VMware on AWS is now widely available across the NHS

By migrating workloads to the cloud, NHS Digital was able to build a virtual data centre in just three hours

NHS Trust building

NHS digital has made VMware Cloud on AWS available across the entirety of its organisation in a bid to support efforts to modernise legacy systems and kickstart the rollout of its digital services.

The move is part of NHS Digital's long-term intention to migrate the majority of its services from its current on-premise infrastructure to its AWS and Azure multi-cloud environment, building on its cloud-first approach to delivering healthcare.

"The uptake of digital services in the NHS is accelerating so the NHS and social care's IT backbone must be up to the job," said Rob Shaw, deputy chief executive at NHS Digital. "With VMware Cloud on AWS, we're providing a resilient platform to support digitally-enabled care today and in the future."

"We now have a commercial framework in place to enable NHS and public-sector organizations to confidently use the cloud," he added. "Together we can benefit from the economies of scale and cost efficiencies of this model."

NHS Digital is the UK's healthcare service's IT arm which is currently attempting to undertake one of the most complex digital transformation projects in recent times.

The organisation is notorious for operating on legacy infrastructure and outdated technology, which is why Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a 487 million fund in his inaugural speech last July dedicated for digital projects.

The organisation coordinates and maintains mission-critical IT infrastructure that underpins the NHS and social care, facilitating the needs of 1.4 million staff and 1.5 million social care staff.

"We choose the right cloud for each workload, and VMware Cloud on AWS is the absolute best option for running our vSphere-based environments in the cloud," said Michael Flintoft, associate director of platforms and infrastructure at NHS Digital. "It's easy to move solutions across the different environments and it's easy to run and manage."

"We built a virtual data centre in the AWS cloud in less than three hours," he added. "That speed and agility is just what we need to harness innovation and make the best digital services available for the NHS and social care sector."

However, that's not to say the entirety of the NHS' workloads will be on AWS, as the goal is to have these split across both AWS and Azure, although it's unclear just how long this will take.

Its cloud-first initiative forms just part of the organisation's overall digital transformation. AI and robotics are also are expected to be harnessed in the near future and the current thinking is that within 20 years, 90% of jobs in the NHS will require digital skills.

NHS Digital has been entangled in its fair share of controversy over the past few years. It was slammed heavily for agreeing to share patient health records with Google-owned DeepMind and its data sharing practices again came under fire during the care.data fiasco.

This story previously reported that the NHS was migrating all of its workloads to AWS. This was inaccurate and the story has been updated to reflect this

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