Health Research Authority
The Health Research Authority (HRA) was established in December 2011 to promote and protect the interests of patients in health research and to streamline the regulation of research.
Their aim, with the help of partners, is to make the UK a great place to carry out health research, to build confidence and participation in health research and so improve the nation’s health. The HRA provides a number of key operational IT systems to underpin its role as a regulator within the health research community.
During 2017, the HRA’s arrangements for its infrastructure hosting were coming to an end. Given the pressing business need for an alternative arrangement, the HRA and the Department of Health undertook a market appraisal to source a technology partner, to operate within Crown Hosting’s premises, that could meet a number of requirements, including more flexible commercial terms, a highly secure solution and responsive support services to incorporate value-added features around performance monitoring and disaster recovery. The aim was to deliver a more secure, cost effective solution without compromising on the quality of service.
“Once we had found out more about the Crown Hosting framework, we scheduled a meeting with the Crown Hosting team to discuss our requirements. We were impressed by the quality and security of Crown Hosting’s data centre, and were confident it was the right environment for our research systems. We then needed to make sure that we had the right IaaS partner in place to transition us to the Crown Hosting data centre. The Crown Hosting team were able to provide an introduction to a small number of Managed Service Providers which was very helpful.” says Gaynor Collins-Punter, Deputy Director – Research Systems and Chris Keane, Systems Delivery Manager both from the HRA.
Together with the Department of Health, the HRA conducted a procurement exercise to seek a nominated Managed Service Provider (MSP) for services covering the design, provision, set-up, transition and ongoing infrastructure support of a technology platform. This was needed to host HRA’s business critical applications, including production and test environments that would be based from the Crown Hosting data centre. This covered the migration activities, operating systems, network connectivity and working with the HRA’s 3rd party software vendor.
Vysiion was chosen as the preferred technology partner due to their ability to understand the high level brief and present a detailed solution which met the requirements whilst at the same time introducing additional security features and benefits. They also had a deep understanding of the Crown Hosting framework, had extensive experience of working with the Crown Hosting team and were able to provide a unique end to end service which covered migration of the entire server estate through to providing a 24/7/365 on site managed service wrap which presented good value for money for the HRA.
Deploying infrastructure into the Crown Hosting data centre and working with Vysiion has given the HRA the desired service flexibility and cost savings. “Given our offshore arrangements for software development, we knew that the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model within Crown Hosting would suit us, hence the market engagement exercise demonstrated that it would be Vysiion who would provide the IaaS capability and offer all the requirements we needed in migrating our infrastructure from our previous provider, supporting and maintaining the hardware with the 24/7 service desk. ” Gaynor says. “It was also critical that the IaaS provider could work in a strong partnership with our offshore software partner, BGO Software. So far, it has been a seamless relationship between HRA with BGO, Vysiion and Crown Hosting.”
- Design, Provision and Set-Up of hardware solution and operating system
- Migration of data in collaboration with the HRA’s software partner
- Performance monitoring
- Network connectivity
- 24/7/365 Service Desk
- Support and maintenance of the hardware
- Crown Hosting Framework
Follow on activities in progress are the scoping of a DR solution, including design, set up and support
A few words from the HRA’s software partner, BGO Software
Vysiion prepared and provided the necessary hardware infrastructure, network connectivity, operating systems, active directory, monitoring, backup and further support from OS level and below. That happened really smoothly and on time. The reaction times were very fast and the communication was (and still is) great. BGO executed the actual data migration project between the two data centres. This included precise planning, database migration and setup of database servers, application configuration, application deployment and testing, web farm setup etc. It should be also noted that BGO provided the capacity requirements and system architecture including virtualization model as preliminary requirements. BGO also provides the application level support.” says Ivailo Ivanoff, Chief Technology Officer at BGO Software.
The whole process went exactly as planned without delays and unplanned downtime in perfect coordination between HRA, Vysiion and BGO.
It’s all about partnership!
The HRA and Vysiion partnership is a perfect example of how Vysiion can support Public Sector organisations wanting to move into the Crown Hosting data centre. The two organisations are working well with regular scheduled service review meetings to ensure Vysiion continues to deliver a first class service and that lines of communication are open, clear and effective. What’s even more positive about all this is the seamless way in which Vysiion and BGO Software, have worked together and developed such a great partnership, something that is becoming all the more important across the sector with many services being outsourced to third parties.
The Crown Hosting Data Centre co-location services framework is an easy to use, single supplier framework agreement open to all public sector bodies which gives access to a highly secure data centre environment that delivers signiﬁcant cost savings, operational efﬁciency and sustainability. The Data Centre is accredited by both the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and Pan-Government Accreditation (PGA) to OFFICIAL.
Signiﬁcant cost savings are available by aggregating government demand for data centre space and simple, transparent ‘pay-for-what-you-use’ pricing model.