Revealed: Another storage crash behind latest ATO outage

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Contractor scrambling to restore from back-up.

A major outage to the Australian Taxation Office’s online systems on Thursday was caused by another failure of a storage network, except this time with the ATO’s other main IT contractor, Leidos.

The tax agency’s IT partner HPE was famously behind the collapse of the ATO’s 3PAR storage area network (SAN) last December and February this year.

A report into the incidents published last week revealed a series of technical causes – such as improperly fitted cables and inactive monitoring tools – coupled with system design issues, like performance being promoted over stability and resilience, as being behind the failures.

The ATO introduced a new SAN in April, and is planning to fully decommission the existing network in July so HPE can ship it back to the US for testing.

However, the agency looks to be facing a fresh round of storage headaches with a network operated by IT outsource partner Leidos, formerly Lockheed Martin IS&GS Australia.

The firm was contracted by the ATO in 2010 to provide computing hardware, services, and support. The deal included both end user technology and support and enterprise service management centre.

Sources have told iTnews the latest outage – which started at around 10am AEST and was ongoing at the time of writing – was triggered by the crash of a storage array run by Leidos.

The storage array failure prompted Active Directory domain controllers, similarly managed by Leidos, to fall over, the sources said.

iTnews understands efforts are currently underway to restore from back-up.

It is unclear what caused the intial storage failure.

iTnews was unable to independently verify the information, and the ATO declined to comment beyond its public statements. At 2:15pm AEST the agency advised its online systems were progressively being restored.

The technology issues are particularly concerning for the ATO given the imminent start of tax time 2017.

The agency promised to rebuild its internal capability for IT in response to the HPE issues.

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