How do you make DII as affordable and as efficient as possible?

The Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) is an enormous undertaking. In fact, it’s the largest and most complex infrastructure rollout in Europe ever seen and one of the most successful IT projects within Government to date.

This success is due in no small part to the commitment of the Defence Information Services Team, ATLAS and wider MOD teams working jointly to drive out inefficiencies and increase efficiencies throughout the Defence Sector in every aspect of the programme - and to simply make the implementation of DII more affordable.

The challenge meant maximising the benefit of legacy closure, scrutinising the smallest of details to reduce the cost and number of new installations wherever possible, and finding innovative ways to also reduce the costs of applications, software and systems across the entire programme. 

Regardless of how the challenge was met, efficiencies and cost savings could not be at the expense of security which has remained of paramount importance at every stage of the DII programme to date.

Working together to deliver the benefits of DII

A partnership approach

The collaborative working of a mature partnership approach with the MOD has its benefits. Taking a flexible approach and co-ordinating the planning of DII at the right level to reflect the MOD’s priorities, removed some £50 million of potential costs from the Defence budget for example, by systematically driving the replacement of 28 ageing and vulnerable legacy systems.

Standardisation of capabilities

Replacing ageing and diverse systems with a single information infrastructure enables better communication, more efficient ways of working and greater value for money. The agility and flexibility of this standardised approach has enabled ATLAS to design and deploy systems at short notice, supporting and reducing risk to NATO forces in Afghanistan and other live operations.

MOD data centres

How do you meet the need for more data centres without building new ones?

ATLAS did it by helping the MOD convert existing buildings on its estates into world class data centres. It’s a simple idea, but it solves more than the problem of data storage and it even does more than save significant expenditure. It also addresses the issue of security as the buildings were already on MOD estates with robust physical security measures in place.

A certificate of commendation

“This award recognises the team’s success in driving an aggressive programme to close ageing and vulnerable legacy Information Technology systems to minimise operational risk, enable Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) to operations and to avoid over £50 million in unfunded costs to the Ministry of Defence.”

Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel
May 2011

By replacing and transferring the functionality of more than...


...legacy systems, ATLAS generated cost savings of some £0.35 billion.

Many existing MOD applications have been integrated into the DII infrastructure, which has generated cost savings of some £0.35 billion from the early closure of more than 300 legacy systems and their associated overheads.

Why build new when you can build a case for saving money?

ATLAS identified that by creating world class data centres in existing MOD buildings wherever possible, was a much better and cost-effective solution than specifying new build. The team’s expertise and innovative use of technology has also enabled the MOD to shrink their growing requirements for data storage into these existing MOD buildings. Both these measures have resulted in significant cost savings.

Roll out a staged approach, roll on greater affordability

By making the implementation schedule match the payment schedule, DII was made more affordable.

ATLAS has transferred over 36.0 terabytes of data from legacy systems - which is more than three times the printed collection of the Library of Congress. Of course this couldn’t be done overnight. The capability had to be rolled out in a way that was affordable and right for the MOD, which meant closing some of the legacy systems - and ending the legacy cost - to make the implementation schedule match the payment schedule. It also meant ensuring the most expensive legacy sites were identified and switched off as soon as possible.

This was something that had never been done before. ATLAS worked closely with the MOD, gaining a full understanding of their priorities in order to create a workable schedule which hit all the right criteria.

Other ideas for greater efficiency in the implementation of DII included using the expertise, know-how and resources to assist the MOD in converting existing buildings into world class data centres - and to offer short-term storage solutions until the conversions were completed by providing rented space in an HP data centre.