KiwiRail on track for datacentre migration

IT systems moved from Wellington CBD to Revera's Tawa datacentre

KiwiRail expects to finish migrating its Wellington IT systems to Revera’s Tawa datacentre within the next few months. The move is partly based on the earthquake risk posed in the central business district.

Group infrastructure manager San Tuineau says on-going business amalgamation following the formation of KiwiRail in 2008 spurred an IT re-think.

“Amalgamation with OnTrack put impetus behind the upgrade and posed the question: should we invest in our current environment, which was close to capacity in terms of space and air conditioning, or move to a purpose-built facility?”

A tender for datacentre services was issued early last year. Work began on the migration, but was put on hold for a while because of changes within the group and awaiting the appointment of a new CIO.

The OnTrack systems have been relocated, with phase two of the move – known as the Highlander Project – seeing Interislander services moved from Bunny Street near the Wellington railway station.

Tawa is regarded as Wellington’s most stable land and safely removed from tsunami wash zones.

“Seismic stability was an important consideration,” Tuineau says.

The rest of KiwiRail’s IT is housed by Unisys in Auckland, where the contract was recently extended by three years.

However, Unisys’ Kapiti datacentre was ruled out of the Wellington move because of its proximity to the coast.

“If we were going to move from Wellington’s CBD, it didn’t make sense to move to another wash zone.”

Tuineau says Revera had also offered a range of back-up solutions and services.

So far, SAP, Oracle and IBM applications, and SQL and DB2 databases have been migrated.

The move to Revera has opened the door to progressive systems consolidation and automation, Tuineau says. On that front, KiwiRail has adopted managed back-up, which is expected to shrink data back-up windows despite the daily addition of 5Tbytes to the 100-plus Tbyte production system.

“While we retain ownership of our IT, this is much more than just moving it to a bigger, safer datacentre,” Tuineau says.

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