engaged with Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) through the Microsoft Hybrid
Cloud Foundation (HCF) programme. The HCF project helps to establish a
foundational understanding of Microsoft Azure, and
establish ExpressRoute connectivity and configuration of the
Microsoft Azure environment to the match the organisation’s data centre
The newly established environment needed to be one that the NCC IT staff were capable of operating and managing to begin deploying and migrating services to the platform going forward. Therefore, it was crucial that NCC IT staff were provided with all the information required about recommended practices that can be used to design and operate workloads in Azure, helping develop a broad understanding of Azure capabilities and its connectivity. CoreAzure also supported NCC in producing an initial proof-of-concept deployment of a single workload to Microsoft Azure as part of the programme.
Number of users:
NCC had been delivering their services through operating a more traditional, legacy on-premise data centre model for a number of years. Limitations in their service delivery with the combination of their hardware investment nearing the of it refresh cycle led the council to look an alternative and perhaps smarter way of delivering their services that aligned with the demands of the business. They were faced with the age-old dilemma of refreshing their infrastructure hardware or starting to look at moving some of their estate to a new technology platform.
Upon engagement with CoreAzure, NCC had highlighted the following key drivers in requirement for a new technology platform;
- Knowledge gap on applications estate (need to clear up legacy estate)
- Ageing infrastructure - legacy hardware reaching end of support
- An unstructured network lacking inter-network security (East to West traffic) and lacking in a robust and secure perimeter network
- Competitive pressures (need to improve services)
- IT budget constraints
- Poor integration
- IT skills gap
The initial HCF project enabled NCC to stand up their Azure environment within 3 months, along with implementing dedicated ExpressRoute connectivity from on-premise to Azure to support their migration. As part of the ExpressRoute implementation we:
- Deployed a hub and spoke network topology using next generation firewalls to protect east to west, egress, ingress and back haul traffic
- Deployed a hub and spoke network topology using vNets and vNet peering
- Deployed ExpressRoute for hybrid connection to Azure
Once the new cloud environment had been designed and built, and the ExpressRoute connectivity was in place - the next stage was to begin to undertake the migration and cutover of applications to Azure. NCC identified an initial batch of 10 (relatively small) applications that they were looking to cutover in the first phase, this enabled the project to build momentum and provide migration intel and data that helped inform the full migration that followed.
NCC’s migration was based on a combination of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities in Azure. This was dependant on the size and complexity of the application – for instance a large, and complex application can often be too expensive and risk adverse to re-platform to a PaaS environment. Throughout the migration, CoreAzure and NCC worked collaboratively to make an agreed decision on the recommended platform for each application.
Delivery of Mircrosoft HCF programme as knowledge transfer
Design and Build of Microsoft Azure environment, with dedicated ExpressRoute connectivity
Applications hosted in Azure based upon IaaS and PaaS platforms
Reduction in legacy on-premise hosted applications
Less reliance on staff to manage on-premise estate, more time for strategic project work
Clearer visability and handling of cloud costs