Cloud specialists help local authority overcome Windows migration issues after two ‘business critical’ systems fail to upgrade

A Scottish local authority called on cloud computing specialists after two of its business critical systems foundered during an upgrade.

Fife Council worked with London-based Cloudhouse after a system for social workers and a separate corporate asset management tool failed in a planned upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

All other council services were successfully migrated to the new Microsoft platform but SWIFT, the Council’s Social Workers Information System, and COMMIS, the corporate asset management tool, were found to be incompatible with ‘no upgrade path’.

Cloudhouse worked remotely with the council’s inhouse ICT team on an eight-week project that took on the challenge of upgrading 32,000 users across almost 300 sites, including 23,000 in an education department spread across over 250 individual schools. In total, 460 applications had to be upgraded across the council’s corporate department, the “vast majority” of which did so with no issues.

SWIFT is a critical tool for over 600 users across Fife delivering social services. A Cloudhouse compatibility container replaced an App-V v4.5 sequence that was impossible to update to App-V v5 due to the presence of a Java component that could not be upgraded. 

The COMMIS application presented a different set of challenges. A legacy application created in-house almost 20 years ago, there was no media or documentation available. Cloudhouse reverse-engineered the application to understand the install, containerised and tested it, and it’s now been successfully deployed to over 1,000 staff.

Cloudhouse completed all the discovery, containerisation and test support work remotely from their offices in London. Work was completed within eight weeks and Fife Council are so pleased with the outcome, they are now working with Cloudhouse to remediate another application that was previously assumed to be un-migratable – an obsolete version of Bentley Exor.

James Black, Technical Specialist / Access and Mobile Devices Team Leader, Fife Council, said: “It would be fair to say that Cloudhouse has managed to resolve technical issues that we previously thought we wouldn’t be able to resolve and would therefore have to find an expensive mitigation for.

“Being able to deploy these applications as containers, and so avoiding having had to stand up additional infrastructure or tooling, allowing us to delay an expensive upgrade, has helped us keep our project on track and reduce disruption to our customers to an absolute minimum.”

Project Coordinator for this project at Fife Council, Louise McWhirr, added: “The process of working with Cloudhouse has been smooth and professional. 

“We’re dealing with complex applications that are central to some of our staff carrying out absolutely critical work for the people of Fife, so finding a solution that works has been fundamental to the success of our programme.”