Department of Human Services finalises hosting consolidation

Macquarie Telecom oversees hosting virtualisation, reduces support time

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has virtualised its internet hosting environment as a means of reducing hosting costs as well as improving business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities.

The project, run with partner Macquarie Telecom, involved the consolidation of most of the DHS’ networking and security infrastructure as well as 36 physical servers and 42 virtual servers to eight HP blade servers.

In addition to cutting costs and increasing reliability, the project is expected to provide power savings of up to 83 per cent.

Further, the time for the DHS to set up new services and websites has been reduced from three to four weeks to three to four days.

The announcement follows news from the DHS in December that it had pushed back requests to in-source the infrastructure of smaller government agencies, including internet hosting requirements, due to internal staffing issues and the sheer amount of work. The government department - which has become a bastion of shared services consolidation - has agreed to in-source the Department of Veterans’ Affairs infrastructure and relevant staff.

The agency also intends to deploy a tailored social media monitoring tool with an aim to better listen and respond to conversations concerning the department’s offerings.

The tool, developed for the past year in-house in collaboration with CSIRO, would be deployed for all staff across the department’s individual agencies, including Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support. It will replace the free Google Alert and socialmention media monitoring applications currently in use by staff.

In August it was revealed by DHS deputy secretary of ICT infrastructure, John Wadeson, that Centrelink’s IT systems were hit by a quarter million spike in traffic in one day as a result of the Rudd Government’s stimulus measures.

Wadeson also said the DHS was looking to handheld devices and analytics to assist with service delivery.

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