aql Virtual Hosting

Cutting edge Infrastructure as a Service.

aql provides a leading virtual hosting solution to a range of public sector organisations. The service is designed on a bespoke basis to meet our client's specific organisational needs.


  • High specification infrastructure
  • Dedicated infrastructure
  • Continual monitoring and updating of platform
  • Cutting edge Infrastruture as a Service
  • Dedicated professional UK support team 24 x 7 x365
  • Fully compliant cyber security
  • Multiple layers of service redundancy
  • High levels of potential connectivity


  • Safely host system applciations
  • Scalable and highly resilient platform
  • 24x7x365 technical team on hand to help out
  • Tried and tested migration methods available to the platform
  • High performance infrastructure to support resource hungry applications
  • Disaster recovery option available for peace of mind
  • Host any software or system for remote access


£200 to £15000 per virtual machine per month

  • Education pricing available
  • Free trial available

Service documents

G-Cloud 9



Adam Beaumont


Service scope

Service scope
Service constraints The service is subject to the following constraints:

i. Scheduled planned maintenance, notified in advance.
ii. Object storage not available
iii. No IBM Power or UNIX support available
System requirements
  • Operating System
  • Database make, level & support
  • Infrastructure resources, CPU, RAM, Storage
  • Bandwidth size, type, supplier specific
  • Peripheral items such as firewall, application licenses
  • Support levels
  • Single site or multi site requirement

User support

User support
Email or online ticketing support Email or online ticketing
Support response times Response times differ based upon incident severity classification. Response times are also different to incident resolution times.

Response times are as follows:
24 x 7 x 365

Priority 1 - 30mins
Priority 2 - 3 hours
Priority 3 - 8 hours
Priority 4 - 2 working days
User can manage status and priority of support tickets Yes
Online ticketing support accessibility None or don’t know
Phone support Yes
Phone support availability 24 hours, 7 days a week
Web chat support No
Onsite support Yes, at extra cost
Support levels Reactive Service:
Unmonitored service with a team of expert technicians available for advice and incident resolution.

Proactive Service:
Monitored service, with proactive problem resolution without the need to be raised by the client, with a full team of expert technicians available for advice and incident resolution.

Managed Service:
Client has no access to the infrastructure, the service is fully managed end-to-end by the supplier.
Support available to third parties Yes

Onboarding and offboarding

Onboarding and offboarding
Getting started We provide comprehensive remote help for all on boarding purposes. On site help is available at an extra cost.
Typical engagement will start remotely, and develop depending on the level of knowledge and support required. Thus tailored to each customer.
Service documentation Yes
Documentation formats PDF
End-of-contract data extraction There are multiple ways of extracting data at the end point of a contract, depending on the type and nature of the data.
Typical scenarios are backups, vmdk's, replication or service to another system, or specific to a given system.
End-of-contract process We assume that customers will facilitate their own migration away from the platform at the end of a contract. If you require engagement with help from our technicians then we have day rates, or project support to help with this.

Using the service

Using the service
Web browser interface Yes
Using the web interface The service is setup using VMware hypervisor. Each client is given access to their own V-Centre console panel. Through which all aspects of the infrastructure can be remotely monitored and managed
Web interface accessibility standard None or don’t know
How the web interface is accessible Users are given a url and unique user name and passwords to log into the portal
Web interface accessibility testing The VMware tool is standard out of the box and used world wide by thousands of companies. This is industry standard toolset.
Command line interface Yes
Command line interface compatibility
  • Linux or Unix
  • Windows
Using the command line interface Customers are given standard access to the operating system run on the individual virtual machines. Each OS has inbuilt the standard command line tools as published by that manufacturer.


Scaling available No
Independence of resources Our systems are setup in such a way that contention for RAM is not implemented. As memory within a system is the most requested and sensitive area, we chose not contend this resource. You receive what you pay for.
Usage notifications Yes
Usage reporting
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Other


Infrastructure or application metrics Yes
Metrics types
  • CPU
  • Disk
  • Memory
  • Number of active instances
Reporting types
  • Real-time dashboards
  • Reports on request


Supplier type Reseller providing extra support
Organisation whose services are being resold Virtual Harbour Limited

Staff security

Staff security
Staff security clearance Other security clearance
Government security clearance Up to Developed Vetting (DV)

Asset protection

Asset protection
Knowledge of data storage and processing locations Yes
Data storage and processing locations United Kingdom
User control over data storage and processing locations Yes
Datacentre security standards Supplier-defined controls
Penetration testing frequency At least every 6 months
Penetration testing approach Another external penetration testing organisation
Protecting data at rest
  • Physical access control, complying with another standard
  • Scale, obfuscating techniques, or data storage sharding
  • Other
Other data at rest protection approach We use technology defined RAID, and Storage specific tools sets to protect data at rest.
Data sanitisation process No
Equipment disposal approach Complying with a recognised standard, for example CSA CCM v.30, CAS (Sanitisation) or ISO/IEC 27001

Backup and recovery

Backup and recovery
Backup and recovery Yes
What’s backed up
  • Files
  • Virtual machines
  • Databases
  • Application specific subject to plugin availability
Backup controls Backups are specifically controlled by our engineers. Each item can be setup to have unique schedules, retention periods, frequency etc.
Datacentre setup Multiple datacentres with disaster recovery
Scheduling backups Users contact the support team to schedule backups
Backup recovery Users contact the support team

