AWS Public Sector Blog

Mission: Delivering at speed

tube train speeding past in a blur at station at night

From speeding the time to science to accelerating the delivery of critical citizen services, our customers are migrating to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud to successfully deliver on their missions. Our current environment has pushed us all into new ways of learning, working, and even socializing. And the cloud has made these recent changes and innovations possible.

Whether you’re a large agency or a small organization, the cloud allows you to quickly innovate, experiment, and iterate. Instead of waiting weeks or months for hardware, you can instantly deploy new applications, scale up as your workload grows, and scale down based on demand. Some of our customers start small with the cloud to test the waters while others dive right in and migrate their mission-critical applications. Either way, shifting away from legacy IT to the cloud has allowed our public sector customers to achieve in days, weeks, and months what used to take years.

So wherever you are on your cloud journey, these customer examples can offer a playbook and inspiration for how organizations can leverage the cloud to innovate quickly and deliver on behalf of citizens.

Speeding development tenfold

To support business growth, Ambita, a Norwegian technology company that provides land information services for property buyers, vendors, real estate agents, solicitors, lenders, insurance companies, and government agencies, wanted to migrate applications out of its data center environment. The on-premises environment was increasingly cost-prohibitive and did not support the company’s new DevOps model.

Ambita chose to migrate its application environment to AWS, where it can now better support its DevOps approach. The agility of AWS helps the company develop applications and features faster.

“For us, the biggest value of migrating to AWS is the increased speed of innovation and development we’re experiencing now,” said Halmøy Wisløff, chief technology officer, Ambita. “Our teams are now creating feature prototypes up to 10 times faster. We are spending more time exploring how we can deliver new services to our customers, creating things that don’t exist today.”

In the coming months, the organization expects to implement new AWS services like artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. “With the pace of innovation on AWS, it feels like we’re on a high-speed train, and we will be faster than our competitors,” Halmøy Wisløff said.

Seven years of compute time in seven days

At Seattle’s Fred Hutch Microbiome Research Initiative (MRI), a team of researchers are engaged in analysis of the microbiome, which is the collection of microbes on and inside the human body. But these researchers aren’t just studying the microbiome—they’re striving to manipulate microbiomes to make therapeutic cancer drugs more effective.

To support their efforts, researchers must analyze and process an immense number of whole genome datasets. Dr. Sam Minot, PhD and staff scientist at Fred Hutch MRI, chose AWS to power the high-performance computing (HPC) platform that runs microbiome analysis.

Using AWS, Dr. Minot’s group has the scalability to analyze publicly available datasets that contain data on more than 15,000 biological samples, each representing a gigabyte of storage. As a result, they have performed seven years of aggregate compute time in seven days, giving researchers the ability to get results faster and ultimately speed research that will find therapeutics for cancer treatments.

“Running our microbiome research on Amazon EC2 Spot Instances, we spend less money and less time to get scientific answers from the analysis,” says Dr. Minot. “Our goal is to accelerate our research processes on AWS so we can get closer to developing therapeutics to fight cancer.”

Accelerating application development

Victorian Land Registry Services (VLRS), the private operator of land registry services in the Australian state of Victoria, manages all property-related transactions for the state, such as transfers, mortgages, and discharges. To deliver high availability with scalable and compliant applications, VLRS completed the migration of its applications from an on-premises environment to AWS.

Since migrating to AWS, VLRS has increased its agility and reduced its development and deployment time, releasing new software features faster.

“The agility we have from building on AWS has made deployment much easier for us,” said Ani Chakraborty, business transformation director, VLRS. “Previously, code deployments would take us up to two days, but we can do them in about four hours now, so we can actually release new features more regularly instead of twice a year. We can also update our application faster, which means we can provide fewer scheduled outages to our customers.”

Leveraging AWS as a platform to design and deliver solutions is a key aspect of the organization’s forward-looking thinking culture and roadmap. “This is a never-ending journey for us,” said Chakraborty. “We can only get better.”

Speeding time to diagnosis

On the front lines of the pandemic, Dr. Duncan Ferguson, a resident in the University of British Columbia radiology department, works at Vancouver General Hospital in Canada. His team uses machine learning to speed the time to diagnose COVID-19.

Dr. Ferguson’s work is a part of the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative (DDI) to support organizations in diagnostic research in rapid and accurate patient testing for COVID-19.

Listen to our Fix This podcast episode featuring Dr. Ferguson and others to learn more.

These customers have shown that the cloud is mission critical for any public sector organization that wants to do more with less and do it faster than ever before. These new approaches may evolve, but they are here to stay. And speed matters—for every mission.

Learn more about how other mission-focused organizations use the cloud in my previous blog posts: