AWS Case Study - NHS Business Services Authority

About

NHS Business Service Authority (NHSBSA) is a Special Health Authority that provides a number of UK-wide services for the NHS including all UK prescription payments and administering the pensions for all NHS staff. Over £34.9 billion of NHS funding per year is accounted for by the NHSBSA - that's equivalent to over a quarter of the entire NHS budget.

Challenge

In 2013 the UK Government introduced a 'Cloud First' policy for all technology decisions where it was strongly recommended that public sector services adopt cloud services and technologies. Following this direction, the NHSBSA has invested time and effort into procuring cloud technologies, with the purpose of reducing application deployment times and manual intervention, whilst also delivering overall cost savings based on a 'Right Cloud' approach.

NHSBSA wanted to find an infrastructure supplier who could provide them with unfettered access to cloud services from any supplier. The provider also needed the public sector experience and technical expertise to design, build, secure and operate hosting using a collaborative approach.

Why Arcus & Amazon Web Services?

As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Managed Services Partner, the quality of our managed service is rigorously assessed every year by external assessors. One of the fundamental requirements from the NHSBSA was they needed a supplier with public sector experience and positive feedback.

Arcus was the the first partner in Europe to achieve the AWS Public Sector Competence. The NHSBSA also liked the simplicity of Arcus’ support pricing which makes it easy to predict costs and gain business case approval.

The NHSBSA's main goal was to remain ‘cloud agnostic’ to allow their cloud platform to be migrated to another cloud supplier if cost savings or better service offerings can be leveraged, and use open source tooling that can deploy to several cloud providers. Arcus and the NHSBSA worked in collaboration to build a shared responsibilities platform, with Arcus providing and managing the security on the environment. This allowed the NHSBSA to concentrate their resources on managing a workload platform for applications to be hosted from.

Benefits

  1. Within five months of procuring Arcus, the NHSBSA had a series of secure, live AWS environments with N3 connectivity and deployed the first wave of over 80 applications
  2. The lead time for a new server to be built has dropped from over six months to three minutes
  3. Initial indications show that the new infrastructure will be up to 75% cheaper than its predecessor
  4. The NHSBSA now benefits from a shared responsibility model where: 
    • AWS provides low-cost, resilient infrastructure
    • Arcus manages, monitors and ensures security
    • The NHSBSA team builds and deploys applications

“The NHSBSA's engagement has been a positive collaborative experience with Arcus Global allowing knowledge, experience and ideas to be shared freely. Arcus have enabled the NHSBSA to bolster the security of our Cloud Platform with the knowledge and experience that they provide. Arcus also provide confidence and ensure the platform remains as secure as possible, which also has enabled the NHSBSA to become exemplars of cloud hosting within the UK Healthcare sector."
Chris Suter, Lead DevOps Engineer, NHSBSA