Australian Taxation Office installs new SAN ahead of EOFY

ATO rolls out new storage hardware

Update 9.30 AEST: The ATO suffered a brief website outage, which the agency said was not related to the new SAN.

The Australian Taxation Office took down most of its internal and external systems over the Easter long weekend as the agency migrated to its new storage area network (SAN).

“The SAN migration has been successfully completed, and technicians completed business verification on ATO systems and applications on Monday 17 April,” an ATO spokesperson told Computerworld.

As of Monday, all internal and external systems were operating as normal and available for staff and clients, the spokesperson said.

The agency’s previous HP Enterprise SAN was blamed for a major outage of ATO systems in December. A second SAN-linked outage in February also took down key ATO systems.

Those outages are the subject of a PwC review commissioned by the agency.

The ATO has scheduled additional maintenance windows in April and May as part of the migration to the new SAN, which is part of the organisation’s efforts to ensure it has resilient and stable systems ahead of Tax Time 2017.

“Moving to the new SAN platform is a complex process, and while the component of the migration that required scheduled system outages has been completed, IT work will continue to be carried out throughout April and May,” the ATO spokesperson said.

“We are confident the new hardware will offer a better system for the future and enable us to provide the high quality experience and service the Australian community expects of us.”

Like its predecessor, the new ATO SAN was provided by HP Enterprise.

HPE has been studying the ATO outages to understand the flaw that took down the agency’s systems, with the vendor planning to conduct forensic testing of the ATO’s old primary and backup SANs.

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan told a Senate Estimates hearing earlier this year that 67,000 of the HPE 3Par SANs are in use around the globe “supporting major business operations, including mission-critical ones like trading floors and banking platforms”

“We have two of those 67,000,” Jordan said. Nothing like the failure we experienced has been experienced by any Hewlett Packard client before, so this was an extremely unusual and unfortunate event.”

The ATO’s chief information officer, Ramez Katf, has said he expects the agency to use more cloud systems in the future.

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