New Zealand’s Dunedin City Council migrates to public cloud on Azure

Alice Chambers
Alice Chambers
By Alice Chambers on 08 April 2022
New Zealand’s Dunedin City Council migrates to public cloud on Azure
Unsplash/@amoslament

Dunedin City Council (DCC), New Zealand’s only Unesco City of Literature, has taken a cloud-first by migrating its data to Microsoft Azure to enable employees and members of the public to access information from any device.

DCC administers the city’s core infrastructure, including many private and public properties such as residential homes, libraries, pools and art galleries.

New Zealand-based Microsoft partner and technology management and modernisation provider CCL and its cloud transformation unit Leaven helped DDC to develop a strategy to move its systems onto Azure.

“We used Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework to help identify workloads and steer the migration project,” said Elizabeth Kirby, head of strategic alliances at CCL. “Migrating to the cloud effectively requires a solid foundation, and that’s what we wanted to build for the council. Having access to state-of-the-art resources from the Microsoft team means that we are getting that process right and building an effective platform for DCC.”

CCL and Leaven established a landing zone in Azure for the council, moving 10 of its non-production apps into Azure infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), allowing the testing and pre-production process to take place on virtual machines in the cloud. This has helped Ōtepoti residents in Dunedin to find information during a civil emergency, or information about the council’s recreational facilities.

“It’s about being able to use any device, any place, any time,” said Graeme Riley, chief Information officer at DCC. “We wanted to future-proof ourselves by transitioning our physical infrastructure to the cloud and we wanted to make sure we got it right.”

The council has now cut costs by 49 per cent having moved its non-production applications from private to public cloud hosting on Azure IaaS. Costs have been reduced by using virtual machines during the working day and switching them off overnight, which was impossible to do on the private cloud.

“Stuff like that sounds minor, but it has made a big difference for our costs and capability,” said Riley. “We’ve been able to make a huge improvement to our efficiency, but everything works the same for us, and for residents. Being able to provide improved services without any disruption to the way things work is exactly what we wanted from this project.”

CCL, Leaven and DCC are preparing to embark on the next phases of the migration, which will eventually include having all systems in Azure, enabled through Microsoft’s New Zealand data centre.

“For organisations that have to handle a lot of data, there’s no better solution than the public cloud,” said Matt Bostwick, partner director at Microsoft New Zealand. “The experience of DCC, ably assisted by the teams at CCL and Leaven, goes to show how crucial it is to build a strong starting point to unlock the benefits that Azure can bring.”

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