ATSB looks to standardise user computing on Surface Pro 2

ATSB looks to standardise user computing on Surface Pro 2

Summary: The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has gone to market to assess a refresh of its Windows-based server and desktop computing needs.


Computing environment refreshes are the order of the day at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) as the organisation has issued a request for information (RFI) detailing an update of its server and desktop computing needs.

Although currently using Windows 7 as a standard operating environment across the national transport safety investigator, the ATSB is looking to standardise on a platform consisting of a fleet of Microsoft Surface Pro 2s running Windows 8.1 for its approximately 125 staff. The hardware will be purchased through the federal government's whole of government desktop hardware panel.

In tandem with the move to Surface, the organisation will be looking to update its Windows Server environment, Tier 1, 2 and 3 data storage, and to establish communications channels between all ATSB locations. The ATSB's current Windows Server environment consists of a number of HP Proliant machines running Windows Server 2008 R2.

The proposed refresh is currently at the RFI stage, which upon completion, will be reviewed by the ATSB executive for approval, and if successful, to procure the preferred option.

Any contractor that won a future tender would need to allow the bureau to meet its legislative needs to archive data for seven years, and ensure that all data remains within Australia. In the event of any data loss or corruption, the ATSB requires that it loses no more than 24 hours' worth of data.

Despite looking to the market for a managed service solution for most of its IT infrastructure, the agency is looking to retain control of its printer provisioning and management.

The ATSB announced earlier this month that it had chosen to stay with BlackBerry for its phones and handset management. The agency said it was rolling out BlackBerry Z10 and Z30 smartphones, as well as upgrading to BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.

Interested parties have until December 9 to respond to the RFI.

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Government AU


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • poor people...

    ...using such horrible software.they could save billions just to switch on linux
    • A failed agency adopts a failed platform

      The ATSB is a sad and sorry sight.

      It is supposed to be an agency that investigates crashes. Flight crashes, not computer crashes, but with its new platform it will get plenty of blue screen crashes that its IT people can spend time investigating.

      The ATSB is a poor copy of the US NTSB. The ATSB releases reports, such as the one about the Pel-Air air ambulance crash into the Pacific Ocean, that it then admits is a poor quality report, so poor that it invoked a senate inquiry into the poor investigation.

      So, it comes as no surprise that this failed crash agency adopts a tablet platform that has also failed, and is famous for its crashes. Windows tablets were always a failed proposition. The Surface tablets are a sales disaster because nobody is buying them. It's just a matter of time before Microsoft cancels the billion-dollar loss that Surface has become.

      So we can sit back and eat our popcorn and watch the ATSB go down this road, and watch the whole thing turn into a train wreck, I mean, a plane wreck.
      • Blue screens...

        Blue screens... really?

        I'm a Windows sysadmin. Work with and on the platform all day, every day. Last time I saw a BSOD was last Christmas, while visiting my parents. Their machine running Vista was blue-screening periodically due to faulty RAM. Replaced the DIMM that afternoon at Best Buy and all was resolved.

        Windows as a platform has its weaknesses, but when you assert that BOSD are in any way common on recent machines then clearly you don't know what you're talking about.
        • Obviously you wouldn't have that problem with Linux

          Nothing ever goes wrong in Linux, right? Ram would fix itself and magical rainbow unicorns keep the operating system running so smooth sysadmins are no longer needed.

          In all seriousness, this seems like a perfect use case for Surface Pro. The Linux crowd can try to tear down windows in an effort to build up linux all they want, but there really isn't a comparable linux solution for the Surface.
          • The Surface Blue-Screens-Of-Death are well known

            Here's a ZDNet report.

            There have been numerous other stories on this in other publications. Both Surface platforms (RT & Pro) are utter failures that cannot last.

            Just like the crashed Pel-Air ambulance aircraft, the Surface will sink below the... well, below the surface.
    • Linux desktop is dead

      Get over it, Linux on desktop is dead and always has been. Does not matter if its better, more secure and whatever else its better at. Windows 8 problems have really nothing to do with security. Its a much better OS for security then any Windows yet.
      • You need to do some more reading

        You can start by reading The Guardian report titled:

        'Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages'

        Do a search for the story and you'll find it.

        Any OS that allows the NSA to have a back door so they can rifle through all your personal belongings with ease, cannot be considered secure.
        • Ms hater

          ... tell me about you mother. Is there something that you need to express? I suggest some time off. Maybe a vacation.

          The thing is that I see no point for so much hate about Windows. Linux is great. So is Windows. Please enjoy your favorite OS, at home, alone. Forever.
      • Hmmm.

        "Its a much better OS for security than any Windows yet."

        That's like saying the security layer is now built of cardboard instead of tissue paper.
        Alan Smithie
        • If that's the case, what does Linux's security look like?

          A blanket of warm air?
        • @Alan Smithie, please educate us

          How does one prevent an arbitrary executable from running on GNU/Linux?

          With Windows, sysadmins can either deploy Microsoft's AppLocker, which has been included with enterprise versions of Windows since Windows 7, or they can choose from a number of 3rd party whitelisting solutions.

          And how does one enhance the DEP and ASLR that's included in the GNU/Linux kernel?

          With Windows, sysadmins can deploy Microsoft's EMET to enhance both DEP and ASLR, which have been built into Windows since Windows Vista, and centrally manage it via group policy.

          And, finally, name one GNU/Linux distro that defaults with either a SELinux policy or AppArmor profile enabled for both Firefox and LibreOffice?
          Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Nothing is free....

      ...not even Linux.
      • Especially true for the enterprise

        The migration from Windows to GNU/Linux (including open source applications) takes time and time is money. In addition, enterprises want support for their operating systems and support costs money too, even if internal staff provide the support. Canonical, Ltd., SUSE and Red Hat all offer support for the enterprise GNU/Linux desktop/workstation and it's neither free nor inexpensive.
        Rabid Howler Monkey