Bristol City Council is one of the top ten unitary authorities in the country and its 7000 employees serve 440’000 residents. To cater for peaks in demand, officials were considering the advantages of moving its main website to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Certain occurrences, such as snow days, were causing performance issues due to surges in activity.
But the council also needed to retain some of its services in-house due to information assurance or data sovereignty reasons. Hence, there needed to be a secure connection between on-site services and AWS.
Eduserv created a tiered architecture with load balancing across multiple AWS Availability Zones at each tier.
By working this way, Eduserv could rapidly deploy various dev/test environments, while also using standard code-management tools like GitHub. Tracy Dodds, Bristol City Council’s Digital Services Manager, explained “The solution supports our drive towards a DevOps approach to software development and deployment.”
An AWS VPN provides integration with back-end services via a Bristol City Council-managed firewall and its in-house enterprise service bus. All changes to the AWS infrastructure are managed through the council’s existing change control processes.
The environment was successfully stress-tested to simulate more than 1000 requests a second and the entire solution was subjected to external penetration testing from a 3rd party security organisation.
Bristol City Council now have a flexible, scalable and resilient website, which has received 100% uptime since launch. Working closely with Eduserv enabled the council to create an in-house DevOps team to ensure continuity throughout the transition, without compromising secure back-end services.
Via AWS, the website can be replicated in 20 minutes. This allows the council and its partners to develop and test within this environment before deploying any live changes.
Tracy Dodds added, “The platform is designed to be highly scalable and resilient, is deployed across multiple zones, and also delivers hybrid connectivity into BCC's on-premise infrastructure. This capability enables the digital services platform to interact with data held within the Council's datacentre.
“Eduserv was able to utilise the automation capabilities of AWS to deliver a repeatable, scalable solution, with the project taking just three months to go from the initial proof of concept into live service.”