Centrelink consolidation project gathers pace

Virtualization helps halve server count.

Almost three years after signalling its intention to rationalize its IT infrastructure, national welfare agency Centrelink is beginning to see the fruits of its labour.

As reported by Computerworld, Centrelink is rationalizing its server infrastructure as part of a $312 million infrastructure refresh project, including consolidating Windows and midrange systems.

In August 2005 the agency commissioned a midrange computing and storage project to deliver a number of initiatives aimed at driving down operating costs, according to the national manager for technology architecture and strategies, Peter Gunning.

"[The project is] investigating the consolidation of the NetWare-based file and print, and Windows-based messaging platforms," Gunning said. "As a result, Centrelink has developed a migration strategy to a co-hosted Novell Open Enterprise Server [and] IBM Domino platform hosted on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) kernel."

This direction will allow Centrelink to reduce its distributed server footprint from around a whopping 900 to 450 servers.

Also in the works is virtualization, which is consolidating the x86-based data centre infrastructure, through the implementation of VMware's Virtual Infrastructure 3 products.

Solaris 10 "zones" can also help consolidate existing Sun data centre infrastructure.

"We are also considering opportunities to migrate Sun infrastructure to Linux on a fit-for-purpose, value-for-money basis," Gunning said. "We have performed an analysis of the application environment's compatibility with Linux; however, we have made no commitment at this point to migrate compatible applications."

Gunning said Centrelink is on track to deliver co-hosted file and print and Domino messaging services on the Linux platform, with the implementation expected to be complete by the end of 2007.

"Centrelink will continue to rationalize and simplify our infrastructure to achieve cost savings for the organization," he said.

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