Crossrail Limited is delivering a new railway for London and the South East. Europe’s largest infrastructure project, it is building 42km of tunnels, 10 new stations and improving many more. The finished railway, which will be named the Elizabeth line when it opens in central London in 2018, will be a fully accessible route of 40 stations from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The railway will change the way people travel – it will add 10% to Central London’s rail capacity, reduce journey times and increase choice.

The Solution

It was significantly quicker to use the Microsoft Azure platform to update the applications rather than a pre-existing hosted datacentre. Crossrail was also able to benefit from the flexibility and full control offered by Azure. Crossrail worked with Cognizant Microsoft Business Group (formerly New Signature) to design the Azure infrastructure networking and environment. Using Cognizant Microsoft Business Group’s App Factory methodology, the team approached this with a view to building a long term, secure and scalable infrastructure in which to provision IT services for immediate and future business requirements.

The Challenge

One of Crossrail’s software upgrade projects for a key application was time critical, which presented the opportunity to leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure platform to allow for rapid deployment of IT systems. Speed was of the essence and, by using Azure, Crossrail was able to work with Cognizant Microsoft Business Group to build the required server and networking infrastructure in a fraction of the time it would have taken on-premises. This enabled the deployment of updated versions of key legacy business applications used within the organisation.

Our initial requirements were to build out the Azure environment to enable us to test and upgrade a small but critical application in a short time frame. The Microsoft Azure cloud platform allowed us to do this quickly, without the typical lengthy lead times and expenses associated with such a project.

The result has been a resilient, scalable platform that will allow implementation of further services in the future. The implementation was painless and the level of professionalism and support provided by Cognizant Microsoft Business Group was excellent.

Chris Waters, Head of Technology and Architecture | Crossrail

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