Scotland's Digital Future: Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy for the Scottish Public Sector

The data hosting and data centre strategy sets the vision that Scotland’s public sector data hosting is cost-effective, carbon neutral and makes appropriate use of cloud technology, for the delivery of efficient and highly available ICT services.

Annex H - Managed Service Model for the public sector

Service Model Advantages Disadvantages Exemplar
Managed service ICT managed service companies proactively manage an organisations infrastructure services and applications. Also known as the outsourcing, this is where the vendor takes complete, end-to-end responsibility of a set of deliverables in an organisation. The Vendor may also have complete decision making responsibilities in providing an agreed set of deliverables and is best used when the work can be clearly scoped out with clearly marked out deliverables. For this model to work, the vendor should have an excellent understanding of the client's systems. The client in turn should be confident enough to hand over the piece of work to the vendor. There also needs to be clearly marked out Service Level Agreements ( SLAs) for each deliverable and penalties applicable for non-delivery.
  • Skills required can be easily bought.
  • IT departments pay only for what they need, freeing up vital funds for other projects and activities.
  • Helps organisations devote more time to focusing on core activities.
  • Improved customer service, due to the underlying service level agreement.
  • Flexibility to grow without worrying about boundaries or restrictions an in-house IT capability.
  • Organisations may lose control over customer service issues
  • An over reliance on a third party may make it difficult to switch poorly performing providers halfway through a contract.
  • Terms and conditions may also restrict early exit if the business relationship breaks down.
  • Potential new security threats to sensitive data from a rogue employee of the provider.
  • Culture mismatch between client and vendor organisation can often result in lack of understanding among both parties, which in turn can affect deliverables.

David MacBrayne Excessive time and capital in the operation and maintenance of a rigid and ageing infrastructure was impacting the organisation ability to focus on its core business. The IT environment was inflexible and incapable of adapting quickly to new needs and demands. The infrastructure was both complex and costly restricting investment and growth into new, flexible methods of working and any new projects were constrained by the limitations of the environment and the expense associated with system deployment on the current legacy infrastructure. David MacBrayne assessed their business options and felt their business objectives would be best served through a managed service. The service provides a modern, flexible, efficient, resilient infrastructure capable of serving the current IT requirements. It will also provide a platform which is optimised for efficient scalability / adaptation to meet the on-going business objectives. Provision of infrastructure capability through industry leading resilient Tier 4 datacentre services (including true secondary location live DR capability for top 10 systems, fire suppression, environment monitoring, resilient communications and power) greatly reduces the risk of service outage which was significant with the current in-house computer room facility. Highland Council

Highland Council estimates they will make savings of over £1,000,000 through the reduction in power and £175,000 through standardising the technology they now use.

Highland Council implemented a highly resilient managed datacentre facility to replace their existing disparate legacy ICT infrastructure which was outdated, overcrowded with obsolete fire systems and inefficient cooling facilities, lacked resilient power supplies and telecommunication links. The objective of the data centre transformation project was to initiate a transformation in server and storage technology that would allow the council to utilise virtualisation and clustering to bring more standardisation to their infrastructure and enable an easier move to embrace further externally hosted services and cloud offerings. The move ensures Highland Council is well positioned to deliver effective and efficient digital public services.

Strategic Benefits How
Increased flexibility enabling an improved service delivery. The use of an externally hosted world class data centre using leading edge technology has enabled the Highland Council to virtualise servers and provide increased flexibility in the deployment of applications to users.
Reduced carbon footprint (CO 2). The increased clean processing delivered by the datacentre has reduced the carbon footprint and power consumption. The consolidated infrastructure requires less power and cooling, therefore reducing the overall carbon footprint.
Supports business change. The elimination of the datacentre from Authority accommodation has realised an accommodation saving. The Council ensured this space was used by Service Departments and this has contributed to the Council's Asset Rationalisation Programme.
Better use of ICT infrastructure. Has led to greater efficiency in deployment of infrastructure and better service.
Improved disaster recovery capability. The establishment of a contracted DR service is providing greater resilience for the operational service.
Increase service levels. The service level is achieved via a fully managed, world class data centre.
Financial Benefits How
Lower power costs. The lower power consumption is achieved because of the investment in more energy efficient data centre infrastructure and reduced space requirements.
Optimised costs. The elimination of under used capacity delivered a saving on infrastructure cost. In some cases eliminating capital expenditure cost of additional hardware. This is because of greater virtualisation of servers and the sharing of other data centre infrastructure components (storage, back up etc.) across platforms.
Lower running costs overall. The increased automation using enterprise management tools has contributed to an overall efficiency gain. Higher levels of embedded management and the ability to centrally deploy applications and manage data centre components remotely.


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