Mission Australia goes mobile with private cloud

Thursday, 07 November, 2013


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Mission Australia has implemented a private cloud on a new data centre platform to support IT initiatives including mobility.

Mission Australia is a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation that provides services to help people secure jobs, receive an education, find housing and develop important life skills to help achieve independence.

The NFP’s legacy infrastructure was proving to be a challenge; it was 10 years old and was unable to keep up with the growing needs of the organisation and the people it served.

“We were 80-90% virtualised,” said Richard Walsh, CTO, Mission Australia. “It used to take 2-3 hours to create duplicates of machines, due to slow, existing infrastructure we had in place. Even then there was a fear it could fail.”

The infrastructure was too unstable for future IT initiatives. The NFP had also run out of storage space to support existing and new applications.

The organisation also wanted to enable staff to update client information from different sites - but the infrastructure wasn’t up to the task.

By trying to maintain old legacy infrastructure, the organisation had limited ability to provide updated software such as for their information management. Mission Australia needed to ensure that the sensitive client information they hold was secure. With an increasing focus on compliance and security, coupled with the need to offer remote access to data and applications, there was a critical need to ensure Mission Australia’s IT infrastructure was able to provision robust security policies easily across the 500+ applications the organisation uses.

To address these challenges, Mission Australia employed a private cloud on the NetApp and Cisco FlexPod data centre platform.

NetApp partner VMtech helped architect and deliver the platform. VMtech’s CEO Len Findlay said: “This was a total transformation. New data centre, network, core shell, implementation and migration in three months.”

By using technologies such as SnapMirror, the NFP is seeing its time to back up improve by up to 700%. Overall performance has also been boosted, increasing three-fold in the front end and seven-fold in supporting infrastructures.

“This is acting as a springboard for future application consolidation and web enabling of applications. This is the next, obvious state and the path to transform how the organisation can continue to deliver critical services to the community,” Walsh said.

Now with a reliable and secure data storage platform, Mission Australia can enable staff members to work from where they are needed within the community.

“Teams are now able to access specific case information 10 times faster than previously, thanks to the ability to access and update information from their iPads, for example. Teams can be completely up to date on an individual staff member’s progress with a specific client’s case, instantaneously,” Walsh said.

Mission Australia’s IT infrastructure can now scale services and programs up or down as the organisation requires. In addition, the IT team can embark on new business intelligence initiatives that are expected to provide greater value to their clients.

Walsh said: “We are a very transparent business in terms of where our funds are spent, so we need to ensure we’re doing the right thing for the people we help and our staff. [The solution] has given back our confidence in our IT infrastructure, so our team can continue with the excellent work they deliver throughout Australia.”

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