Parliamentary Services progresses a cloud migration
The Department of Parliamentary Services will put a $1.6 million funding injection towards an in-progress cloud migration, as well as shared services supporting various parts of parliament’s operations.
The $1.6 million allocation in this month’s federal budget was described as supporting “the delivery of ICT services to other parliamentary departments”.
DPS secretary Robert Stefanic told senate estimates that the department’s ICT had had “a structural funding issue for some years”.
With the aid of the findings of a “benchmark study” that identified the gap between its funding for ICT, and expectations of service from other parts of parliament, the DPS made the case for a year of funding to cover the most urgent work.
It intends to use the next financial year to “develop a more comprehensive ICT strategy, which then allows us to develop what is the funding requirement for ICT within Parliament House across [future years] with a lot more confidence,” Stefanic said.
The immediately funded work is two-fold.
First, it will allow DPS to continue to support the Department of the Senate, Department of the House of Representatives, and the Parliamentary Budget Office with ICT shared services.
Second, it will help to fund “a period of transition” for the department “where a lot of infrastructure is moving to a cloud environment.”
“There is a significant capital cost involved in that transition,” Stefanic said.
Chief financial officer Craig Dalzell said that DPS’ cloud move had put pressure on its ICT budget.
“There are several items that are a pressure within our ICT environment,” he said.
“There are cloud costs, the design of our cloud environment, [and] the operation of our cloud environment is a new operating pressure.”
Dalzell said the re-platforming of infrastructure and applications is progressing, and is noticeable to parliamentarians courtesy of scheduled downtime for migration works.
“We are still transitioning to the cloud,” he said.
“You will have seen several outages in recent weeks, which is us transitioning the application environment into that cloud.
“That requires significant design work, which is where a lot of that capital cost occurs upfront.”
Before DPS had undertaken its full study of costs, Dalzell indicated that it had been somewhat challenging to determine just how much budget would be required.
“We had several attempts, with our colleagues in the Department of Finance, to work out a way of measuring what that [cost] might look like,” he said.
“I think we all agreed that the move to the cloud, and the significant update in the application environment that has occurred over recent years, changed the landscape pretty significantly, and we needed to take stock and do a more comprehensive study.”