Qantas to shift data centre

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Australian flag carrier Qantas is planning to unearth its aging, underground Sydney-based data centre operation and move it into the light of day.

The company will decide by the middle of next year where the infrastructure will be moved, and who would manage any new facility.

Qantas chief information officer Fiona Balfour said the company's 40 year old underground facility - located near Sydney's Mascot airport - had fallen behind some of the advances in "physical environment technology" that had emerged in recent years.

Balfour said there was no rush to move the facility to new premises, but expected that the company will decide its future by the middle of next year.

It is not clear whether Qantas would move its infrastructure - which is one of the largest commercial IT facilities in Australia - to a third party managed environment, or whether Qantas would continue to rent data centre floor space and manage the systems itself.

Balfour said it was extremely unlikely that Qantas would build such a facility itself, pointing to the glut of existing data centre real estate on the market.

"You clearly wouldn't go and build your own data centre these days," Balfour said.

"We have no immediate plans. However, our data centre is very old and we will be reviewing where we go with that in about the middle of next year," she said.

The relocation process - should it go ahead - would be a lengthy process, given the Qantas data centre hosts about a 1,000 different systems.

"Because it's such a complex data centre, we think it will take a couple of years."

Meanwhile, Balfour said she expects to put the airlines plan for a phased migration of its human resources, financial, pay-roll and procurement function to the Oracle eBusiness Suite to the board for approval by the end of the year.

Should the board approve Balfour's migration plan, implementation is due to start late in the first half of next year, with data preparation for the project expected to take about six months.

The migration to Oracle eBusiness Suite is to be carried out with partners IBM Global Services, Oracle and IBM Business Consulting.

The move to the Oracle suite was initiated through a request for information issued last December, and was awarded to a consortium consisting on Oracle, IBM GSA and PWC Consulting last March (following its acquisition by IBM, PWC Consulting later changed its name to IBM Business Consulting).


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