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Australia's National Portrait Gallery paints a digital future

Jennifer O'Brien | June 5, 2017
Government agency using hyper-converged, software-defined storage technology to digitally transform, grow and scale at speed.

"This will allow our staff the ability to collaborate and do exhibitions without being hampered by the restrictions we had previously in our IT."

According to Vintek business development manager, enterprise and government, Greg Lance, the solution took six weeks to build, test, install and deploy, and included a data transfer of 20 terabytes of raw files to software-defined-storage.

Greg Lance
Greg Lance

"We moved the gallery from their existing provider during a six-week period. We built all of the infrastructure and the datacentre. The gallery was on very old software updates all of the time. They were running Windows 7. When we took over we moved everything to Windows 10. We moved everyone to the common platforms of Office 2016," Lance said.

"These were all enhancements which allowed the staff to be able to do things in a much more effective way." 

Lance said the new infrastructure is primed to support the gallery's growth for the next five years, and the gallery now has the flexibility to expand quickly by adding extra hard drives to the servers and buying additional licenses as and when required.

"When we decided to move to a software defined environment using DataCore, this was going to be new technology. But we needed to give the gallery something that gave them guarantees of their infrastructure for the next five years. Even though from day 1, we didn't tell the gallery what we were doing, we just provided it, we can now look back and say.' that was the right decision at the time.'"

Looking back over the overall work over the last 12 months, Birkett said it was a "leap of faith" on the gallery's part in terms of making the technology decisions, and steps involved in moving towards a digital transformation path.

"My big concern was around integrity of data and being able to backup the data, and having access to that data. . . So I was always very keen to try and push things," he said.

Birkett said the move to adopt the new IT system - and its ongoing efforts to adopt cloud technology - enables the agency to expand digital areas such as social media and digital promotions to engage its customers differently.

"With the support of Vintek and Lenovo's Hyper-converged solution powered by DataCore, we now have the opportunity to introduce new ideas and try new things. Whether it's turning on additional storage or speed when we need it, we're no longer limited by our IT storage environment now that we're software-defined."

Birkett said the gallery has already moved some of its systems to the cloud including its finance, payroll, building management and safety monitoring system. "We have an intranet that will be in the cloud - so almost everything will be in the cloud."


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