Qld Department of Communities eyes hybrid cloud future

Begins assessing options for core infrastructure overhaul

Queensland’s Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services is preparing for a major overhaul of its IT infrastructure that will see it make increasing use of private and public cloud.

The department is planning to decommission one of its key data centres in favour of an infrastructure-as-a-service platform delivered under a private cloud model from a third-party-managed data centre, as well as seeking to move to backup-as-a-service.

“This project aims to deliver flexible and scalable ‘as a service’ solutions that will maintain the security and reliability of the department’s ICT systems,” a spokesperson for the department said.

The project received approval from the department’s Information Steering Committee in February.

The department says it wants its core infrastructure to be delivered through a hybrid cloud model within three years.

“The department has determined that the majority of its core applications contain sensitive information which due to data sovereignty issues cannot be hosted within a public cloud hosting environment unless that environment is confined to Australia and is protected by suitable controls,” the department said in invitation-to-offer documents released to the market.

“In addition, some applications may not be ‘cloud ready’ and as such may have specific hosting requirements that currently prohibits moving them to a cloud hosting environment.”

“The purpose of this invitation to offer is to support the department’s future data centre architecture, which includes the replacement of some existing infrastructure with ‘as a service’ solutions,” a spokesperson for the department said.

“This work aligns with Queensland government ICT direction and policy.”

Currently the department has three data centres: A CITEC-operated facility in Edward Street, Brisbane, space within Polaris Springfield, and a third smaller data centre in George Street, Brisbane that hosts backup services. In addition the department currently leans on Microsoft’s Azure public cloud to host mobile apps.

“The department’s primary data centre will remain the state government-managed facility within the Polaris data centre,” the spokesperson said.

Under its infrastructure revamp, the department will retain its presence at Polaris and continue to lean on Azure for some workloads (although the department says it “does not have a strategy to limit itself to just Microsoft Azure for Public cloud hosting and that additional services will be considered in the future”).

Not all workloads will be appropriate for the new IaaS platform, the department says, including applications and services that cannot explicitly hosted from vendor managed platforms because of legal requirements.

The new IaaS-based environment will be hosted at a third party managed data centre, replacing the CITEC-operated facility in Edward Street. In addition backup technologies will be pulled out of the department’s George Street data centre in favour of backup-as-a-service.