Foundation for growth and innovation supports online public services, Smart City initiatives and more.
With 40,000 people, the City of Unley is rich in history, character and atmosphere and centrally located only minutes from Adelaide’s city center. To better meet the needs of its residents and businesses in the digital age, the city launched a ‘Digital Unley’ initiative to transform its services and IT infrastructure to better meet the needs of their community, its workforce and the local economy, while improving the residents’ lifestyle.
A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution was a cornerstone of the council’s technology foundation. Migrating its outdated devices to a single hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) has given the council’s small IT team the visibility, control and agility to make its transformation initiative a reality.
This scalable foundation for growth will enable Unley to support more data-informed decision making, assistance for local businesses to engage with the digital world and smart technology for improved liveability.
The City of Unley in South Australia is a vibrant, dynamic local council that provides a range of valued and diverse services to the surrounding community. Based on the city fringe, approximately four kilometers from Adelaide, the council engages with its community across local business initiatives, community events, arts, environmental sustainability, community services and volunteer programs.
The network infrastructure is the cornerstone of the city’s operations, and its IT organization strives to offer accessible, secure, simple-to-use digital service options.
“People everywhere expect to do more online and our residents are no different,” said James Roberts, Manager of Business Systems and Solutions at City of Unley. “In 2018, our council endorsed a strategy for using digital technologies to enhance the lifestyle of residents, better manage the environment, support the local economy and continuously improve the delivery of its services.”
Like many local government organizations, the City of Unley has a limited budget and is focused on giving their community the maximum value for their money.
Roberts and his team had inherited an ageing three-tier infrastructure that offered only limited administrative visibility and was subject to performance issues and downtime. They were looking for a technology platform that could support its transformation, without creating new management expenses.
“As we were redeveloping our environment, we wanted to pick a solution that was fairly simple to manage, with a light touch, but was also very robust,” said Roberts.
The City of Unley was looking to deploy a fresh infrastructure solution from the ground up and evaluated several different architectures before choosing a Nutanix Enterprise Cloud hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).
“We selected Nutanix because it gave us a choice of hardware and enabled us to continue to use our VMware investment as well,” said James. “It supported on-premises compute so we could maintain our security compliance, while providing a reality approach to management and maintenance.”
Unley Council migrated nearly all of its applications and services to two Nutanix clusters with approximately 100 VMs.
Roberts said: “We have placed all our essential local government workloads and applications on to the new solution, including our multi-channel contact center that we use for online and voice interaction, as well as our bandwidth-intensive 3D modeling applications. We use a lot of mapping and analytics to measure our tree canopy cover, as part of our Smart City initiatives.”
To support Disaster Recovery (DR), the council configured its phone system in Nutanix Metro Availability, which enables smooth, immediate cutover to its external cluster if a system goes down.
The new platform has enabled Unley Council to dramatically consolidate its operations, minimizing the costs associated with managing multiple on-premises network devices.
“We were very dependent on consultants before, for things like provisioning storage and servers,” said Roberts. “We spend a lot less on them now, for a tangible saving of approximately 50%. That’s money we can re-invest into more important projects.”
The smaller footprint of the new solution has also driven considerable savings for the City of Unley.
“Our previous three-tier system consisted of about 10 racks of compute equipment, and we have been able to reduce that to a quarter rack. Our power expenses have come down about 70%, which is working out to tens of thousands of dollars – and 24,000 kg of CO2 emissions-saved per year,” said Simon Sowerby, Technical Services Coordinator, City of Unley.
Perhaps best of all, the new solution helps IT save time and refocus its resources on strategic projects, to support more innovative services for citizens and the local business community.
“We were fortunate that we architected our team at the same time we architected our system,” said Roberts. “We are much more of a solutions team now. We spend a lot more time supporting new projects and new services, rather than running around pre-empting the next thing that is going to break. We used to have to come in on weekends and nights to respond to issues and outages. That’s rare now.”
With its scalable infrastructure in place, the City of Unley can choose from several options as it extends its solution for future challenges.
“We are considering implementing the Acropolis AHV hypervisor, which could free up additional licensing costs that we could re-invest,” said Roberts.
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The city is also exploring use of hybrid cloud solutions and is pleased that Nutanix can smoothly adapt to fit a variety of architectures.
“The flexibility of Nutanix could allow us to get the best of both worlds, which really aligns with our needs,” adds Roberts.