CloudStore Website

Off the shelf OSS Magento Underpins Government ICT Marketplace

Background

G-Cloud is a government initiative consisting of several overlapping frameworks that follow OJEU regulations, which allow for the whole of the public sector to buy cloud-based IT services through a marketplace called the CloudStore. The initiative was first started in 2012 to support the Government’s Cloud-first policy strategy.

At present there are four categories of services: Infrastructure, Software, Platform and Specialist Services. Vendors wishing to supply the government need to be listed under the relevant category and their details can then be found on the CloudStore by government departments searching for those services. The information available through the CloudStore gives a transparent view of costs and contracts designed to offer a level playing field for all vendors.

The Project Roll-Out

After a year of the marketplace being available, feedback was gathered and a new site was launched.  This is the beauty of using a cloud model, is the ability to develop and change easily, learning from experience and keeping the good while improving where required.

As the CloudStore is essentially a shop front for hundred's of pre-approved suppliers to show off their products and services the Government Digital Service considered Magento to be the best open source ecommerce platform on the market to achieve this.

Selecting Memset from the CloudStore, GDS were able to draw on Memset’s experience of hosing magento environments and were able to help build a robust and scalable infrastructure to support the evolving requirements of the CloudStore.

We set up four Miniserver VM virtual servers to host web and SQL servers. The servers are accredited to CESG PAN government impact level 2 (IL2) meaning they have been through stringent processes to ensure that the data hosted is in a secure environment. The web servers have been load balanced, meaning traffic is diverted through 2 replicated servers ensuring that high availability is achieved due to the critical nature of the website. These are then connected to a database server through a private vLan ensuring the servers can communicate through a secure network. To enhance the speed of processing, SSD disks are used in the database server.

Successes

By using a UK SME as their preferred hosting provider, GDS have reaped all the benefits that the G-Cloud framework set out to achieve. With UK-based data centres, data is not accessible by any third party and the tight security policies have allowed Memset to gain the IL2 accreditation further enhancing the security of data for the Cloudstore.

Using cloud technology, GDS are paying only for the resources they require and not for over powered machines which are under utilised saving considerable costs and adding to their green credentials. On top of this, by using open-source technologies Memset can keep the costs down by avoiding heavy license fees.

Cloud technology has also enabled high availability through load balancing the front end web servers. This ensures that visitors can access the site and view all the suppliers details 24/7 making sure that business can continue at all times.

Last updated 21 April 2016, 10:08 GMT