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Simplifying Public Sector IT

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Irish Revenue Profile

Irish RevenueIrish Revenue is the Irish tax and customs administration, employing approximately 5,968. It deals with almost 3.5 million personal and business taxpayers and collects in the order of €48 billion a year in taxes and duties. It is also responsible for trade facilitation and frontier control. The organization is highly decentralized, with offices in all parts of the country.

Challenge

The Challenge

microservices platform overview

Following the introduction of a new property tax, the Irish Revenue’s IT department was tasked with launching a new service for homeowners who were required to declare their property liability and make a declaration online. It soon became apparent that their existing IT architecture wouldn’t be able to cope with two million property owners accessing the website – potentially at the last minute.

In addition, Irish Revenue wanted to change the way it managed back-ups, fixes, and upgrades. Historically, these were conducted during the evenings which could result in some services being unavailable as night time copies were made and applications tweaked. Therefore, it required a solution which could perform operational tasks seamlessly in parallel with no external effect on service quality.

Crucially, Irish Revenue had two prime solution requirements – high availability and performance. Due to its desire to implement an open-source solution which could handle surges in traffic and store data in-memory, Irish Revenue approached Hazelcast.

“Ultimately Hazelcast was chosen because it was open source, scalable and easy to use. It was up and running very quickly which gave us the confidence to proceed with a full implementation.”
Brian Jones
Senior Architect, Architecture Team, Irish Revenue
"The additional hardware investment we have made has been fully justified through an improvement in service”
James Keane
Manager Servers, Storage, Database and Enterprise Architecture , Irish Revenue
“Previously if we wanted to make application changes it was a major enterprise task, now using Hazelcast we can seamlessly introduce mid-week releases for individual applications. This enables us to micromanage much better, improving our turnaround from a user perspective.”
Damien Mulcahy
Systems Architect, Team Leader of Architecture , Irish Revenue
Benefits

The Benefits

system of nowSince the implementation of Hazelcast IMDG, development and testing effort has been reduced, while quality has improved. Any concerns raised by Irish Revenue have been taken onboard by Hazelcast and enhancements included in the next product release. Deploying Hazelcast IMDG has provided greater availability, which in turn has changed the way Irish Revenue manages new releases, fixes, and enhancements.

Previously done at the weekend, any application changes can now be conducted seamlessly during the week with no impact on service performance. Prior to deploying Hazelcast, the application architecture relied on one application server, so if there was an issue with one application it could result in the downtime of all applications. Now, Irish Revenue is able to isolate applications and conduct application changes on an individual basis.

Using Hazelcast IMDG has enabled Irish Revenue to be more agile and efficient, empowering developers to introduce new customer innovations in the knowledge that there will be no impact on service quality. “With the introduction of the new architecture and the deployment of Hazelcast, testing and development effort has been reduced and overall quality has improved. As we are now storing data in-memory we are using more hardware resource, but the benefits are clear to see. Hardware costs are cheaper than labor costs so, in many respects, it’s about finding the right balance.

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