Like all public sector organisations these days, cutting the costs of ICT operations is a priority for the Isle of Man Government.

Already a champion of cloud-based computing in government, Isle of Man Chief Technology Officer, Peter Clarke, recognised that moving to the cloud and virtualising the technology infrastructure was a simple and fast way to deliver savings. However he needed to ensure security and control for any such move.

The answer?

A hybrid cloud environment, giving Peter the best of both worlds: commodity cloud savings and resilience with onsite security.

Moving to the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system with Hyper-V technology and the Microsoft System Center suite delivered instant improvements in manageability for the infrastructure and 1,000 line of business and productivity application. In one move this increased system performance eight-fold, boosted storage utilisation by 40 per cent with no extra hardware, and reduced operating costs by 15 per cent.

From email, finance and treasury applications to social services, health and education - the entire spectrum of government now runs through the cloud. Explains Peter: “We moved to the cloud because we saw the potential to work better, faster, and more cost effectively. It’s about speed and cost—how quickly you can deploy and repair—and the quality of service. The cloud ticks all these boxes, increasing service levels, data flexibility, and availability.”

Use of Virtualisation – both desktop and server - has now become the norm for the Island government, with 98 per cent of all services delivered through the Cloud platform to all departments, offices and statutory boards of Government.

Adds Peter, “The process has become routine and we are capable of rolling out Windows 8, Office 2013 – in fact any application upgrade or new deployment - effectively and efficiently with our existing resource pool.”

Desk top deployment metrics today are consistent and impressive:

  • Less than three days for a new device (the average is just 8 hours)
  • Less than eight hours for a hardware fix (the average is a speedy two hours)
  • All software repairs are completed remotely
  • Any operating system (OS) rebuild done over the network and completed within an hour
  • Users can ‘Self-Build’, ie take away a ‘bare metal’ device build the OS and deploy chosen apps over the network simply by requesting a PIN number from IT.

Peter is understandably proud of the new infrastructure and his team’s achievements: “Our boost in performance speaks for itself—an eight-fold improvement in data availability, 40 per cent more storage resources with no extra hardware needed, and a reduction of 15 per cent in operating costs.”

Migration to the cloud has also eased on-going pressure on the government’s budget as use is on a pay-as-you-go financial model with no upfront investment costs. It has also been possible to cut unit costs per user of the IT estate by 40 per cent. Says Peter: “We’re saving £250,000 a year and compared to the previous upgrade of data centres in 2005, which cost £2 million, we spent less than £300,000.”

And for the future?

According to Peter, “We are exploring sharing our packages – the APP-V package - with other like-minded government organisations. With the aim of ‘doing it once’: reducing the time to problem-solve misbehaving apps and deploying application updates in a shorter time-frame.”

To find out more read the full case study here: Isle of Man on the Microsoft Case Study website