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Defence Housing Australia targets storage issue

Defence Housing Australia targets storage issue

DHA introduces Oracle SPARC T5 servers to simplify IT systems

Defence Housing Australia CIO Shane Nielsen.

Defence Housing Australia CIO Shane Nielsen.

Defence Housing Australia (DHA) is rolling out two new servers to reduce its data centre footprint and support the introduction of a new financial management system.

DHA provides housing and related services to Department of Defence members and their families in Australia. It is responsible for 19,000 properties with a total value of approximately $10 billion. DHA also provides IT services and support to 19 housing management centres across Australia.

The Oracle SPARC T5 servers, which are set to be rolled out in mid-July, will support DHA’s production environment.

DHA CIO Shane Nielsen told CIO Australia that it is expecting a 30 per cent reduction in rack space required within its data centres and a reduction in the number of servers from 11 to four.

“We are also expecting reduced power consumption, aiming for at least 50 per cent improvement, due to fewer servers and efficiencies in the new hardware,” he said.

According to Nielsen, it did not consider using a private cloud service due to early price indications from providers showing that it may be difficult to show a return on investment.

“DHA has considerable skills and history in managing SPARC servers so there were no compelling factors which pointed towards moving away from DHA’s current physical environment,” he said.

“We also have a mature infrastructure platform leveraging the dark fibre available within the ACT.”

DHA is also replacing a Financial Management Information System (FMIS) that is more than 15 years old.

Nielsen said that the new FMIS is expected to increase the efficiency of the finance area as the current FMIS has a number of inefficiencies and requires a high level of manual systems to provide the capability that DHA requires.

The FMIS is currently scheduled for rollout in Q4 of 2013.

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In January 2011, DHA went live with Oracle’s business intelligence enterprise edition (OBIEE) to replace its previous reporting product. Through OBIEE, it has been able to create an environment that allows DHA staff to focus on answering business decisions in a more timely fashion.

“We have created a number of dashboards that will help with our overall planning of housing stock including the refresh, upgrade and renewal of stock around the country," he said.

“These services take into a number of different factors around both the tenancy such as maintenance and the lifecycle of the tenant moving in and out of the property based on Department of Defence requirements.”

Nielsen added that the DHA was faced with the challenge of improved data visibility of 19,000 residential properties across Australia.

“We now have enhanced visibility of residential property portfolio data, such as property numbers, tenancy status, vacancy rates and maintenance costs.”

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