Christchurch City plans upload to 'cloud-first' with managed services

Christchurch City plans upload to 'cloud-first' with managed services

Current IaaS environment will give way to a primary public cloud platform with multi-cloud on the horizon.

Christchurch City Council

Christchurch City Council

Credit: Mike Powell

New Zealand's second largest city is preparing to embrace cloud as its primary and preferred deployment model for all IT workloads.

Christchurch City Council (CCC) said while ultimately it needed to be able to support a range of cloud platforms and deployment models, it was first seeking a cloud managed services partner to operate a new primary public cloud platform.

"For us, cloud first is all about adding value and efficiency to our users, customers and stakeholders," the council said in a new tender. "Whether making our services more accessible, speeding up consenting, improving planning insights, or increasing the effectiveness of our field staff – thinking cloud first promises multiple exciting improvements." 

CCC's current operating environment, which includes an extensive SAP footprint, is principally private cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Where there were compelling reasons to make exceptions to the cloud-first strategy, CCC said it would make plans to remove the roadblocks and modernise these exceptions over time.

"Our on-going commitment to further developing our use of technologies and services from the likes of providers such as Microsoft, AWS and others will continue to facilitate our cloud-first adoption," CCC said. 

The selection of a primary cloud MSP would allow the council to build capability, maturity and confidence ensuring it was able to execute the basics to a high standard. 

"Our cloud first programme is just at its inception, with several foundational programmes being initiated to address some of the complex business challenges we currently experience," CCC said.

A cloud-first approach was expected to bring business and technical benefits to the council inside and outside of IT. These included lower operating costs and increased operational efficiency and the ability to inspire and support new business initiatives unavailable otherwise such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and internet of things (IoT).

The shift was also expected deliver increased transparency on the costs of IT, projects and applications with the ability to relate those to the generation of organisational value, agility and innovation. 

End users could expect to be empowered through self-service leading to a "reduction and potentially total removal of shadow IT practices". Resilience, scalability and easy access to new tools and technologies were also among the perceived benefits. 

CCC said it was seeking a unified, modern, operating environment that provided us a succinct suite of technical options incorporating the best of public cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) capabilities along with the best of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities, all functioning cohesively to provide the best fit solution for cost and performance.

At the same time, CCC wanted to maintain an agnostic environment, free of proprietary lock-in. 

"Our Cloud First strategy outlines a preference for readily available commercial-off-the-shelf solutions. Your response will need to clearly articulate this."

CCC also wanted to understand the operational services available in the form of ongoing support and maintenance of the new environment and how this would complement the council's IT operations team.

Professional services that would dovetail with CCC's programmes and timelines to add tangible value in the technical transformation of services, were also expected to be part of the package.

"The vision for this engagement extends beyond a single IaaS or public cloud provider engagement," CCC said. "We have already completed assessments for wholesale migrations to public cloud operating environments.

"We know we have services where this is not ideal, hence the desire for an operating environment that provides a suite of options where we can choose the most appropriate, to deliver desired outcomes for a given business service."

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