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Technology & Operations Strategic Principles

Version: 1.0.0 - 2019/02/20

1 Support GDS Way endorsed technologies

Technology and Operations (TechOps) supports the development, deployment and reliability of applications and services written in all of GDS’s approved technologies as defined in the GDS Way.

2 Prefer single cloud over multi-cloud architectures

TechOps helps GDS development teams build services as rapidly as possible. We believe allowing them to use a broad range of tools provided by a single cloud provider is preferable to the lowest-common-denominator approach required by being multi-cloud.

We recognise the importance of avoiding lock in to a particular cloud provider. However, we believe it is better to remain provider-agnostic by valuing simplicity over the complexity of being multi-cloud. The choice to use provider-specific features should be balanced by the potential cost of migrating to an alternative provider.

3 Use fully managed cloud services by default

As recommended by the GOV.UK Service Manual and the Government’s Cloud First Policy, TechOps uses fully managed cloud services wherever possible rather than building our own platforms. This is because cloud services are generally cheaper and more reliable than custom-built solutions when all factors are considered. Cloud providers provide more rapid feature development than we could ourselves and often provide better support.

We want to focus our resources on the things that provide the most value to GDS and our users and we believe using cloud services and platforms is an important part of that.

4 Consider security requirements from the beginning

Security requirements are an integral part of everything that we build, operate or run. By considering security requirements from the beginning we will have a system that is less complex, more secure and more reliable. TechOps helps teams to understand and apply the appropriate mitigations.

5 Be open and use open source

As recommended by the Technology Code of Practice point 3 "Be open and use open source

6 Remove unnecessary human effort through automation

TechOps believes humans should not be burdened with tasks that computers can do. We focus our efforts on helping GDS teams deliver user value quicker by allowing them to focus on being creative. We automate away repetitive tasks where it makes sense to do so, but where it does not we challenge and simplify processes.

For example, TechOps promotes the use of continuous deployment for all GDS services. This frees up development teams from the need to perform repetitive deployment tasks so they can focus on improving their service.

7 Enable GDS to build modern, secure and scalable services

TechOps promotes the use of the 12 Factor Application Methodology across GDS as the best way of building easily-deployed, loosely-coupled, composable and scalable services.

TechOps deploys applications in containers, enabling you to decouple your applications’ dependencies from the host operating system.

8 Support a consistent developer experience across GDS

TechOps solves common problems across GDS to allow delivery teams to focus on solving interesting problems that deliver the most value. We solve problems once and reuse those solutions multiple times to get the maximum value from our engineering efforts.

We provide a common set of tools to support a consistent developer experience across GDS delivery teams. We run and support our services in a consistent way to derive the most value from the talented people we have, and to provide a consistent experience as developers move around between teams.

We recognise that conformity is not a goal in itself. We support new ways of doing things when they are simpler, cheaper, more secure, easier to manage or generally enable delivery teams to deliver faster.

Common tooling is the means of delivering best practice at scale across GDS.

9 Favour composability of services over tightly-coupled platforms

Rather than providing large, bespoke and tightly-coupled platforms, TechOps enables delivery teams to integrate composable services together in a simple, consistent way.

This enables the organisation to become more agile as requirements and the landscape change over time.

10 Use data to guide how we add value

As a programme whose work affects all GDS delivery teams, TechOps uses the best available data to guide how it prioritises its activities to deliver the greatest value. We also seek to improve the quality of this data through improved service metrics and user research.

11 Be proactive

TechOps proactively engages with delivery teams to discover opportunities to add value and support the delivery and reliability of GDS services.