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Hewlett Packard Enterprise asked to address ATO outage

Hewlett Packard Enterprise asked to address ATO outage

Federal agency calls in service provider to investigate two-day outage

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has asked its external service provider, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), to address an issue with the agency's online services, portals and website.

The ATO website went offline at approximately 9:30am on Monday morning.

According to The Register the ATO has confirmed the outages were caused by the failure of new HPE 3Par storage units.

Following the outage, ATO acting chief information officer, Steve Hamilton issued a statement which said the ATO was working closely with the vendor to resolve issues around online services, portals and the website.

“These outages relate to a new hardware storage solution that was upgraded in November 2015," Hamilton said.

"Our primary back-up systems, that should have kicked in immediately, were also affected. We understand this is the first time this problem has been encountered anywhere in the world and we are working with HPE to determine the underlying cause.

"While these investigations are ongoing, we have had to implement alternative recovery procedures that are taking longer to complete."

The statement said that no taxpayer information had been compromised and the ATO was “working towards critical systems such as the Tax Agent Portal and ato.gov.au being available later today.”

At 4:30 pm on Monday when systems were still not online, the ATO released a further statement which said “ATO experts continue to work with our partners at HPE to secure and restore IT services.

"We will work with all clients to ensure that nobody is disadvantaged as a result of these systems issues.

“After full restoration, investigations will continue on the cause of the outage to ensure we treat the underlying issues and determine why the switch-over to back-up systems failed on this occasion.”

Fairfax Media has reported that large numbers of ATO officials were unable to to use their computers for two days as a result of the outage.

HPE (then HP) retained its centralised com computing contract with the ATO in 2010, for mainframe, mid-range, data warehouse, storage, secure gateway and data centre services.

The company initially secured the deal following its acquisition of service provider EDS in 2007.

ARN contacted HPE for comment but none was available at the time of publication.

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