by Shahida Sweeney

Defence boosts mainframe capacity under $31 million contract

Oct 02, 20142 mins

The Department of Defence has finalised a $31 million contract to ramp its mainframe capacity over the next eight years and build a more robust technology infrastructure.

The project has been awarded to ISI Pty Ltd and is part of an $800 million eight-year centralised processing services project that is being managed by Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA). ISI is one of eight key suppliers to LMA as the central processing contractor.

In announcing the latest contract, Defence’s CIO, Dr Peter Lawrence, said this partnership leverages a robust and secure technology environment. It also creates greater efficiencies and will simplify the provisioning of services and respond more readily to change.

Securing mainframe capacity

The latest agreement will see Australian-owned ISI report to Lockheed Martin Australia for operational support and managing Defence’s mainframe environment. This enables Defence to secure its mainframe capability over the next eight years and beyond.

For high-end enterprises, mainframes still offer the most reliable, scalable and secure infrastructure, according to ISI CEO Steven Hedge. “Other platforms simply don’t have the reliability and security of mainframes, and it’s both expensive and disruptive to write new apps or try to move existing apps onto other systems.”

Mainframes are still being used by most of Australia’s top 200 companies. “This tells you the technology is not only relevant but continues to provide opportunities for skills development and long-term employment.”

Leveraging cloud and mobile apps

The challenge for large organisations is optimising the IT headcount and allocating staff and resources as and where needed. The focus is shifting to next-generation mobile and cloud-based application development and services.

“The obvious answer is to assign mainframe operational support and management to specialist service providers,” said Hedge. This enables existing staff to be deployed in areas that are driving innovation and actively benefit and differentiate a company.