The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is an independent statutory authority that conducts state elections and by-elections as well as local council, commercial and community elections in the state of Victoria, Australia. It also conducts boundary reviews, maintains the Victorian electoral enrolment register, conducts electoral research and provides education services.
VEC is responsible for conducting elections across the state of Victoria. These include local council, commercial and community polls and its largest event: the Victorian state elections. Its mission is to conduct fair and impartial ballots and deliver timely and accurate results. On election night, the VEC must provide real-time results on its website for live television broadcasts, print media and the public.
VEC’s datacentre, currently supporting VEC’s activities, resides on-site. In the event of IT failure, VEC identified the need for an off-site environment for core services to support continuation of business-critical operations.
“IT managers share a common challenge, and that is keeping business critical applications running, and safe. Being fit for business is important for any company, and for VEC this means to be able to continue to operate in the event of a disaster, or IT failure” said Shripad Joshi, IT Operations Manager, VEC.
I would like to thank the Kloud team for their support and commitment to the project. Their expertise made available during this period ensured strict adherence to the timeline and eventuated in the delivery of the functional DR platform as of July 2016. The team was professional, highly skilled and came with a wealth of knowledge. Their prior experience with AWS, Azure and other cloud providers was clearly evident and resulted in making informed decisions underpinning VEC’s strategic business objectives. - Shripad Joshi, IT Operations Manager, VEC
With council elections looming in October 2016, VEC looked to engage an IT partner to provide an overarching cloud strategy that would take into account its business continuity and disaster recovery objectives. As VEC had no previous DR environment and strategy in place, Kloud’s approach was to assess the existing environment and understand the business critical systems and applications requiring availability in the event of a disaster.
Kloud partnered with VEC to assist with the business and technical analysis of the current capabilities and requirements within their infrastructure environment, in order to map requirements to a strategy for adoption of cloud capabilities.
VEC indicated a number of priorities for consideration as part of an overall cloud strategy:
- Messaging and Archiving
- Disaster Recovery for existing solutions
- Cloud Infrastructure as a Service
- Development practices
As a result of the cloud readiness workshop, Kloud provided VEC with a high-level roadmap for consumption of cloud capabilities, aligned to VEC’s business and technical requirements.
It was decided that Microsoft Azure would provide the best possible support, providing VEC with:
- A connected solution with a wide reach
- An extensible, integrated, and open solution that assists VEC with delivering new sites, innovations and features
- A low-cost solution that is highly accessible and scalable
- Enhanced identity and foundational infrastructure components to support a disaster recovery environment
- Machine and data replication to satisfy business continuity and recovery objectives
- Secure, scalable and reliable disaster recovery services with 99.9% availability
The hybrid environment enables VEC to have on-premises computational infrastructure that can support the average workload, while retaining the ability to leverage Azure for failover circumstances. This environment also allows VEC to have the ability to choose between primary and secondary environments by allowing workloads to move between on-premises and Azure as computing needs, costs change, and disaster recovery.
The VEC has managed to save over 70% of the cost of developing and implementing the disaster recovery solution with features and functionality such as federation, exchange and SQL high availability, identity management and CDN. This has also ensured that the VEC’s ability to provide uninterrupted services has been strengthened with the scaling of infrastructure across regions in a cost effective manner. The solution ensures business continuity in the case of a disaster by switching to the Azure platform for the following business-critical systems:
- Federation Services
- Active Directory
- File Services