Data-in-transit protection

Data-in-transit protection
Data protection between buyer and supplier networks
  • Private network or public sector network
  • IPsec or TLS VPN gateway
  • Legacy SSL and TLS (under version 1.2)
  • Other
Other protection between networks There are a number of ways in which we segregate data. From dedicated resources, VLAN's, rules, firewalls, VPNs, policies etc.
Data protection within supplier network
  • TLS (version 1.2 or above)
  • Other
Other protection within supplier network VLAN's

Availability and resilience

Availability and resilience
Guaranteed availability Platform availability:

Service Availability during Monthly Review Period: Service Credits as % of Monthly Rental Charge

<99.9%-99.8%: 5% Service Credits
99.79%-99.5%: 10% Service Credits
99.49%-99.0%: 20% Service Credits
98.9%-98.0%: 30% Service Credits
<98%: 40% Service Credits
Approach to resilience We have multiple VMware stacks located in multiple datacentres. The specifics around how this is setup is not publically published due to the sensitivity of its contents. We can discuss and disclose some but not all items in relation to specific requirements at a point in time, case by case basis.
Outage reporting We publish a web page detailing all Outage, or disruptive items. At a point of issue, emails are dispatched to potentially affected parties. Phone calls will be made if required.

Identity and authentication

Identity and authentication
User authentication
  • 2-factor authentication
  • Public key authentication (including by TLS client certificate)
  • Identity federation with existing provider (for example Google apps)
  • Limited access network (for example PSN)
  • Dedicated link (for example VPN)
  • Username or password
  • Other
Other user authentication Typically each customer will have their own requirement and policies in place for accessing systems. We have many ways of granting, or working with you to setup the appropriate connection method
Access restrictions in management interfaces and support channels The management interfaces we use to have manage the underlying infrastructure are completely separate from all other items. Both physically and logically segregated from all systems.
Access restriction testing frequency At least every 6 months
Management access authentication Username or password
Devices users manage the service through
  • Any device but through a bastion host (a bastion host is a server that provides access to a private network from an external network such as the internet)
  • Directly from any device which may also be used for normal business (for example web browsing or viewing external email)

Audit information for users

Audit information for users
Access to user activity audit information No audit information available
Access to supplier activity audit information Users contact the support team to get audit information
How long supplier audit data is stored for User-defined
How long system logs are stored for Between 1 month and 6 months

Standards and certifications

Standards and certifications
ISO/IEC 27001 certification Yes
Who accredited the ISO/IEC 27001 CQS Ltd
ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation date August 2016
What the ISO/IEC 27001 doesn’t cover The certification covers Secure Hosting services. The entirety of the service is therefore believed to be in scope.
ISO 28000:2007 certification No
CSA STAR certification No
PCI certification No
Other security accreditations Yes
Any other security accreditations Cyber Essentials Certification

Security governance

Security governance
Named board-level person responsible for service security Yes
Security governance accreditation Yes
Security governance standards
  • ISO/IEC 27001
  • Other
Other security governance standards IG Toolkit
Information security policies and processes Aql Information Governance and Security Policies are complied with at all times. Such policies have been developed to specifically support the needs and requirements of our products and services.

Operational security

Operational security
Configuration and change management standard Supplier-defined controls
Configuration and change management approach We have a robust, time tested change management process. As this can be unique to each customer we document and work to your requirement to a point so long as this doesn't impede on contractual obligations or other customers.
Vulnerability management type Supplier-defined controls
Vulnerability management approach We have well defined processes within our ISO27001 accreditation to look at vulnerability logging, testing, and reporting plus resolution.
Protective monitoring type Undisclosed
Protective monitoring approach We have a multivendor multifaceted approach to monitoring and protecting our systems, customer systems and details. With GDRP compliant processes.
Incident management type Supplier-defined controls
Incident management approach We have a defined process within our ISO27001:2013 accreditation.
Incidents can be reported by phone or email to ourselves and input into our ticketing system.

Secure development

Secure development
Approach to secure software development best practice Supplier-defined process

Separation between users

Separation between users
Virtualisation technology used to keep applications and users sharing the same infrastructure apart Yes
Who implements virtualisation Supplier
Virtualisation technologies used VMware
How shared infrastructure is kept separate Each customer is segregated using networking, policy and logical separation techniques.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency
Energy-efficient datacentres Yes


Price £200 to £15000 per virtual machine per month
Discount for educational organisations Yes
Free trial available Yes
Description of free trial Infrastructure resources (CPU,RAM,DISK) plus any standard Microsoft operating system or database. Resources will be limited to 3 virtual machines and 2,000GB of disc. Technical resources to help setup the system, generic transit internet bandwidth.
NOT INCLUDED: Applications, Databases such as ORACLE, dedicated bandwidth or sector specific (HSCN, PSN etc) connectivity.


Pricing document View uploaded document
Skills Framework for the Information Age rate card View uploaded document
Service definition document View uploaded document
Terms and conditions document View uploaded document
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