At a glance

4 to 6 months
GovCMS, Drupal, LAGOON
Federal government
GovTech, Whole of government, Web development
Multidisciplinary teams, Tools & systems, Security, Open standards & common platforms, Open source

GovCMS’s challenge

The GovCMS platformExternal Link was built on OpenShift 3.11, which was coming to end-of-life. GovCMS needed to either migrate the GovCMS platform to the newer OpenShift or move to a different Kubernetes provider. This was essential because security patches would end once the service hit its end-of-life date.

GovCMS’s transformation and Salsa recommended migrating to Amazon’s Kubernetes serviceExternal Link , EKS. Salsa then executed the migration of the GovCMS platform (and the 350+ sites on the platform) from OpenShift to AWS’s EKS service. The sites were all migrated successfully with no outages.

The outcomes

  • GovCMS now benefits from a more resilient and flexible Kubernetes service

  • Protection from security and maintenance issues due to end-of-life lack of support

  • Long-term cost savings for GovCMS

Detailed case study

GovCMS’s challenge — end-of-life OpenShift

Australia’s whole-of-government GovCMS platform was built on OpenShift using GitLab and’s Lagoon. However, GitLab’s v14 (which was due in May 2021) wasn’t going to be compatible with the GovCMS OpenShift release, OpenShift 3.11 (which was also nearing end-of-life). Together,, Salsa and the GovCMS team reviewed the maintenance and security repercussions and different technical solutions. and Salsa recommended moving from OpenShift to AWS’s open source Kubernetes platform, EKS. This entailed the migration of GitLab Core and GitLab Runners/CI from Openshift 3.11 to AWS EKS.

GovCMS’s transformation — migrating 350+ sites

Over 350 sites needed to be migrated from OpenShift to EKS. Salsa presented two options:

  1. Migrating the sites all at once

  2. Migrating the sites in batches

GovCMS chose the staggered approach and so we put together some logical groupings for each batch. For example, many GovCMS clients have more than one site on the platform, so it made sense to migrate all of their sites at once. We also put a cap on the file system size for each migration batch. We broke the migration into five groups, with a cap of 400GB per group. We ended up with 70-80 websites in each group.

We then created migration scripts and automated the migration process with Ansible. We conducted warm migrations during business hours, but completed the final migrations and cutovers to the new sites during the weekend, to reduce risk.

In total over 4TB of data (2TB in production) needed to be moved. The biggest file size for a single website was 186GB. The sites were smoothly migrated with no outages.

Part of the project also involved change management, including updating collateral/documentation and training the Salsa and GovCMS teams on the new EKS platform.

The outcomes — new supported platform

The outcomes delivered include:

  • GovCMS platform (including 350+ production sites) migrated onto the new EKS platform

  • Protection from security and maintenance issues due to end-of-life lack of support

  • New infrastructure allows for greater separation between production and non-production workloads

  • More flexibility for GovCMS/Finance to manage different configurations for different sites

  • More resilient platform

  • Long-term cost savings for GovCMS — EKS can scale compute so part of the infrastructure can be ‘put to sleep’ when not in use

About GovCMS

The Department of FinanceExternal Link (Finance) owns the GovCMS platform, a whole-of-government digital platform for use across all levels of government in Australia. GovCMS is built on Drupal, an award-winning, enterprise-grade CMS that’s easy to use, stable, highly secure and open source (no license fees).