Dept of Environment and Climate Change shares Cloud migration lessons

Director of service delivery, Kal Thompson, says the Department has been able to consolidate vendors and reduce expenses

IT staff at the Department of Environment and Climate Change in Canberra no longer have to be the “heroes” when equipment breaks down now that data and services have been migrated to the Cloud.

Speaking at the IDC Cloud 2.0 Conference in Sydney, director of service delivery, Kal Thompson, told delegates that his department was going through service withdrawal symptoms at present.

“We used to be the heroes who worked all night to get a server back up and running,” he said.

“These days, no one [at the Department] calls us but that’s a good thing. We also had to get used to the fact that we’re not the customer anymore, the business is the customer because we’re the last step in the supply chain.”

However, the Cloud migration also provided a few lessons for Thompson along the way. For example, he said data sovereignty was a big issue as the Department was transferring applications between vendors.

“We had to ask where they were located, what were they doing with our data and how much of our data could they see,” he said.

“You have to ensure the data remains in Australia and the entire network that the data is transitioning across is managed to the same level of classification as the primary site.”

It also had to comply with the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Government 2.0 Cloud standards so Thompson was tasked with working on a service level agreement (SLA) with its provider, ASG Group.

This was partly to avoid the possibility of the Department’s business units ordering services over the internet.

“As a third party, you are introducing a degree of delay in doing that but, in theory, you’re providing management and control for the business in doing it that way,” he said.

“One of the big risks is if you end up with too many services of any kind you’re going to end up with poor value for money and you won’t know who to call if systems go down.”

Following the Cloud migration, the Department was able to reduce the number of technical engineering staff thereby saving costs and desk space.

“We found that locating desks to accommodate engineers was an enormous expense so reducing that was critical,” Thompson said.

He added that another advantage of moving to the Cloud was the ability to be able to work with ASG Group and develop a relationship where they could bounce ideas off each other to improve the service delivery chain.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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