https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2014/04/17/gov-uk-hosting-simpler-clearer-faster/

GOV.UK hosting - simpler, clearer, faster

Recently the Government Digital Service's infrastructure team moved GOV.UK to a new hosting platform.

Find out what happened ...

Follow the infrastructure team on Twitter:

Sam Sharpe: @SamJSharpe

Bob Walker: @rjw1

Anna Shipman: @annashipman

Brad Wright: @bradwright

Carl Massa: @massacarl

Albert Massa (Operations Manager for GOV.UK): @awmassa

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Transcript

On 25 March the infrastructure team moved GOV.UK to a new hosting platform

Carl Massa, Infrastructure lead, Government Digital Service:

We migrated the entire GOV.UK platform; while it was live and running, we built another platform beside it and switched over seamlessly. There was zero impact on the public and publishers were only out of commission for about two and a half hours. We should be going out to market every year or two years, make sure we're taking advantage of new technologies, ensuring we're getting the best value for the taxpayer. It gave us the opportunity to make things simpler, clearer and faster for the way we work on the inside.

Carl:
"When was the last time?"
Sam Sharpe:
"Three hours ago. Last time was probably when I deployed Puppet."

It took 2 months to prepare

Carl:
What you saw that evening was just the last stop in a really long race. The preparation began about two months before. There was a lot of planning that went into it and a lot of hard work. We were able to take live GOV.UK traffic and push it into this new stack, and get a feel for how it would operate.

And 2 hours 28 minutes to complete

Bob Walker:
"Production is green." "According to our monitoring, everything is now healthy in production."
Sam:
"What is the time now, gentlemen?"
Bob:
"Half-eight."
Sam:
[laughs].

Carl:
We were done in about two hours and twenty eight minutes. So yeah, it was incredible.

And we couldn't have done it without the badger

Carl:
Our developers are constantly pushing new software and new version upgrades onto the website.

Sam:
"Ohh, very important step!"

Carl:
And one way to prevent people from deploying. That is, pushing new versions of software over the top of other people, is by making them insure that they have a physical talisman in their hand. That's where the badger comes in; it's basically our change manager. So if you don't hold the badger, you shouldn't be deploying.

Sam:
"Compose new Tweet." "There we go."

Graham:
"Sam, tell me what you've just tweeted?"

Sam:
"I've just tweeted: 'Just shipped a nation's website from one set of machines to another. #nobiggie." "So we're done. Time to go home."

Bob:
"Yes."

3 comments

  1. Carl Massa

    Sam's published the migration plan here:

    https://gdstechnology.blog.gov.uk/2014/03/28/migrating-govuk-infrastructure/

    And I should have noted that our ability to easily replay production traffic to the new stack came out of the router project:

    https://gdstechnology.blog.gov.uk/2013/12/05/building-a-new-router-for-gov-uk/

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  2. JK

    What software is that at ~19 seconds into the video? Looks awesome...

    Thanks for an interesting video and blog post.

    Link to this comment