Reports to: Dr Graeme Benny, general manager organisational support
Size of IS shop: 360
Mobile PCs: 2000
Hand-held devices: 1500
Total screens: 17,500
Industry: Government and defence
PC environment: Windows XP, Dell, HP
Server environment: Solaris; Other Unix; Windows XP, 98, 2000, NT;
Compaq; HP9000; OEM Intel-based
DBMS: Oracle, SQL
Address: Defence House, 2-21 Aitken Street, Wellington
Key IS projects this year: Next Generation Network build; SAP
upgrade to ECC6 and move to Defence version of SAP DFPS.
ARGUABLY NEW ZEALAND’S most complex organisation in terms of
global ICT infrastructure, Defence has multiple ICT projects underway
in 2008. These include going to market for a high speed and high
redundancy NGN (Next Generation Network) telecommunication
network and for a unified mobile communications solution. (Defence
currently uses both Telecom and Vodafone mobile services, but Thomas
says the intention is to select a single provider this year).
Defence spends around $20 million annually on telecommunications,
including around $4 million on satellite services. However, Thomas says
Defence expects to reduce overall spend by leveraging cheaper market
rates, coupled with the installation of Defence owned and operated
Land Earth Satellite Stations.
“The work done by the State Services Commission in recent times
regarding telecommunication base rates, has given us a benchmark to
work with. We will be extending some services with our current providers
Telecom and Gen-i, but will also be going to market to examine other
options in the key areas of mobility and data transfer,” says Thomas.
In regards to the issue of cost effectiveness, virtualisation software
VMware has been of signifi cant benefi t. “Using EMC VMWare we have
virtualised three-quarters of our server environment, and are now
looking at virtualisation across our deployed environments, such as
ships, aircraft and at the army battlefield headquarters,” says Thomas.
Defence employs around 360 ICT staff. Key ICT projects this year
include the NGN network build, an SAP ERP system upgrade to ECC6
and the potential move to a defence-specifi c version of SAP. This will
allow defence organisations to operate a replicated version of the SAP
system between head offi ce and on ships and mobile units.
Other significant projects include an electronic command and control
system for all deployed forces, a focus on improved information and
knowledge management, along with support to the new platforms
being introduced by NZDF over the next 12 months — such as with
new ships as part of the “Protractor” programme.
NZDF will also begin to leverage its investment in VoIP-capable
Nortel PABXs and a VoIP data platform, with planned forays into unifi ed
communication applications using Microsoft technologies.
NZDF is a champion of wireless technologies and sees the potential
benefi ts as signifi cant. There is already some limited wireless infrastructure
across the organisation at an unclassified level, something
that will be extended even further this year.
“We are going through the process of getting approval for wireless
use across our restricted networks. By implementing this technology we
see huge future benefi ts in reducing cost of maintaining and upgrading
infrastructure, but also giving us a more fl exible working environment.
While there are also security considerations; [implemented properly]
wireless can be considered even more secure than fi xed communication
networks,” says Thomas.
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