HMRC is building out a PaaS and cloud strategy to support its digital services agenda
In a bid to offer a set of new and redesigned digital services HMRC is moving its tax platform to the cloud and rolling out automated infrastructure to support its internal platform as a service (PaaS).
“In HMRC we are scaling up our cloud infrastructure as we prepare to deliver more new and redesigned digital services. These services sit on the “Tax Platform”, our internal platform as a service,” explained Kalbir Sohi, an Infrastructure Digital Service Manager at HMRC.
“Over the last two years developing the Tax Platform we’ve been automating the creation of infrastructure to ensure consistency and quality in our infrastructure by defining it in code and decreasing the amount of time that people in our team spend doing repetitive manual tasks like provisioning and configuring servers.”
In a bid to ease vendor lock-in the organisation has been using a range of open source tools including Puppet, git and VCloud Tools to build and scale the infrastructure over the past two years; it’s also contributing code back to the codebases where relevant.
“We are committed to both using open source products and contributing back to the community to improve them based on what we are doing. This should help us to avoid being tied to one specific supplier or technology but will also allow us to contribute to some of the interesting and novel cloud tools that are emerging — hopefully making these tools more useable for organisations like HMRC,” Sohi explained.
The Tax Platform is designed to make building, testing, deploying and running microservice-based web applications very easy, and is intended to help HMRC embrace a cloud service brokerage model it said would help ease digital service delivery internally and externally.
The organisation’s next step is to focus on scripting networking, storage and compute automation into the platform, and selecting the open source tools to help make its cloud brokerage ecosystem more robust for those maintaining the platform.
“Having access to fast, repeatable, efficient infrastructure will change the way that teams approach building and running the HMRC services that do not fit the platform as a service model. We are changing much more than this too. We are taking a new approach to infrastructure which will shape how we organise ourselves to deliver services in the future. At the heart of this is designing for, and testing with our users.”