BOM tracking ahead on Gershon

The Bureau of Meteorology running 14 cost and efficiency projects including virtualisation, printer, application server and helpdesk consolidation; and an improved SOE rollout

The Bureau of Meteorology has reported that it is well on the way toward implementing the recommendations of the Gershon Review with around 14 initiatives underway designed to cut costs and improve efficiency.

According to the BOM’s new CIO, Robert Loverey, virtualisation, printer consolidation, helpdesk, application server and an improved SOE were the key areas of focus among the initiatives.

On the virtualisation front, the BOM is developing an enterprise-wide strategy on how the agency would approach virtualising around 400 physical servers across four divisions using VMware as the likely product of choice, Loverey said.

“We have two or three branches within the bureau which have already embraced virtualisation, but what we want to do is slow down the individual branches’ virtualisation programs and come up with a more holistic approach for the wider bureau,” he said.

On the printer front, the BOM is looking to rationalise about 136 printers in favour of a smaller, greener, more efficient multifunction printer fleet. The bureau currently runs a fairly high printer to staff ratio of about 1:11, Loverey said.

The BOM is also looking to streamline its help desk function, in particular consolidating the number of applications it supported. Loverey stressed that the BOM is not considering outsourcing any of its helpdesk functions.

“One of the other initiatives that we currently have Unix, AIX and Linux and a whole variety of flavours of application servers,” he said. “We are trying to consolidate those to a reduced subset, and we are also trying to reduce the number of applications we roll out on our standard desktops to move to a reformed and reduced SOE which in turn reduces our support costs.”

Responding to growing interest in, and demand for, information about weather and climate change, the BOM has also just finished upgrading its network capacity and servers which host the BOM’s homepage.

Whereas the BOM formerly used a 100MB pipe to service both the general public and its network of agencies which exchange weather information, it now has split its network in two. An upgraded 200MB pipe will service the network of agencies and a 1GB pipe from AAPT will service the general public.

The four Dell duel processor servers with 2GB of ram managing the website have been upgraded to 16 Dell quad core machines with much higher ram capacity, Loverey said.

“From a reliability perspective the evidence suggests that the site performance is very reliable, but what we were trying to do was anticipate growth,” he said. “Climate is such and important subject to everyone and more and more people are wanting more information. Inclement weather isn’t going away - it is becoming more of the norm - so we wanted to make sure we were anticipating the growth in demand within the community and in our private network.”

The website project will also support Gershon recommendations to achieve greater bandwidth at reduced cost, Loverey said.

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