Friday 28 June 2013

HMRC Heads For The Clouds

As part of HMRC's strive to reduce its overheads, it will transfer its print and servers to a centralised storage solution provided by Skyscape and head for the "clouds".

Andrew Bull, director of delivery and operations in information services at HMRC, speaking at the Cloud World Forum held in London Olympia is quoted by Computing:
"We've got a lot of physical offices in the UK and each one of those has a print or file server, providing local print services. A lot of the time printers start acquiring other services as well - like being used for distribution purposes and file sharing. The file and printer servers were last refreshed in 2006 and they are now coming to the end of life, and the back-ups are becoming more problematic as the hardware fails."  
The issue of lost office hours due to file and print server failures also had a bearing on HMRC's decision to head for the clouds:
"We could see [the amount of failures] going up, even in proportion to other areas such as network connectivity.

One surprise was the amount of power consumed in local communications rooms, largely because of file and print servers. The tape drives overheating meant that we needed air conditioning, which is inefficient and costs a lot to run." 
HMRC is moving the servers to a centralised storage solution. It has put in a local infrastructure server but it is no longer mission critical, as if it fails, HMRC can still access the printers as it is connected directly to the Public Services Network (PSN).

In theory the savings in energy consumption alone will come to £750K per annum, plus there will be no need to transport back-up tapes offsite, enabling HMRC to save costs on a secure courier service and eliminating the risk of another datagate.

Well then, this all appears to be under control and is being well managed and implemented.

However, as per this quote from Barry Murphy technology partner at PwC, that I referred to in September 2012:
Getting the technology in place is just the first leg of the process.  The biggest challenge is the behavioural change that needs to follow.

Too often the failure of new systems is blamed on the technology when more often it’s because people haven’t adapted to them.”
We shall see!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Edna clouds?


    Edna place where the sun don't shine!

    Will it work?

    We shall see.

  2. And when the Cloud servers go down....

  3. Two things

    (1) The government's track record with major IT projects is well-known, and hardly inspires confidence.

    (2) Presumably GCHQ's operation Tempura will be in action.

  4. Are HMRC's WAN links stable?