by Bonnie Gardiner

Treasury transitions to hyper-converged infrastructure to deliver Budget

Dec 15, 2015
Financial Services IndustryGovernmentGovernment IT

The Commonwealth Treasury has transitioned to hyper-converged infrastructure to ensure it can deliver Australia’s economic framework, including the Federal Budget, accurately and on time.

The decision to switch to hyper-converged technology was driven by a need for reliable access to critical applications and government services, while ensuring employees have uninterrupted access to resources at all times, from any place and device.

The central economic agency selected Nutanix to be the host platform for its core business applications including the Budget Management System (BMS) and other critical economic and tax modelling applications.

Previously, Treasury could only deliver certain applications on specific desktops, requiring staff to move between various terminals to complete tasks. Mobile employees could only connect to a very limited number of applications while out of office, which inhibited productivity and jeopardised deadlines.

The agency is also using Nutanix’s web-scale technology to support its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) comprising up to 850 endpoints. By virtualising its applications, Treasury provides secure access to software on devices in or outside the office, delivered by Nutanix’s ‘invisible’ platform that operates and maintains itself.

Treasury first began the transition to virtual desktops for mobile staff in May 2014 following challenges around access to data. During this transition, Treasury CIO, Peter Alexander, told CIO that most of the agency’s work applications were to be virtualized, including its Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics, as well as economic modelling, business intelligence, and office productivity tools.

Treasury’s new VDI environment was designed and installed by Canberra ICT services provider, Qirx, which won a tender for the project. According to a statement released by Nutanix, once Treasury’s application and VDI requirements expand, Qirx will work with Nutanix to maximise the value delivered to Treasury as it scales up.

In addition to helping Treasury meet its Budget and policy deadlines, Nutanix’s ‘invisible’ platform will allow Treasury’s IT department to focus on other projects rather than strain resources on the management of complex service area network (SAN) architectures.

“Without our various internal systems – and in particular the BMS – we can’t produce the Budget,” said Ricardo Alberto, Treasury chief technology officer.

“With our applications running on Nutanix, our teams have the information they need to inform the Budget and other key policy issues. It doesn’t matter whether they are at their desks or travelling, the tools are always there so the job can be done without delay.

“While we had the option of extending our existing storage area network (SAN) capacity to run VDI, the Nutanix hyper-converged route proved to provide the flexibility, performance and accessibility we need, without the huge up-front cost and maintenance requirements,” he said.

The announcement coincides with the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) delivered by Treasury on Tuesday afternoon, which detailed a sobering increase in the Budget deficit to $37 billion – a $2.3 billion deterioration in the forecast deficit for 2015-16 since the Budget in May.