Run your critical applications in Azure

12 April, 2018 by Lee Simpson

Key Points

  • Cloud adoption is accelerating
  • Australian Federal Government is mandating cloud-first
  • Microsoft Azure’s new Canberra regions are deployed to the CDC the only data centre accredited by the Department of Defence for data classified as ‘Secret’
  • Active-active workloads can now be run in Azure Central region because of low-latency
  • You can co-locate your existing legacy applications in the same datacentre
  • Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has awarded ‘protected’ accreditation to Azure
  • Access to Azure Central is by invite or application only, and Mexia is an approved partner

You are a CIO of a larger organisation and have mission-critical workloads. Your organisation demands that you move faster to respond to the ever-changing market. You want to take advantage of cloud technology; however, you have concerns about the additional resilience and security required by your critical applications. Your applications are complex and want a way to start without having to re-engineer your entire platform.

 

Cloud Adoption is Accelerating

Australia is one of the top adopters of cloud technology – even when considering our small population. Microsoft Azure demand has grown over 100 percent over the last three to four years, and it is still trending upwards. The need to increase the pace of delivery and the need to reduce operational overhead drives the case for cloud adoption.

doi

 

Cloud technology is not fully adopted by all organisations, even though it has been around for some time now. Adoption speed is primarily due to the diffusion of innovation. Innovation rarely takes place at a steady linear rate. Instead, research shows it tends to follow an S-curve, starting quite slowly, needing to demonstrate many attributes, and passing through several phases before being fully adopted.

 

Australian Government is Recommending Cloud

Recently the Australian Government Digital Transformation Agency released its Secure Cloud Strategy to its Government Agencies to help them adopt cloud more easily. The strategy paper has seven Cloud Principles, including “use public cloud services by default”; “use as much of the cloud as possible” and “design services for the cloud”. The official strategy goes on to bust some myths about cloud – such as “The Cloud is not as secure as on-premise services.”

Critical workloads have always been the last to innovate, where the risk appetite is too high - this is about to change.

 

Microsoft Azure’s new Canberra regions are part of the CDC

Last week, the new Canberra Azure regions came online – ready to take on Australia and New Zealand government and critical infrastructure sectors. These include public safety, public health and emergency services, financial services, energy, utilities, telecommunications, food production, and transportation. Applications are classified based on what happens in the event of a failure.

 

cdc

 

Canberra’s CDC is a top-tier data centre formed in 2007 with the sole purpose of being a trusted partner for data centre services. Since its creation, CDC has developed two data centre campuses and continues to expand to support growing client needs and demands. CDC facilities are designed to meet ASIO T4 standards for Zone 4 security (required for ‘Secret’ data) as a minimum by SCEC endorsed consultants. Physical security, access control and Type 1 alarms all meet PSPF requirements. CDC facilities have an upgrade path to easily provide Zone 5 security (required for ‘Top Secret’ data) where and when it is required. The CDC is the only Australian data centre accredited by the Department of Defence for data classified as ‘Secret’. The CDC cannot be transferred to a foreign entity as is entirely Australia owned.

 

Active-Active Workloads Require Low Latency

Now we have four Azure data centres in Australia. Australia East, Australia South-East and the new Australia Central 1 and Australia Central 2. The two central regions are less than 10 km from each other providing less than 1ms latency allowing for synchronous, low latency data replication and optimises local data survival. This configuration supports active-active clustered deployments.

The partnership between CDC and Microsoft allow you to deploy your workloads into these data centres, right next to Azure. This hybrid co-location enables you to flex between traditional applications and Azure services. It simplifies your controls and compliance requirements under a single supply chain.

 

mcs

 

If you are in the Federal Government sector, there is another advantage. You can use your existing Intra Government Communications Network (ICON) for direct connectivity. Other networks can also be accommodated such as AARNET and GovLink. There is of course connectivity over the internet via Sydney, or via ExpressRoute in Sydney or Melbourne. Once you are on the network, all traffic traverses the Microsoft backbone – reducing latency and costs.

As part of the central region announcement, Microsoft announced that it had been awarded protected certification by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). This certification covers Office 365 and a long list of Azure services. The accreditation includes Australia East and Australia Southeast regions. Azure can now hold 85-90 percent of all government data.

 

Mexia Can Help

Access to these new data centres is by invite or application only. You will not find them in the Azure Portal until granted access. Microsoft enforces a community of ‘whitelisted’ members. This restriction further ensures the required performance and availability in the event of a major regional event.

As leaders in cloud solutions, Mexia is a launch partner for the new data centres. Do not get left behind – there are compelling reasons for moving your mission-critical applications to the cloud. Mexia can help you design a roadmap for your enterprise journey to the cloud. We specialise in complex system integration and leverage the latest Microsoft Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS). Have a conversation with one of our integration experts. Get in touch.

Mexia is excited about the potential that this creates for the digital transformation of Australia and New Zealand and is proud to be part of it.

 

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