​ATO extends Windows Server 2003 support to 2019

Microsoft given AU$2.6 million as part of the contract extending the life of Windows Server 2003.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has extended a custom support agreement contract with Microsoft, keeping the lights on its Windows Server 2003 for another year.

The contract, worth AU$2.6 million, is described on AusTender as additional deliveries by original supplier intended as replacement parts, extensions, or continuation for existing goods or services for compatibility.

A spokesperson for the ATO confirmed with ZDNet that Microsoft is continuing support, despite ceasing extended support on July 14, 2015.

"We have extended Microsoft support for the Windows Server 2003 until June 2019," the spokesperson said.

"This is to finalise the migration of the last five percent of business applications. We are working with our key systems suppliers to ensure that these final applications are fully migrated as expeditiously as possible."

Leading up to the July 14, 2015 deadline, Microsoft ramped up its efforts to encourage enterprises to move to its latest version of the platform, Windows Server 2012 R2 or Azure.

After shuttering support and security updates three years ago, Microsoft offered an exception to that rule, allowing those who shelled out for custom support contracts to access security patches via custom support contracts.

Read also: ATO called out for not tracking costs in digital transformation program

In attempt to "architect for resilience", the ATO has changed up the way its front-end applications talk to its legacy systems, as well as adopted cloud technologies "as much as possible and where appropriate" to provide some of that infrastructure.

"You'd understand how difficult that transition is and in fusing that into that," ATO's CIO Ramez Katf told a Senate committee in March.

"We've already migrated three of our major application channels into a cloud environment. The ato.gov.au new website for example is hosted in a cloud environment and has had 100 percent availability ever since then."

The 2016-17 financial year was a tumultuous one for the ATO where IT infrastructure was concerned, having suffered a handful of outages during the period from "one-of-a-kind" SAN outages to mainframe reboots.

The department responded with promises of "smooth operating" IT, as well as the assurance of a more "connected and bulletproof" system than ever before.

It's also come under the microscope for spending AU$333m on employment outsourcing during the period.


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