Public Health Scotland: Posit Deployment

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Public Health Scotland


Public Health

The Challenge

The IT infrastructure for Public Health Scotland is managed by National Services Scotland, who came to Jumping Rivers with an existing Posit (formerly RStudio) deployment that was unable to provide a stable and reliable platform at a scale that met the requirements. Issues included inconsistent package versioning, which caused analyses that ran on one node to fail on another.

The system set up did not meet the needs of the users, leading to improper provisioning of the computational resources for the users. It allowed a single task to overload the system, blocking all other users from running tasks. There was a mismatch in the intent of the system with the users requirements.

The Project

Jumping Rivers were brought in to build a replacement Posit platform, and to assess the computational set up and the user understanding to identify where there had been a mismatch. JR had previously worked on multiple projects with similar goals of optimising Posit Team implementations in order to deploy applications at scale.

It transpired that a cloud solution in a scalable fashion, along with education for both the system engineers and the users of the software would be able to achieve efficient use without impacting on others or overloading the system. Jumping Rivers also updated the configuration of the build such that overloading would no longer be possible. Ongoing support includes the provision of documentation around efficient programming to avoid the possibility of such issues in the future.

Our Results

Jumping Rivers deployed Posit software in a cloud environment that is accessible from various locations and for users and stakeholders. This scalable solution has been designed such that all users have access to the computational resources required for their tasks, without impacting the work of others, with the potential to increase the number of users with no further impact. There are currently around 400 data scientists at PHS using this system.

The staff at NSS required training; educational documentation on efficient R programming, as well as how to set up the software to ensure best practices are followed, has been provided.

The Posit system is in Azure cloud on a test environment ready for internal testing before going into production. Jumping Rivers continues to provide ongoing support during the transition, as well as security advice for the systems to ensure that security best practices are followed.