NSW Police to overhaul architecture, dump mainframes

Only days after his appointment as the CIO of the NSW Police, Tony Rooke has revealed that the force will completely overhaul its IT architecture and infrastructure dumping the current mainframe platform for Unix-based open systems.

Rooke said the organisation is moving away from mainframe technology into open systems technologies – with variants of Unix yet to be determined - pointing out there are already some flavours in-house, in addition to Linux.

"In terms of our big mainframe applications, we are reviewing the specifications [and] the user requirements. We'll let the responses that come back from the market dictate the technology platforms - whether it's Microsoft or Linux or one of the proprietary Unixes," Rooke said, adding that tenders will be placed next year when a needs analysis is finalised.

The force has also recently engaged in a spot of tactical in-sourcing, reclaiming a data centre previously contracted out to Integra and relocating it to an undisclosed location.

"We have a number of key infrastructure projects which are capital funded which are under way [including] new disaster recovery systems…or disaster avoidance as much as disaster recovery. [This incorporates] utilising our two data centres, hooking them up with high-speed networking using load balancing technology," he said.

"Until quite recently we only had one [in-house] data centre and we had outsourced the second one. We have virtually in-sourced that now. It's a fresh rollout and a fresh perspective. The notion of load balancing is quite different. When it was outsourced it was a hot and cold site."

Rooke also revealed that the force's much publicised COPS2 operational transactions system upgrade will be rolled out progressively to take advantage of the new architecture as it comes online, rather than any attempt to retro-fit a new system to an ageing back-end.

"What we are doing with the infrastructure is laying a new foundation such that when the new COPS[2] system comes, it's got a good, solid, bedded-down technology foundation to sit upon. It's a four- to five-year program. It's being more thoroughly constructed and being broken up into smaller but more manageable bits. That manages the risk of big projects better," he said.

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