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ATO completes internal review, set for major upgrades


The ATO has completed its internal review of the unprecedented system outages and is scheduled to replace its SAN this Easter weekend, however the industry is still waiting on the findings of an independent review from PwC.

By Lara Bullock 12 minute read

In an ATO live webcast yesterday, ATO assistant commissioner Colin Walker gave an update on the progress following the outages that plagued the ATO portals and systems in December and February.

“The major problem that occurred in December and February was related to our primary storage area network, which we call SAN,” Mr Walker said.

“We didn't lose any data but we weren’t able to actually access it, so that impacted the portal, it impacted the people's ability to lodge and certainly in the practitioner space it meant that we weren't able to process anything and that created significant outages.”


In January, the ATO appointed PwC to conduct an independent review into the widespread outages which was initially due to be finalised in March 2017.

“The external review that PwC is doing for us, I haven't got any report on that at the moment, but I expect that we will get that back very soon and will be reporting back to our agents on it,” Mr Walker said.

While awaiting PwC’s report, the ATO has completed its own internal reviews which happened on two levels.

“In the agent space, we actually started to conduct our own review to find out how agents have managed the situation with the outages, what they've been able to do, what they weren't able to do, so that we're able to plan into the future,” he said.

“There was a second one run at a corporate level to look at very similar things, but also to look at how do we work much better with the external community, our agents with our tax payers, to ensure that when something goes wrong, that we have a way to deal with it.”

“So our parts of the review from the internal side we completed, we interviewed many agents, and we got a pretty reasonable perspective on what we need to do to go forward and what we need to do to support our agents.”

Acknowledging that the storage area network was the cause of the issue, the ATO is due to replace its SAN during additional scheduled downtime over this Easter weekend.

“The last couple of weekends, an enormous amount of work has been done to get ready for that change over. It's a matter now of doing the data exchange to make that work,” he said.

“We have a major outage occurring over Easter; we're going to take our systems down from Thursday night through till Tuesday morning. During that period, we'll do the major installation, and we'll bring across all the data.”

Following the SAN replacement, the HPE will conduct a third review into the hardware and how it malfunctioned.

“There will be another review done once we've replaced the SAN, and HPE will take that hardware unit back to America and actually go through it and try to work out what actually happened to our hardware,” Mr Walker said.

“That will be later on around June this year.”

Lara Bullock


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