Home Affairs plots IBM mainframe overhaul – Strategy – Cloud – Hardware – Software – Storage

Maria J. Danford

The mainframe atmosphere underpinning Australia’s huge estate of mission-vital immigration and cargo units is established for a when in a technology overhaul.

The Office of Home Affairs has uncovered ideas for a “mainframe workload modernisation and optimisation” challenge to tackle places of growing risks and travel down operational charges.

The challenge, uncovered on Friday, will contemplate the “future operation” of the department’s “IBM mainframe infrastructure” and how its “critical computing workloads” could be remodeled.

The mainframe at this time hosts a range of “mission-critical” traveller, cargo and trade units, which run 24 hours a day and hence “require pretty high levels of reliability and availability”.

Home Affairs will use the proposed improve to tackle a range of “perceived problems and workforce risks with the at this time supply of providers supplied by the mainframe platform”.

A person of these problems is the department’s ongoing wrestle to find proficient employees to exchange or augment its ageing mainframe workforce – a “significant proportion” of which are approaching retirement.

“This has the prospective to depart the section in a posture where by there is inadequate employees to correctly run the present-day mainframe primarily based environments,” RFI document state.

The section claimed this experienced the prospective to expose it to “some operational threat if even a smaller range of employees were being to depart at all over the exact same time”.

“Due to the lessening prospects and/or deficiency of enthusiasm for mainframe instruction, the section is acquiring it tricky to exchange departing employees, generating it more and more tricky to fully aid the Department’s vital programs,” it claimed.

Home Affairs is also escalating relocating to “contemporary development methodologies” to reduce the time involving “development to product deployment for programs changes”.

It has previously started laying the groundwork to re-architect areas of its core units employing lesser – quite possibly cloud-hosted – components by experimenting with AWS and DevOps at the periphery.

Opening up monolithic and mainframe-primarily based units with APIs and refactoring some current programs to operate in the cloud were being just some of the assignments thought of at the time.

While not explicitly said, the section has also expert a surge in system outages in the latest months, most lately in December.

“Unscheduled system outages have a important impact for front line ABF officers in the functionality of their everyday obligations, RFI paperwork state.

The section claimed it will use the RFI to attain a far better understanding of “what solutions at this time exist for porting and/or redeveloping mainframe-primarily based units to present-day platforms”.

It anticipates employing responses to “assess suitable and rising methodologies and systems that could impact the development of capability prerequisites for the project”.

This “may or may well not include things like the ongoing procedure of a mainframe platform”, the section claimed.

“The Office is furnishing no direction on the probable instructions that can be taken in ‘modernising’ the mainframe workload,” the RFI states.

In addition to relocating to a extra present-day working atmosphere and lessening threat from an ageing workforce, the section will use the challenge to decrease charges and increase performance.

Mainframe running charges at this time raises as supplemental million directions per second (MIPS) prerequisites for standard small business processing is necessary.

“Under current arrangements the section is dedicated to a mainframe hardware refresh each and every five a long time. These refreshes impose a important money burden on the Office,” the RFI states.

“The solution of extending the operational existence of the hardware to unfold the cost above a lengthier interval is made tricky by the manufacturer’s schedules for Finish of Gross sales Lifetime (EOSL) and Finish of Assistance (EOS).”

The department’s mainframe at this time operates “all environments with an allocation 7700 MIPS”.

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