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Aberdeen City Council embarks on shared services push with help from Brightsolid

Local authority claims datacentre migration project should pave way for further shared service initiatives and wider cloud use

Aberdeen City Council has outlined details of its push to adopt a shared services approach to IT delivery, which has seen it shift its entire IT estate to Brightsolid’s managed private cloud.

The local authority has joined forces with neighbouring Aberdeenshire Council to procure BrightSolid’s services via the Scottish Government’s Hosting ServicesFramework.  

The arrangement is due to last three years and will cost around £1m per annum. It has already seen Aberdeen City Council migrate its IT systems to Brightsolid in just six weeks.

Sandra Massey, IT manager at Aberdeen City Council, told Computer Weekly the expiration of the council’s previous five-year, fully managed datacentre contract with another supplier was one of the reasons behind the move.

“The two big things for us were that we wanted to share infrastructure, and reduce our costs,” she said.

“We had elements of private cloud in the previous contract, and what we are hoping to see with the new arrangement is more flexibility in extending the use of that, particularly in conjunction with Aberdeenshire.”

Improved connectivity and savings

As well as the private cloud element, the deal will also see Brightsolid take responsibility for managing Aberdeen City Council’s storage infrastructure, although it plans to retain control of the server side of its operations.

With the migration already complete, Massey said the organisation has already begun to reap some benefits, and plans to use this project as a springboard to do more on both the shared services and cloud front.

“We’re seeing improved connectivity, partly because the new datacentre is so much closer to the council’s officers, so we don’t have the latency we used to,” she said.

“We are also seeing some immediate operational savings, and we feel more in control of our environment again.”

Read more about public sector datacentre projects

A capital-wide hybrid cloud, underpinned by the London Public Services Network, is in the works that could eventually provide local councils with off-premise access to commonly used applications and services.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is to embark on a £1.5m hybrid cloud datacentre refresh project so it can combine its existing on-premise infrastructure with new services offered through the government’s G-Cloud framework.

DC Thompson-owned Brightsolid operates three datacentres in Scotland and previously hailed the public sector, along with the oil and gas market, as keen users of its facilities.

The company claims its knowledge of the local market played a key role in securing it the deal, along with its ability to carry out the migration in a tight, six-week timeframe.

Richard Higgs, CEO of Brightsolid, added: “Aberdeen City Council has a very exciting vision that includes working collaboratively with other local councils, engaging with the community and providing high-quality provision of connectivity for everyone.

“When we made the decision to open a facility in Aberdeen, our intention was to help the city become a centre of technological excellence. Winning this business shows it’s truly something we can do,” Higgs added.

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