LAB3 cultivates Azure infrastructure for DAFF


Mark Sawade (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry)

Credit: Microsoft

LAB3 introduced cloud-based on-demand infrastructure for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to lay the foundation for modernizing its digital agricultural export systems.

LAB3 introduced a technology environment named Azure Platform One for the department through LAB3 Bedrock, an automated deployment of Microsoft Azure built with the infrastructure software tool as open source code Terraform.

Reuben Bettle, federal government director at LAB3, said the “cloud-first” infrastructure is designed to scale due to automation and is compliant with both the Infosec Registered Assessor Program (IRAP) and standards. ISO 27001 cybersecurity.

Work on the project began in November 2021 and was used in DAFF’s first production department in June 2022 to support the department’s ‘Taking Farmers to Market’ initiative, which aims to modernize digital agricultural export systems .

The new infrastructure was needed because its previous setup couldn’t handle it, according to Mark Sawade, CIO at DAFF.

“When I started in February 2021, the first thing my teams told me was this idea that with Taking Farmers to Market, we were releasing code to production multiple times a day,” he said. .

“They also said it would break our existing technology processes and platforms due to our traditional release cycles using on-premises infrastructure.”

LAB3 was chosen as the implementation partner, due to its value for money, its experience with Microsoft and other key DAFF vendor partners, and its ability to work within departmental processes, Sawade added. .

The end result enables DAFF to develop modern applications on a cloud platform that Bettle says will make innovation “easier and more affordable.”

“This places the department in a unique position to develop and deliver world-class services for the agricultural industry,” he added.

The first application developed and deployed on the platform was a certificate scanner that allowed importers and customs officers to validate QR codes printed on export certificates.

“It’s really important that it’s secure and highly available, because of course when you export products halfway around the world, they get it while we sleep,” said Nick Woodruff, head of initiatives at digital business and strategy at DAFF.

“Building the app and deploying it, we couldn’t have done it without this infrastructure in place and it proved the validity of this platform.”

In addition to developing new applications, the department also migrates legacy applications to the new environment.

“It’s not just about brand new digital services – we’re taking on export systems that handle over $1 billion in business a week. [and] put them on that platform,” Woodruff said.

“By using Azure and the cloud, we can add security and availability to some of our legacy platforms without having to go back and revamp them from scratch.

“Then you think traceability and provenance is a big issue, the idea from paddock to plate. So payload data carried with export certificates could also include traceability information or potentially integrate a whole bunch of other information flows and the Azure stack allows us to do that.

LAB3, along with SoftwareONE and Wipro, previously tapped Azure to modernize the bulk of Victorian energy provider AusNet Services’ on-premises data collection systems and put them in the cloud, which was announced in August of Last year.

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