ATO legacy app migration runs late

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ATO legacy app migration runs late

Pays another $5m for Windows Server 2003 support.

The Australian Taxation Office is continuing to spend millions on custom support for Windows Server 2003 patched, which still runs legacy applications for the agency despite exiting extended support in 2015.

Contracts published by the agency reveal it recently forked out another $5.3 million to Microsoft to extend custom support for the operating system.

The agency had planned to migrate its last 20 applications - and 985 servers - running Server 2003 to Server 2012 by June this year.

It follows an earlier phase of the Windows 2003 OS upgrade project that saw 37 applications migrate off Server 2003 to the 2012 platform.

Transitioning to Server 2012 is meant to serve as the first step towards a future jump to Server 2016. Even that move will leave the ATO in legacy territory - Windows Server 21019 will debut in October 2018!

But the department has now extended support for Server 2003 to allow itself more time for the second phase of the migration.

“We have extended Microsoft support for the Windows Server 2003 until June 2019. This is to finalise the migration of the last five per cent of business applications,” an ATO spokesperson told iTnews.

“We are working with our key systems suppliers to ensure that these final application are fully migrated as expeditiously as possible.”

The spokesperson declined to reveal whether the remaining five percent of applications were business critical.

The ATO has been paying Microsoft a premium for security and functional patches since support for Server 2003 ended in mid-2015.

A handful of other agencies, including the Department of Defence and the Digital Transformation Agency, had signed deals with Microsoft last year to support end-of-life products, but these have since expired, according to AusTender.

The Windows 2003 OS upgrade is happening alongside the ATO's wider IT systems improvement program, aimed at strengthening the resilience of its 'top eight' applications over the next four years.

The applications are likely to run on a mix of cloud and modernised on-premises infrastructure, with at least three already doing so

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