Customers hustle as Unisys prepares to shutter its New Zealand datacentres

Customers hustle as Unisys prepares to shutter its New Zealand datacentres

Core government agencies face a hard deadline to exit their legacy datacentre arrangements.

Credit: Unisys

Unisys NZ's plan to shutter its local datacentres at the end of November 2022 has government agencies and other customers hustling for alternatives.

As reported last month, long-standing customer Inland Revenue considered all of the top three remaining risks to its $1.8 billion transformation project related to the need to move off heritage applications to meet Unisys' deadline.

Among other government agencies affected are the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Waka Kotahi -- The Ministry of Transport, while Fire and Emergency NZ is another user exiting.

Waka Kotahi, for which Unisys supports or provides multiple systems, had earmarked $3.8 million to fund its move out of the datacentres.

Confirmation of alternative suppliers was expected by 30 April this year with the agency's services agreement with Unisys set to expire on 30 September 2022.

"Waka Kotahi needs to have an agreed migration plan and schedule with stakeholders to minimise business and IT change impacts and avoid potential delays," the agency reported to Parliament in June.

Risks to the ministry's successful exit included schedule impact if a proposed direct appointment procurement approach for the new provider was not approved, if appropriate resources were not available or if third parties delayed the implementation of required integrations.

There was also a risk that functional issues could arise out of the migration that might not be discovered and resolved in a timely manner.

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) appeared to be on a similar journey.

Solutions from Hitachi and PureStorage with a combined book value of $3.2 million were housed in Unisys datacentres on the Kapiti Coast and in Auckland, ACC told Parliament in June.

ACC, which renewed its core software over the last few years, also uses cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Salesforce Cloud served out of Australia.

Fire and Emergency NZ, a successor organisation to the NZ Fire Service among other emergency services, is also a Unisys datacentre customer.

The Fire Service engaged Unisys to manage, maintain and deliver its national automatic fire alarm messaging system "as a service" in 2015 under a five-year deal.

The service was delivered using Unisys-owned hardware and computing infrastructure in its Kapiti and Auckland datacentres.

As of 2015, the system transported messages from over 20,000 monitored fire alarms in more than 6000 commercial and industrial buildings across New Zealand.

"We are currently using Unisys for our fire alarm notifications," a spokesperson confirmed last week. "We have an agreement with Unisys to transfer the service to another datacentre."

Unisys said last month that while the datacentres will close it would continue to provide managed datacentre services to house clients’ equipment securely in modern, resilient and environmentally conscious facilities through co-location agreements with specialist datacentre partners within and beyond New Zealand.

"As new technologies evolve, so does our company," the company told Reseller News in a statement.

The successful growth and maturity of infrastructure and application hybrid cloud services, as well as higher density infrastructure technology, had created a significant shift in datacentre housing services requirements, the company said.

"This means that it is no longer a strategic intention, or viable, for Unisys to have its own datacentre facilities in New Zealand."

IRD's deputy commissioner for transformation, Greg James, told the ministers of finance and revenue last November that a failure to exit the Unisys datacentres by the contracted date had financial consequences.

More importantly, he said, Unisys was exiting the business, handing the facilities back to the owners, and removing all technology hardware.

"The date that we have been given is a hard deadline with only limited leeway," James said.

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Tags unisysdatacentresACCInland Revenueministry of transport



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