How do you transform your ageing, on-premise IT estate into the cloud?

As Kent County Council’s (KCC) ICT infrastructure was ageing and its hardware approaching end of life, KCC realised this was the opportunity to take their ICT architecture to the next level and adopt a cloud first principle. From this, a strategic digital transformation programme was born.

Cantium Business Solutions were briefed to migrate KCC’s on-premise data centre and applications to their new Microsoft Azure tenant in the cloud. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, that is responsible for the day to day operation of KCC’s data centres with over 280 applications, Cantium were expertly placed to combine our local and cloud knowledge to ensure the programme’s success.

The programme needed to reduce the amount of physical infrastructure in KCC’s ICT estate and reduce cost and risk by:

  • Migrating from Office 2010 on-premise to Office 365 in the cloud
  • Reducing the need for shared drives and storage areas on-premise and migrating this to SharePoint Online
  • Migrating local folders to OneDrive for Business
  • Migrating business applications into Microsoft’s Azure environment
  • Achieve infrastructure savings based on a reduction in staff having to maintain these data centres

The Challenge

The scale of the programme of work was vast and included:

  • 2 data centres
  • Over a dozen firewalls
  • 120 physical cabinets
  • Over 280 applications
  • 625 servers (181 physical, 444 virtual)

Cantium’s extensive experience of KCC’s ICT estate, coupled with our knowledge of cloud technology, enabled us to deliver the benefits of flexing their infrastructure resources depending on demand at any time of the day or year. Not only does this provide the benefit of reducing the need to have large infrastructure estates, it provides the ability to scale resources only when required.

Cantium were responsible for the overarching delivery of programme and project management for each of the work streams as well as providing the technical knowledge, resource and expertise to deliver the programme’s objectives.

At the core of the programme was the migration of all on-premise hosted applications that can be hosted in Microsoft Azure. As part of the programme of works, an assessment was undertaken via a Cloud Suitability Assessment (CSA) from which, 169 applications were identified as suitable for migration.

To ensure the security of the solution, Cantium’s security team implemented a ‘walled garden’ in the production subscription using Check Point firewalls following National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidance to ensure the required standard was met.

As part of the migration programme, Cantium staff created service maps of the entire KCC on-premise estate, documenting the current setup and how it operated, ready for its migration to the cloud. This helped inform the complexity analysis that was necessary to be undertaken on each application and which identified and informed the priority order for applications to be migrated across.

To execute the migration, Cantium staff used the Azure Site Recovery Tool to ‘lift and shift’ virtual machines into the new environment. Where it was necessary for SQL Servers to be present, these were built fresh into the Azure environment and applications databases were copied over onto new clusters or as standalone instances as required. As part of the migration, SQL version updates were completed where possible as part of the process to ease the transition.

The Result

The ongoing infrastructure digital transformation programme continues apace. This migration has been successfully achieved while continuing to provide core line of business applications. Additionally, flexibility and scalability have also been realised, as the Council can now mange its resources to meet demand without large infrastructure cost overheads.

The programme has achieved a significant environmental footprint reduction (including reduced energy costs) by only needing 22 cabinets instead of over 120. The existing datacentres will be replaced with two much smaller datacentres, further reducing the costs of the IT estate to the Council. It has also achieved a reduction in the number of on-premise applications by nearly 60% and reduced the number of firewalls required by 70%.

In addition, the programme has reduced the direct risk to the Council from end of life equipment and infrastructure failures. Furthermore, KCC staff are supported by Cantium’s highly trained service desk to resolve any issues and to support them through a smooth migration to the cloud.

Digital Transformation in the Public Sector

Our public sector heritage means we understand the challenges facing public sector organisations, including large budget cuts, digital skills gaps and too many competing priorities. Cantium can help drive efficiencies and savings in public sector organisations through the delivery of cloud transformation projects. Cantium is proud to be a Crown Commercial Services supplier. Many of our services across cloud hosting, cloud software and cloud support are available to procure through G-Cloud 11. 

If you’d like to find out more about digital transformation and cloud services, please get in touch at info@cantium.solutions

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