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Victoria State Emergency Services

VIC SES adopts Cloud technology to improve emergency planning and response

Background

Victoria State Emergency Service (VIC SES) provides emergency assistance to individuals and communities throughout Victoria 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A volunteer-based organisation with 200 full-time employees and over 5000 volunteers, VIC SES plans for and responds to, floods, storms, earthquakes, tsunamis and road rescues, as well as assisting with bushfires and search and rescue operations.

Business challenge

As an emergency services provider, VIC SES plays a crucial role in helping communities in need and saving lives across the State. To do this, they need the right information, tools and resources to respond to emergencies as quickly and efficiently as possible.

As such, there can be no compromise when it comes to the organisation’s technology environment and its ability to support and manage day-to-day operations.

Identifying that their existing ICT infrastructure was limited in its capacity to take the organisation forward, VIC SES aimed to create a highly reliable technology environment. They wanted a solution that would be responsive to the needs of staff and volunteers, and would facilitate improved overall efficiency. Having such a large volunteer base placed a need on technology to accommodate an ever expanding BYOD environment.

VIC SES initiated a five-year ICT strategy in 2014, to modernise ICT service delivery across the organisation, including the transition to a state-of-the-art technology platform.  After a rigorous tender process, Data#3 was chosen to help VIC SES move from an off-premises hosted Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution to the Microsoft Azure Cloud-based solution.

The shift to a Public Cloud platform meant VIC SES could decommission existing hardware assets and leverage virtual ICT services to improve agility, efficiency and responsiveness.

Business and community benefits

VIC SES is the first emergency services organisation in Australia to entrust their core infrastructure to a Cloud-based solution. This is a significant step for an organisation that provides state-wide emergency assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The new platform enables VIC SES to be more agile and efficient in responding to critical incidents and emergencies, whether it’s bushfires, floods, storms, road rescues or search and rescue operations.

Ultimately, faster response times and improved coordination saves lives and property, and can even help prevent emergencies – a direct benefit to the Victorian community.

“Right from the start, we felt like we had a genuine partner in Data#3. Our teams worked side-by-side to achieve a common goal, plus the transition process was seamless.”

Andrew Ferrarese, Manager Information Services, VIC SES. 

“We now have a robust, reliable and scalable platform for the future,” says Andrew Ferrarese, Manager Information Services, VIC SES.

“The new technology gives our people in the field quick and easy access to our systems, which is so important when it comes to reporting incidents and emergency information. Whether it’s providing location data for response coordination or assessing potential threats, our new ICT environment plays a crucial role in minimising risk to the community.”

Leveraging the Azure Cloud platform, allows VICSES to scale the supporting infrastructure to meet business service needs, in a manner which is transparent to the staff and volunteers.

Performance was substantially improved with the organisation assured that appropriate high availability and recovery processes were in place to ensure VIC SES could operate in any emergency.

Azure’s consumption-based model allows this flexible approach, with the advantage that new services and functionality can be rolled out in a much shorter timeframe than was previously possible.

New services can be evaluated and deployed in a test environment, then easily integrated into the production environment, greatly reducing time-to-delivery.

Other benefits of the Azure solution include:

  • Installation of new Cisco UCS server and EMC storage infrastructure
  • Deployment of a Cisco server and EMC storage solution at the new disaster recovery facility
  • Virtual infrastructure replicated and failover to new data centre
  • Ongoing support provided to ensure the solution was bedded in and optimized


Solution details

Data#3 was chosen as VIC SES’s preferred partner primarily due to their Microsoft capabilities and Azure expertise, as well as their experience in the Victorian Emergency Management landscape, where several agencies entrust their critical infrastructure to them. The contract also included a three-year support plan for Managed Services.

Due to the nature of VIC SES’s activities, one of the key challenges of the project was to move large amounts of data and production workloads to Microsoft Azure leveraging Data#3’s Professional Services – with zero downtime.

To meet this challenge, Data#3 undertook comprehensive discovery and planning to identify any applications that required significant remediation during the transition. These applications were then managed via the Data#3 Private Cloud IaaS service.

What’s more, Azure ASR was used as the back-up mechanism to move live production loads and all data from the existing provider to the Azure Cloud.

A new WAN was also created between Data#3, Microsoft, VIC SES and data centres in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to provide secure managed network routing.

The full transition took only three weeks with the requirement of zero downtime achieved.

Conclusion

When it comes to emergency services operations, the right technology can literally save lives and property. It’s in this context that Data#3 is immensely proud to assist VIC SES with the provision of their emergency services.

And whilst the technology side of things is crucial, it’s the relationship between partner and customer that drives successful business outcomes. The technology is also an enabler that allows VIC SES volunteers and staff to improve business service delivery and customer satisfaction.

Andrew Ferrarese echoes this sentiment when he said:

“Right from the start, we felt like we had a genuine partner in Data#3. Our teams worked side-by-side to achieve a common goal, plus the transition process was seamless.”

“We were particularly impressed with Data#3’s upfront discovery and planning work. This ensured they fully understood our challenges and where we needed to be with our technology platform. Without doubt, this meticulous discovery and planning phase was critical to the overall success of the project.”

Download the Victoria State Emergency Services Case Study.

To learn more about how Data#3 can assist your organisation, call 1300 23 28 23, or Enquire Online.

Tags: Cloud, Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, Cisco, Dell EMC, Project Services, Victoria, Melbourne, Public Cloud Migration

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