​Canberra updates secure fibre for protected-level cloud connectivity

The federal government has completed the installation of its secure fibre network to one of only two secure clouds rated to protected-level in Australia.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Australian government has completed the installation of its secure fibre network connection to Vault Systems' protected-level cloud.

Vault Systems has 288 cores of fibre from the Intra Government Communications Network (ICON), which links over 88 government agencies in Canberra via 9 million metres of single mode optical fibre. The network has 516 points of presence, 3,931 links, and 2,040 pits, with the government spending around AU$5 million per year on new connections, and AU$3 million in annual uptake.

Current estimates from the Department of Finance indicate the network carries in excess of two terabits per second over its pathways.

"Government has a unique combination of latency, throughput, and security requirements that meant that Vault had to overcome the limitations that public cloud providers face and deliver something that works for government," Vault Systems CEO and co-founder Rupert Taylor-Price said.

"In order to accommodate this vast bandwidth that ICON has delivered in this case, we had to upgrade our Unclassified DLM and Protected core networks to 6,400Gbps per network.

"At the same time we also took the opportunity to further invest into government and upgrade the rest of our network to 100Gbps to the node. This has enabled up to 1.2 petabytes of data transiting per hour into the cloud over ICON."

Vault Systems is one of two vendors that have received protected-level certification for the storing of highly classified government information on their respective clouds.

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) handed out the certification in March to Vault Systems and Australian managed services provider Sliced Tech.

At the same time, ASD recognised a total of seven companies for unclassified DLM status: Amazon Web Services for its EBS, EC2, S3, and VPC offerings; Bluemix by IBM; GovZone from Macquarie Telecom; Microsoft with its Azure cloud, Dynamics CRM Online, and Office 365 platforms; Salesforce with its platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service offerings; SliceTech's SaaS cloud; and Vault System's SaaS cloud.

According to Vault Systems, the latest connectivity represents a significant leap forward for government agencies implementing the government's cloud first policy.

In a bid to make it easier for government departments and agencies to procure a cloud-based solutions provider, the Australian government established a Cloud Services Panel as part of a whole-of-government digital strategy.

The decision to form the panel came after it was revealed that despite the government spending over AU$5 billion per year on IT, the total procurement of cloud services by federal agencies since mid-2010 came to just AU$4.7 million.

"The panel aims to offer agencies scalable and flexible cloud services via industry offerings, and do so in a way that reduces the burden on industry," the government's chief technology officer John Sheridan explained previously.

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