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At Cisco Live in Melbourne last week we hosted a customer showcase panel (see photos here) for attending press and analysts. Alongside St Andrew’s hospital, an Adelaide-based private hospital, and Relationships Australia WA, a not-for-profit which has rolled out Cisco collaboration kit, the IT Operations Manager from Country Fire Authority (CFA), Gary Phillips, discussed the roll-out of a Cisco UCS based data centre platform.

In a country where threat to property and life from bushfires is a major concern every summer, it is important that the men and women tasked to protect us are equipped with the best and most advanced technology available to them. The CFA is the state of Victoria’s dedicated rural fire brigade.

One of the recommendations to come out of the Royal Commission into the 2009 “Black Saturday” bushfires was the fact that CFA needed to review its approach to technology. The first step on this road was the deployment of Cisco networking equipment, giving CFA greater reach and performance for its WAN communications across the vast Victorian bush. This allowed the department to support rapid emergency responses in Victoria with greater reliability.

The next step towards a professional IT infrastructure was an upgrade of its data centre operations. Previously, CFA was operating a single primary data centre with a secondary one for disaster recovery. There was a great deal of operational risk involved with this set-up, since if hardware failed where there was no built-in redundancy, the code would be unavailable until the disaster recovery site was activated.

Cisco implemented a Cisco UCS data centre architecture allowing the CFA to achieve greater value from its data centres and enabling them to deliver greater support with the same ecological footprint and cost. Tasks that previously took up to three weeks on the legacy system take about 20 minutes on theCisco UCS-based operation. With the best quality IT infrastructure supporting them, the 60,000 firefighters, 58,000 of which are volunteers, can focus on their jobs -- protecting life and property. You can view the case study in full here.

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