We’ve worked with the Home Office since 2012. Initially we helped them find three Automation Engineers. Since then, that number has grown to over 30.

We supported them to build a full scale, cloud-based platform – with multiple development teams, from multiple suppliers – using our technical consultants.

Let’s get technical

We designed, implemented and maintained several platforms – and implemented services – for the Home Office. We also adopted and scaled DevOps culture, governance, tools and techniques.

For tech enthusiasts, let’s get into the detail. Here’s how we did it.

Environment Build and Automation Platform – on UK Cloud and AWS

Our environment automation strategy was to use Infrastructure as Code patterns and techniques.

We used the following tools to achieve this:

  • Puppet, Ansible, Terraform, Docker and Kubernetes to automate infrastructure provisioning, software installations and dependencies on UK Cloud and AWS.
  • Kubernetes to manage the Docker containers. Terraform to define and implement infrastructure on AWS. (While majority of the implementations make use of Terraform, there is a minority using AWS CloudFormation.)
  • Puppet was used in the past for configuration management and to manage over 1000 instances – with Postgres as the CMDB. In the last two years, we’ve been repurposing these to Docker services.
  • Ansible is used with Packer to create AWS AMIs.

Application Build and Automation Platform – on UK Cloud and AWS

We implemented deployment pipelines with application code stored in Git. While Jenkins clusters are used as the CI servers, we use both Git and Jenkins workflows with Groovy customizations and Maven to automate check out, static analysis, build, test, packaging and deployment.

Test Automation Platform – on UK Cloud and AWS

We implemented automated tests in Selenium and JMeter – covering integration and performance testing.

Environment build and automation services – from UK Cloud to AWS and Azure

We started implementation on UK Cloud. But there were reliability issues and costs. So the Home Office explored alternatives for non-production environments. We migrated existing services from UK Cloud to AWS and built new services on AWS.

Unified environment and building monitoring service

We used Zabbix and Elastic, Logstash and Kibana to implement this service.

What did the Home Office get?

  • On-demand, self-service environment provisioning - and tear down for all authorised users on cloud infrastructure.
  • On-demand deployment of big data infrastructure. Build times were down - from four weeks to just one hour.
  • Automated deployment of containers with reduced deployment time for core technical releases – down from around 45 minutes to less than 5 minutes.
  • Security enhancements – including data encryption at rest and in transit.
  • Team independence to build their own environments.
  • Easier maintenance and tooling.
  • Better availability and scalability.

Awards aplenty

In 2017, we were awarded the “Best DevOps Consulting Firm” award at the Computing Magazine DevOps Excellence Awards.

The Home Office was awarded the “Best Use of Cloud Services” award at the 2015 Computing/BCS UK IT industry Awards, following our successful implementation of the environment build and test automation platform.

Now you’ve seen how we help the Home Office. Do you want some help too? Let’s talk.

 

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