Who: Inland Revenue is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the government on tax policy, collecting and disbursing payments for social support programs, and collecting taxes.
Challenges: Transforming a legacy environment to cloud. Migrating data from the mainframe to cloud, while protecting their virtual environment, gaining backup/recovery scope and speed to achieve simplicity.
IT Environment: Two NZ data centers, two SPs, Unisys mainframe, migrating to AWS. Windows, Linux, Oracle, SQL, VMware, Actifio CDS.
Benefits: Began with Actifio for data migration and expanded coverage to include backup, DR, replication, and self-service DB provisioning for DBAs
A five-year multi-stage business transformation at Inland Revenue (IR) was designed to introduce wide-ranging changes that improve support for individual citizens and businesses in New Zealand. The objective was to achieve simple-to- manage tax transactions and was heavily dependent upon Information Technology transformation, including heavy reliance on a transition to cloud computing. IR chose Actifio to provide an essential element of the change – seamless data migration. Once migration elements were implemented, IR has continued to expand their use of Actifio to include data backup, disaster recovery, replication, deduplication, and self-service database replication.
Inland Revenue Overview
Inland Revenue (IR) collects most of the revenue the New Zealand government needs to pay for public services. The organization, staffed by more than 5,500 employees across the country, also administers some social support programs. They conduct services research and publish tax related statistics to improve transparency and meet the information needs of external users and government departments. Their charter details a commitment to ensure a productive working relationship with the community, including a Taxpayers’ Simplification Advisory Board that gives New Zealanders an active voice in simplifying, modernizing and transforming the way taxes are paid.
Inland Revenue was orchestrating a comprehensive and multi-stage business transformation. Their initiatives would stretch over five years and introduce wide-ranging changes intended to better support the requirements of New Zealand individuals and businesses in simple-to-manage tax transactions. Because many of the changes depended upon secure online technology services, their challenge was to transform a legacy IT environment into a responsive, flexible, reliable and high- performance cloud environment.
IR’s transformation presented multiple complications. First, they needed to seamlessly migrate their full mid-tier environment across multiple sites to a new vSphere VMAX environment. Several IT functions would continue to be supported by external Service Providers (SPs), while some would be managed internally, and some migrated to Amazon Web Services (AWS). This multi-cloud architecture demanded a modern backup tool to replace a legacy poorly performing and high-cost Data Domain system. Additionally, they needed a migration platform to move data rapidly within the multi-cloud architecture. When complete, the move to multi-cloud would phase out reliance on internal data centers.
Executing the Strategy for Business and IT Transformation
With their initial focus on on-premises data center upgrades, to be followed by cloud migrations, Inland Revenue selected Actifio for the platform’s migration and data consolidation capabilities. Actifio was the opposite of the diverse and complicated traditional tool sets. The concepts of migration and simplicity were aligned. The platform exceeded all their flexibility, functionality and performance requirements at an affordable cost. During the transition, downtimes would be minimized, and overall operations would be minimally impacted.
As the data migration proceeded, however, Inland Revenue began testing Actifio for other purposes, first to resolve their data backup challenges and then to assist database administrators. Their traditional backup tool, provided by a third party, in some cases required up to three days to complete each backup for some extremely large systems. Implementing Actifio’s incremental forever system, backup times were reduced to less than one hour. The new simplicity and speed moved them to self-service backups and eliminated the cost of third-party services. An added bonus – data recovery became nearly instantaneous and SLAs much more aggressive.
Following their successes with Actifio data migration and backup/DR, Inland Revenue found another purpose for Actifio in support of their database administrators (DBAs). In larger enterprise environments, where multiple instances of Actifio appliances are used to manage data across a broad set of infrastructures, Actifio Global Manager provides a holistic and global management layer for coordinating and orchestrating copy data management across many Actifio software instances. It offers a timeline view of tasks and management layer controls, and an advanced search feature enables easy navigation of managed assets. Inland Revenue has become a sophisticated user of Actifio Global Manager capabilities, using it to help define DBA roles and specific data access permissions. DBA’s also now have full self-service access to not only run ad-hoc database backups and restores but also to instantly provision virtual copies of their databases for application testing and development. An environment provisioning/refresh process that once took days is now accomplished in minutes.
- Assurance of security and integrity for critical tax data
- Legacy-to-cloud transformation smoothly progressing
- Cloud-to-cloud data migrations are adaptable and straightforward
- Fast & flexible data migration executed at a reduced cost
- High-performance data backup times reduced from days to little more than an hour
- Near instant data recovery is typically complete in five minutes
- Self Service backups: now fast, simple, and directly managed
- Costs of data management/protection/migration reduced by more than half