UniSuper selects Google Cloud to ‘spearhead’ transformation

Google Cloud UniSuper

UniSuper, which boasts more than 620,000 members, has announced it has selected Google Cloud to support its transformation into an all-cloud operating environment.

The superannuation provider will utilise Google Cloud VMware Engine (GCVE) – a platform that supports a ‘lift and shift’ migration of VMware-based workloads from an on-premise data centre to Google Cloud – to support its transition to a dedicated VMware Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) in Google Cloud.

“The ability to easily migrate VMware environments with GCVE, with minimal effort and disruption, will enable greater scale and agility, driving operational efficiencies,” UniSuper said in a release.

The super fund announced it will also work with Kasna, a Google specialist migration support service, to support its “rapid shift” to an all-cloud operating environment.

Speaking with FST Media via email, Sam Cooper, UniSuper’s head of architecture confirmed that “no workloads will be retained in on-premise data centres”, with the super fund already well progressed in its migration to an all-cloud operating environment.

“The overarching strategy is to enable rapid scalability while also moving away from performing non-differentiating tasks associated with maintaining commodity infrastructure,” he said.

“This will assist us in delivering efficiencies that help us to keep fees low for members.”

UniSuper’s strategy, he said, “is to move to SaaS-based applications where possible in the first instance”, anticipating that the vast majority of its workload migrations will be complete by the end of September this year.

He added that “some remaining ancillary services will be rehosted in FY24… with the full exit of on-premise data centres planned for shortly thereafter”.

Despite the prominence of Google Cloud in its all-cloud transition, Cooper confirmed that the company is committed to a multi-cloud strategy, already utilising Microsoft Azure to operate its digital and integration platforms.

“This [multi-cloud] strategy is about having the right tools to operate efficiently to deliver for our members.”

In a statement, UniSuper said its Google Cloud partnership would serve to “[accelerate] its technology, scale, and simplification strategy” and increase overall workforce efficiency and productivity.

“This will eliminate the challenge of hardware lifecycle management and operation of undifferentiated commodity infrastructure, enabling UniSuper’s employees to focus on higher-value tasks.”

“With Google Cloud, UniSuper will be able to augment enterprise infrastructure in minutes – a substantial advantage in a highly competitive and regulated industry.”

Cooper, in a statement, praised the Google Cloud VMware Engine for providing a “streamlined and extremely easy” path to migration.

“It’s all about efficiencies that help us deliver highly competitive fees for our members.”

He additionally praised Google Cloud’s offering for its “99.99 per cent service uptime, competitive pricing, and stretched clustering functionality available as a native solution”.

He also recognised Google Cloud’s commitment to matching its global energy consumption with 100 per cent renewable energy.

“This alignment with UniSuper’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions in our operations, including in achieving carbon neutral certification, made the fund’s selection of Google Cloud an appealing strategic choice.”

He added that UniSuper’s mobile app “sits at the heart of our digital strategy to deliver a deeply personal and engaging experience to our members”.

Leveraging the “supporting capability” of “scalable and stable public cloud platforms would enable success in this strategy”, he said.

“We are extremely proud of our achievements in this space with our app user rating sitting at 4.75/5 across Google and Apple App stores, with further capability on the horizon to build off our current success.”