Hamilton City Council has moved to the hybrid cloud with Fujitsu, deploying solutions based on the Microsoft Azure Pack and Microsoft Azure.
Transforming the Council’s existing infrastructure, the IT provider moved the organisation out of its previous data centre in New Zealand, migrating from a legacy private cloud to a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
During the process, Fujitsu worked with Microsoft Consulting to create a hybrid cloud management system based on Microsoft System Centre, utilising both local onshore infrastructure as well as Microsoft Azure Cloud locations in Sydney and Melbourne.
According to Hamilton City Council CIO, Eion Hall, the move to a consumption-based hybrid cloud model has enabled the organisation to achieve cost savings, while freeing up resources for its IT team.
“Nothing was broken, but there were a few areas that we definitely wanted to improve,” Hall said.
Under its legacy cloud model, Hall said the Council was paying for its private cloud service around the clock during the year, and south a consumption-based cloud model to create savings.
In transitioning to the public cloud, Hall said one of the Council’s major requirements was a partner with the ability to support all technologies to future proof its significant pre-existing investment in core business applications.
“Hamilton City Council’s critical applications are built on Microsoft technology stack and IT staff have advanced skill sets to manage and operate the solutions leveraging the 2015 All-of-Government Microsoft Licensing Agreement,” he added.
“They have made significant investments in Microsoft - who provide a really good value proposition compared to other tier one competitors.”
Consequently, the Council issued a request for proposals (RFP) to several IT companies, asking to outline how they would take it to the public cloud.
Hall said respondents were required to demonstrate thought leadership and present solutions that could support a mix of technologies equally.
“The Council didn’t want to be sold specific technologies, they wanted cloud-first,” he explained.
“The reason for that is so they could change technologies, if needed, without changing partners, and to be able to change partners without changing technologies.”
Hall said Fujitsu’s “unique hybrid cloud solution” won the contract, with other bidders focusing on “reselling their own platforms.”
After making the decision to partner with Fujitsu, the Council selected Microsoft Azure to access computer, networking and storage for developing and hosting applications in Microsoft data centres.
But for Hall, timing and financial constraints remained “significant challenges”, because under the Council’s existing commercial agreement “we were paying for more than they needed”.
“Paying for two services was not an option so we could not afford to have any overlap between the previous cloud supplier and Fujitsu which meant there was only four months from the time the contract was signed,” he added.
“Issues inevitably arise and a big part of working through those was local Microsoft and Fujitsu experts having access to their global networks to find solutions.
“The Council is a pretty static business in the sense that there is not a lot of seasonal demand, but they have a lot of business applications across 25 business units just by the nature of local government - like zoos and traffic management systems.
“So my question at the time was, why should an HR payroll application run more than once per week if it’s only required to perform tasks for a couple of hours?
“The rest of the time it doesn’t need to run, but under a traditional model we were paying for that computing storage service to run 24/7.”
Hall said the new model was put to the test over the Council’s Christmas shut-down period.
“We were able to shut off 30-40 per cent of our environment without incurring any costs,” he added
“The new model means the Council can ‘right size’ - for example, it can buy capacity just on the day it’s needed; they don’t have to buy capacity for the future. Consumption is now something of which they can now take advantage.”
While most other local government organisations are still using onshore/on-site cloud services, Hall said the Council has “leapt ahead of the pack” through its cloud adoption.