Data centre migration planned for Fire & Rescue NSW

Staggered migration of two facilities needed to ensure emergency networks continue to operate 24/7.

Fire & Rescue NSW will be migrating its two data centres in controlled stages in order to ensure 100 per cent network uptime and keep its emergency services operating 24/7.

The data centre migration has arisen as a result of the NSW government’s Data Centre Reform strategy. All NSW government agencies, which includes Fire & Rescue NSW, will be required to move from 130 existing decentralised government data centres into two whole-of-government purpose built facilities by 31 December 2015.

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Speaking at NetIQ’s Rethinking Security conference in Sydney this week, Fire & Rescue NSW IT infrastructure assistant director Malcolm Thompson told delegates that the government mandated data centre strategy would be a positive move for all NSW government agencies.

“These are Tier III data centres and we’re going to get some fantastic benefits such as a new bandwidth and security,” he said. “The [NSW] agencies have been waiting for this for quite some time.”

However, in order for Fire & Rescue NSW teams to respond to emergencies—and ensure the closest NSW fire station is alerted to an incident—the department relies on its communications and IT networks to be running all the time.

Thompson added that a data centre outage, even of half a minute, could mean a very expensive bill for NSW tax payers.

To help manage the migration, the department will be utilising a fibre connection which connects its two existing data centres.

“This fibre connection allows us to switch the data centre very quickly within a few minutes and fail over in the advent of a problem.”

In addition, Thompson said that Fire & Rescue NSW would be making use of virtual storage during the data centre migration.

This technology allows storage memory to be increased by automatically transferring sections of a program from a large capacity storage system, such as disk, into smaller core memory areas as required.

“Our plan is to build a virtual storage environment which will allow us to migrate one of our data centres to the new facility while keeping the second data centre operating,” he said.

Migration of the second data centre will take place about a week after the first facility has been migrated to the new government facility.

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