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Multicloud on the horizon

Published: 6 June 2019

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Auckland Council moves to multicloud ICT system

Auckland Council’s information and communications network serves the council’s entire business – from core business operations like managing more than 3.5 million library items and the booking systems for its 150 community venues and 4500 parks, to running email and database systems for thousands of staff.

In order to stay on top of new technology, build a stronger, faster and more secure network, and maintain its diverse business needs, the council is moving to a cloud-based system.

The council’s Director of Information and Communications Technology, Mark Denvir, says creating a more modern, sophisticated and secure multi-cloud system is an essential step for New Zealand's largest council if it wants to continue to meet the needs of a growing city.

“When the Auckland Council and its CCOs were formed in 2010, we were dealing with a very long list of IT systems, with varying degrees of sophistication and effectiveness.

“Since then, we’ve seen significant consolidation of systems – including websites, databases and email services – and now we’re ready to move to the next level of technology solutions.

“A multicloud-based system will see us moving from a collection of individual servers that are dependent on suppliers and hardware maintenance to keep going, to a more sophisticated way of managing our network,” he says.

Mr Denvir says work carried out during May successfully started the transition to the new system, which will continue towards full migration to a cloud-based system by the end of the year.

System security a priority

Auckland Council oversees a range of important business functions and interacts with individuals and suppliers on a continuous basis – we could be completing online transactions 24/7 or needing to access systems around the clock to keep the city running.

“Having a robust network that protects our data is a priority so we have also taken the opportunity to bolster our network security framework as part of this project,” says Mr Denvir.

Cost savings and decision making 

The council’s Strategic Procurement Committee, reporting to its Finance and Performance Committee, has been overseeing the procurement of this new network approach. Investment in a cloud-based system will see at least $20 million in savings over the next 10 years.

“The benefit of moving to a more agile network environment is that we will save money on hardware and maintenance, while at the same time increasing the useabilty, speed and security of our network. It's a win-win situation for our staff, customers and ratepayers,” says Mr Denvir. 

What is Multicloud?

Multicloud will allow council to deliver services with greater flexibility, responsiveness and security and is globally considered best-practice. 

The term ‘Multicloud’ refers to council making the best use of the public cloud (such as Microsoft’s AZURE and Amazon Web Services (AWS) as well as using their own version of these datacentres. This gives ratepayers better value for money alongside keeping information secure and safe by retaining control over networks and ICT assets.