The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has moved its websites on to a single, virtualised infrastructure to enable easier management, greater efficiencies and scalability.

It will be managed by Rackspace Hosting, which has announced a three-year deal to provide fully managed support to the Joint Server Farm (JSF) secure hosting environment. The relationship will see MoD, Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force websites consolidated onto the infrastructure.

Through the deal, Rackspace will provide MoD partners with the flexibility to manage and change websites quickly to meet user demand. It will also provide enhanced security from firewalls and intrusion detection devices, which constantly monitor for threats; round-the-clock access to certified engineers; and a 100 per cent network uptime guarantee, backed by its service level agreement.

The JSF is a single infrastructure for all services websites and applications that currently support MoD campaigns, such as the recruiting website for the Army, Start Thinking Soldier and the Army Pathfinder programme.

The MoD created the JSF due to it having disparate sites on different infrastructures, which were hard to maintain, inefficient and unscalable. With the growing influence of the internet it was also decided that a central resource that departments could tap into for their web requirements was needed.

In addition to this, the MoD was bound to meet the Transformational Government Agenda (TGA), which requires rationalisation of websites across all government departments. The MoD also moved to virtual servers for its consolidated infrastructure to provide greater flexibility when managing the sites.

Rackspace is now hosting around 70 per cent of the MoD's websites and the deal extends the company's relationship with ArmyNET, the award-winning portal that allows soldiers to keep in touch with their families.

Brian Thomson, EMEA managing director at Rackspace Hosting, said: “At a time when costs and efficiencies are being brought to the forefront, we know we can truly help simplify the MoD infrastructure to meet these challenges.”
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Tipton, who is in charge of the British Army's web exploitation group, said: “We now have a secure system with the ability to reconfigure at will. We have complete visibility over our system and its components and are beginning to fully appreciate how it all works.”