DTA’s ‘redundant’ cloud platform decommissioned


Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

The Digital Transformation Agency’s platform to assist government agencies building cloud services was decommissioned late last year because it had become ‘redundant’, the agency’s boss says.

Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) chief executive officer Chris Fechner fronted a Senate Estimates hearing just after 10.50pm on Monday night, mere minutes before the cut-off for the day. The new chief executive, who has only briefly fronted Estimates on one previous occasion, was only asked questions by One Nation Senator Malcolm Robert, and did not have an opening statement.

Mr Fechner was questioned about the decommissioning of the cloud.gov.au platform, and the storage of data from that program on open source repository GitHub.

DTA CEO Chris Fechner

Cloud.gov.au was launched in January 2018 as a secure cloud-based platform for hosting website applications, assisting government agencies when building digital services. The service aimed to encourage a cloud-first approach and provided infrastructure, monitoring and delivering tools for teams in government.

But the platform was quietly shuttered in September last year by the DTA, at a time when it was decommissioning a number of its other projects following a significant restructuring and change in remit.

Mr Fechner said the platform was launched at a time when adopting cloud services was new to most government agencies, but now the services offered by it are readily available by the private sector.

“As that capability has progressed it was clear that the market was able to provide those services and the intent behind the service has been largely replaced by other components that we have, such as the hosting certification framework,” Mr Fechner told the Estimates hearing.

That meant that the DTA’s service had become “redundant”, Mr Fechner said.

“The highly available public cloud services, the high security associated with them and the addition of additional controls such as the hosting certification framework that added specific controls to make sure government was clear where government data was stored, how it was moved and where that data was being managed by others, that it was safe and secure in those location,” he said.

“Services that are using that function are all being decommissioned or being moved onto alternative platforms.”

At the same time cloud.gov.au was brought to an end, the DTA also decommissioned the Australian government design system, which was a framework and set of tools for designers and developers to build uniform government products and services.

It also recently scrapped its digital project transparency dashboard, and offloaded a number of other projects to other agencies after being moved to the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and having its remit significantly altered.

At the late night Estimates hearing, Mr Fechner was also questioned about Google Analytics, the APS style guide and the myGovID app.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

4 Comments
  1. Enzo Fable 6 months ago
    Reply

    Is there anything to do with data management that isn’t directly under the control of PMO?

  2. Digital Koolaid 6 months ago
    Reply

    Q: Hey, companies we paid to build all this useless stuff, can we have our money back?
    A: Huh! We’ve got your money, and we’re not giving it back …
    (public cloud == cloud owned and operated by a private company == private cloud)

    • Bemused bystander 6 months ago
      Reply

      1. 11 years ago AGIMO was presented with an overview of how a ‘government community cloud’ platform and service could be built. There was no feedback.
      2. 11 years ago AGIMO was presented with a costed solution to build a whole of federal government email service that would save approximately $70million per annum. The figures used in the solution were provided by Treasury. There was no feedback.
      3. Government does not have and likely will never have, the capability or capacity to innovate, design and deploy large scale IT infrastructure projects in a timely manner to meet new requirements and growing demand.

      • Digital Koolaid 6 months ago
        Reply

        AGIMO was the name of a chopped-off part of the NOIE. Same thing happening at the DTA. Start a big thing. Fail fast. Make it bigger. Fail more. Hash it up and re-name the bits. Move it to anther place. Give it more money. Fail more. Hide it. Give it more money. Fail more. Extinct it. Give the money to a new acronym that is sure to succeed – of course it will

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