Design and build of green-field Digital service

01.

Client

UK government body established to over see a significant multi-year, multi-billion pound transformation programme.

02.

Challenge

To support a transformation on this scale, a new limited company was created.  The new company needed a brand new digital service to be created in six months to facilitate it’s operations in a cost effective manner,  support onboarding of thousands of 3rd parties and contractors, and provide a flexible data analytics platform for it’s 15+ year lifespan.  AirWalk were selected as the lead technology implementation partner.

With any migration to Cloud or when building applications in the Cloud, the visibility of the environment is critical to ensure the quality and availability of applications.

Traditional tools are too static or require too much ‘per-endpoint’ configuration to be useful in a dynamic environment.

Native tools, while being great at catering for rapid change, are generally focused on one particular cloud or use-case.

Customers need systems that provide Metrics, Logs, Events, Alerts and Application Traces. These inputs need to feed operational teams, security (SOC) teams as well as for general management information (MI).

To provide complete insight, it is also important to visualise the changes that might affect the running systems.

Whilst these requirements can all be met by point solutions, this would result in a duplication of data, a multitude of different up and downstream integrations and/or limited cross-consumption of useful data.

03.

Solution

AirWalk were engaged to design, build and operate a green-field Digital service capable of supporting 1000+ users. We leveraged a fully-cloud native solution using Elastic alongside Microsoft’s 365 and Azure service stack, integrated with ServiceNow, to build a bespoke, cost-effective common platform for the programme.

To solve the problem of end to end visibility we deployed ‘AirWalk Consolidated Observability’

The solution is based around Elastic.co – a massively scalable document store, specifically tuned for log and metric data combined with visualisation and data ingestion frameworks.

Data is sourced from any number of external systems; each with their own format and API for collection or emiction of the data.

All data is normalised on the ingress path to a common schema so that queries and alerts are uniform regardless of the source system.

Complimentary features include:

  • Integration into IT Service Management Systems to collect and publish data on Assets/Configuration Items, Changes, Problems and Incidents,
  • CMDB structures and best practices to cater for Cloud-native resources as well as more traditional server-based infrastructure
  • Integration with Continuous Delivery to analyse and correlate changes as when as well as analysis of Risk with integration into the ITSMS whilst still delivering agility, rapid iteration and DevOps alignment at scale

And on top of that, we built common systems for alerting, reporting and data visualisation.

04.

Outcome

AirWalk designed and built ‘AirWalk Consolidated Observability’ with Elastic.

Leveraging Kubernetes clusters deployed on public cloud using Terraform, our platform aggregates data from a large variety of sources, providing a single, central view used by diverse stakeholder groups, with integration into Service Now to alert and track the resolution of issues.

Log collection, normalisation and scalable ingestion are configured for the entire IT estate, covering Office 365 (including Endpoint Security), Azure and associated applications.

This provides complete visibility of the E2E environment and facilitates analysis, machine learning (actionable insights), alerting, dashboards and data exploration

All elements built as Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to facilitate maximum flexibility and automation, with Azure DevOps underpinning agile delivery

Delivery of the solution was achieved within just 4 months from start to launch

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