager, said: “Local public services are experiencing significant change and it’s hard to know what services requirements will be over the next five years.

“We need a highly flexible cloud solution that will evolve as the requirements of the council change. It needs to support potential expansion, collaboration with partners and the demands of new ways of working, all without disruption to services.”

He told UKAuthority that the shift will also support the council’s implementation of its Digital by Design programme, which is focusing on projects including a stream of new digital transactions, a new council website, the creation of a digital reception and new products for business intelligence and analytics.

“The infrastructure is helping us to quickly turn around requests on to develop services on our systems and architecture; we can do it at speed now,” Davies said.

This is accompanied by the team now working on an agile development cycle.

Footprint reduction

The migration has also enabled the council to reduce the footprint of its in-house data centres – which handle data recovery and production – to 5% of its previous size, and to respond to the loss of staff and reduction of its budget.

“We don’t have the need for specialists any more,” Davies said. “We don’t have the need for them. Now the team has the more generalist skills and we’re not reliant on a core set of people, which makes us more resilient.

The move has also made it possible to reduce the time for the recovery of critical services that might go down from four or five days to three or four hours.

Davies said the council expects about 50% savings on its data centre operations, largely through the cancellation of some services that are unnecessary, a reduction and licensing, and a cut in energy costs.

Picture: Stockport Town Hall by G-Man, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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