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Northern Ireland Civil Service anticipates significant savings from HP Helion Private Cloud


IT assist 2.PNG

The Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) is one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers with over 27,000 people providing or supporting a range of public services including benefits and pensions, employment advice, road maintenance, industry development, and agriculture. The NICS is comprised of twelve departments and are responsible for supporting Northern Ireland’s Assembly, executive branch, and its institutions of government.  



In 2006, the NICS created IT Assist, an internal ICT shared service organization to provide shared services for its various departments. IT Assist has been hugely successful, delivering improvements to services as well as significant efficiencies. It is therefore not surprising that the organization has started extending its services into the wider public sector as more and more organizations seek to focus on their end customers, allowing someone else to manage the burden of data centres and infrastructure. This places an onus on IT Assist to continually look for ways to improve its level of service while gaining additional efficiencies.


After assessing the opportunities offered by cloud technology, the organization wanted a private cloud to increase the performance and agility of its services and reduce the costs associated with delivering these services—without compromising on security and resilience. The team believed that a private cloud could be developed for NICS, which would reduce its carbon footprint, and therefore data centre costs, by using hardware more efficiently, it could also improve customer satisfaction by enabling IT Assist to deliver compute is a more agile and responsive way, even allowing customers to order their own compute if they chose to do so. Additionally, the capability to automate many more support tasks would enable IT Assist to use more of its expertise in developing solutions by freeing up staff tied into supporting services. Finally, NICS felt that by being in a position to exercise more control over and efficiency in the use of software, it could save significantly on licensing fees. To that end, it was also attracted to the concept of making greater use of Open Source software.


Following a procurement competition carried out through the European Journal and a full evaluation process, a contract was awarded to HP in the spring of 2014.



Throughout the selection process, the HP team closely collaborated with NICS, demonstrating its expertise and commitment to deliver a high-performance cloud solution.


The NICS team ultimately chose an end-to-end HP Helion Private Cloud, built on the HP CloudSystem platform, which is part of the Helion portfolio of cloud services. The new private cloud is based on HP BladeSystem portfolio servers, HP 3PAR Storage and HP Networking solutions.


NICS is especially excited about HP Helion OpenStack® technologies, which offers heterogeneous capabilities for an open and flexible cloud environment. HP Helion Professional Services is also providing NICS with the technical experts to plan, design, and implement the private cloud solution.



HP CloudSystem is a converged solution that will enable NICS to automate its cloud services for existing clients, gaining efficiencies and freeing up time for its staff to provide new services for local governments.


The NICS current data centers—one active and one standby—will transition to active-active data centers for even greater productivity and the flexibility to balance workloads and manage maintenance activities. And since the private cloud will reside in two data centers running in parallel, NICS can improve performance levels and eliminate disruptions for its clients.


NICS also anticipates significant cost savings through the consolidation of its platforms and a smaller data center footprint. Combined with gains in productivity and a highly efficient operation, NICS expects to exceed its cost savings objective of 25 percent.


For more information, click here to access the feature video with NICS.

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HPE Helion Cloud Stories - Bringing you the stories of HPE Helion from our customers and partners!

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