Development of cloud strategy

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is a UK government ministry with responsibility for the courts, prisons and the criminal justice system in the UK. It is composed of around 20 smaller agencies, each one of which has its own IT team. 

In 2017 the central Ministry agreed to take over control of the IT of the other agencies. They set up a central department MoJ Digital and Technology, where they would manage the whole IT work for the entire department.

As part of setting up MoJ Digital, drie were asked to draw up a cloud strategy for the new department. The aim of the cloud strategy was to design a pathway that the department could follow to move all of their systems to the cloud by 2020. The different agencies had hundreds of applications, ranging from legacy Java 4 and Oracle 6 stacks, running on SPARC infrastructure, to modern cloud-native apps written in Ruby. 

Our team, led by CEO Kalbir Sohi, went into the ministry and mapped the different types of applications that were running in each agency. With a list of over 250 applications, we then went through and drew up different categories, trying to find common patterns between the applications so that we could approach the migration of groups of applications together. 

This process led us to design a three-stage process for the migration of the MoJ Digital and Technology applications. We identified systems that were not suitable to move to the cloud and specified how we would move them to a “Retirement platform” –  infrastructure that was specifically provisioned for these applications so that they could run for a short time (1-2 years) whilst they were rewritten and replaced by cloud-native applications.

We then split the rest of the applications into cloud-ready and cloud-native categories and designed a way of migrating each set, including project plans and team structures for the teams that would do the migrations. 

The strategy was signed off by the CDIO and CTO of MoJ Digital and Technology and started implementation in December. 

We also helped the department complete a cloud supplier selection – we chose AWS to the be supplier of cloud. As the leading cloud provider with more innovative and reliable offerings it was easy to make the case for AWS to the board. The drie team worked with MoJ Digital and Technology’s in house cloud teams on a pilot migration, moving 6 Java applications to the cloud. Now those teams are implementing the strategy, selecting more of the systems to move and working in small teams to migrate them to cloud.