Port Authority (PA) is a state-owned corporation responsible for commercial maritime operations at multiple locations on the country's east coast. They handle the navigation, maintenance, and security needs of commercial shipping, managing Sydney's two world-class international cruise terminals and responds to maritime emergencies.
In 2014, the PA decided to review its technology infrastructure. From the review, Port's initial focus was on upgrading the disaster recovery environment. Also, the organisation faced a two-year deadline to take on IT management for the four other ports, including corporate business software and specialized technologies used in the port operation. After careful consideration, PA decided that the cloud was the best choice. They realised upgrading its on-premises infrastructure would be too time-consuming and costly, and other factors were resulting to the decision. Ian Chilton, Senior Manager, Solutions Development and Services, Port Authority of NSW explains "The main driver was gaining a more flexible and scalable IT architecture." Further explaining "We've gone through a lot of changes including a period of partial privatization, and we've merged with other ports within the state. So we were really looking for options offering flexibility and scope for change at this stage whilst also making some cost efficiencies."
PA chose Microsoft partner cubesys to help with the first phase of its transition to the cloud, migrating its disaster recovery and development environments to Azure. "cubesys are experienced with the entire Azure platform and Microsoft products in general," says George Tzikas, Senior IT Infrastructure Specialist at Port Authority of NSW. "We were very impressed with the quality of their engineers and the extra mile they'll go to deliver projects." The organisation had the same confidence in Azure, hence making their move to the cloud platform and seeking cubesys for assistance. Tzikas says, "We looked at multiple hosting vendors when we undertook the tender process. The Azure platform stood out to us because of its flexibility, multiple sites, security, and Microsoft's good partnership with cubesys." The latest disaster recovery solution is based on Microsoft Operations Management Suite, Azure Site Recovery, and Azure Backup services. cubesys also assisted PA on installing a development and test environment on Azure, using Azure Site Recovery for migration and creating a self-service portal for developers to manage Azure Virtual Machines. In addition to that, cubesys also took over the PA's disaster recovery process as a managed service.
Ian Chilton further explains "The transition to Microsoft Azure is about moving from a model based on capital expenditure to a system based on operational expenditure. That's what a lot of the industry is doing: moving from a 'we own' to a 'we subscribe' model." Port Authority is looking forward to a more agile environment efficiently providing better services to a mobile workforce of marine pilots and other port personnel. By moving to the cloud, Port Authority can take on current and future trails more easily.