Bunbury council to share IT with peers

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Bunbury council to share IT with peers

Sweats IT infrastructure investment.

A regional council in Western Australia hopes to sweat a new IT infrastructure asset by using it to run cloud services that it can sell to other similarly-sized councils.

The City of Bunbury, one of the largest regional councils in the state, hopes to offer these services on an IBM PureFlex system it has installed initially for its own use.

The council has so far transitioned "most" of its 35 servers to PureFlex, which is a pre-configured and built bundle of compute, storage, systems management, networking and virtualisation.

Manager of information and technology, Mike Fletcher, said the PureFlex system went live in council's own data centre in February this year.

He said the data centre had "sufficient capacity" to meet council's internal requirements with "six full racks" from which it could provision IT services.

Fletcher noted the challenge for council to keep pace with the rate of change in IT, but saw it as a potential opportunity to open a new revenue stream for council.

"Our skills are constantly having to be upgraded, so if it’s difficult for someone the size of us, you can be assured for like-minded or smaller councils," he said.

He did not describe the types of services that could potentially be offered to other councils.

Fletcher noted it was unlikely that council would move ahead with a cloud offering until the dust settled from Western Australia's recent state election.

The state has been considering carving up local government areas since October last year. Councils are waiting to see what the impact of the change of government means for the proposal.

“It will take a number of weeks for them to bed themselves down, then I’m sure they will start talking about reform and amalgamation process and what they think they will go with," Fletcher said.

"Then us as local government will align ourselves to that, and that will set the pace.”

Fletcher said that internally, the council is in the process of rolling out a VMware-based virtual desktop environment.

It is also working up a mobility policy, having standardised on Apple for internal devices. It deployed about 50 corporate iPads and iPhones in the past year.

Apple was chosen for stability and to "avoid the issues with viruses and spyware that comes with the standard Microsoft suite,” Fletcher said.

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