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.\nThe 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.\nIn 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.\nSecuring mainframe capacity\nThe latest agreement will see Australian-owned ISI report to Lockheed Martin Australia for operational support and managing Defence\u2019s mainframe environment. This enables Defence to secure its mainframe capability over the next eight years and beyond.\nFor high-end enterprises, mainframes still offer the most reliable, scalable and secure infrastructure, according to ISI CEO Steven Hedge. \u201cOther platforms simply don\u2019t have the reliability and security of mainframes, and it\u2019s both expensive and disruptive to write new apps or try to move existing apps onto other systems.\u201d\nMainframes are still being used by most of Australia\u2019s top 200 companies. \u201cThis tells you the technology is not only relevant but continues to provide opportunities for skills development and long-term employment.\u201d\nLeveraging cloud and mobile apps\nThe 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.\n\u201cThe obvious answer is to assign mainframe operational support and management to specialist service providers,\u201d said Hedge. This enables existing staff to be deployed in areas that are driving innovation and actively benefit and differentiate a company.