Queensland Rail goes for gold with internet hosting

Seeks managed services Microsoft gold partner

Rail network operator Queensland Rail has made the decision to move from hosted internet functions to managed services in a bid to save money.

According to the operator, managed services will provide a secure Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 production environment that will be accessible to public users as well as pre-production environments for technical staff and content managers.

It also plans to upgrade to SharePoint 2010 in the future.

Queensland Rail anticipates the move to managed services will reduce the cost of hosting, increase availability and improve disaster recovery readiness. Better hosting and deployment processes along with cost effective scalability is another expected outcome.

According to department documents, the managed services offering will support up to 350,000 visits per month, approximately 70 per cent of these being new website.

The agency has implemented an interim solution for hosting the internet site following its separation into two companies, Queensland Rail and QR National, on 1 July 2010. QR National is a publicly listed coal and freight business. This decision was made by its owner, the Queensland Government, in 2009.

“This solution involves a third party providing the hosting service until a suitable replacement can be found via a request for hosting services," the documents read. "The existing arrangement was required to provide hosting during the transition period while Queensland Rail was being separated.

"Moving forward it is necessary for Queensland Rail to seek a permanent solution and enter into its own contractual arrangements with a service provider."

The website is hosted on dedicated servers while pre-production sites have been hosted internally.

A Microsoft gold certified partner who can prove compliance with recognised IT process and security standards/certifications will be selected following the tender.

The scope of the new managed services includes operation and support of the public facing internet site and disaster recovery actions in the event of a production site outage.

It also covers deployment of content from pre-production environments to the production environment and shifting content to pre-production environments, environment patching and security administration.

The website will need to be compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards and allow access for Queensland Rail users such as administrators, content managers, developers and release controllers.

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