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Trade Tariff moves to GOV.UK PaaS

06/10/16

Service for searching for import/export requirements becomes first to use new cloud architecture

The Government’s tool for searching for licences, duties and VAT rates on imports and exports has become the first to go live using GOV.UK Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Keyboard with .gov keyTrade Tariff has moved onto the cloud architecture, enabling Bit Zesty – the supplier that runs the service for the Government – to take full control of its management.

A blogpost from the company’s technical director, Matthew Ford, says it made the transition in July and that it will no longer need the help of the Government Digital Service (GDS) to make changes or investigate issues.

“It’s now easier for us to make deployments and monitor performance,” he says. “This means we can focus on developing and improving the Trade Tariff service, rather than having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.”

Previously the Trade Tariff ran on the same hosting infrastructure as the rest of GOV.UK, but as an external agency Bit Zesty did not have access.

Ford said it followed the guidance on multiple deployment environments in the Digital Service Standard manual, and it can now easily create new environments, and scale up the application to meet demand.

Iterate and innovate

“The migration to the PaaS benefits users because we can iterate and innovate more regularly,” he adds. “We'll be rolling out a new design for the service which, among other things, will improve the experience of users on mobile devices.”

PaaS provides the infrastructure for hosting services and giving user organisations the option to build their coding in the open or use the platform managed by a GDS team. The latter is deployed to the Amazon Web Services public cloud.

Ford said the transition provided a learning experience for the company and the team running PaaS, and that this should feed into how it is developed for the next services to begin using it.

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