At a glance

$101K-$200K
2021
6 to 8 weeks
Completed
GovCMS, Drupal
State government
Build & migration, Hosting & maintenance, Support & optimisation, Technical advisory
GovTech, Whole of government, Civic tech, Open source, Web development
Multidisciplinary teams, Tools & systems, Open standards & common platforms, Open source, Testing

Project at a glance

DH’s challenge

With Drupal 8’s end-of-life approaching, regular support for GovCMS Drupal 8 PaaS ended in November 2021 (although GovCMS did provide special extended support to February 2022). Victoria’s Department of Health needed to transition to GovCMS Drupal 9 before the February deadline.

DH’s transformation

Salsa recommended Victoria’s Department of Health upgrade six GovCMS Drupal 8 sites to Drupal 9 as part of one project. This approach provided economies of scale as the same team worked on all sites. We upgraded all the DH sites to Drupal 9 and to the latest GovCMS composer scaffolding on an accelerated schedule.

The outcomes

  • Smooth upgrade of six sites in eight weeks to GovCMS Drupal 9

  • Transition all sites to the latest GovCMS composer scaffolding

  • Project finished ahead of schedule and within budget

  • Seamless transition to Salsa support team

“Salsa provided a highly experienced team of Drupal practitioners and were able to upgrade a suite of our GovCMS websites quickly and seamlessly, helping us to mitigate support, security and service continuity risks.”

Beau Zlatkovic

Senior ICT Project Manager, Department of Health

Detailed case study

DH’s challenge — end-of-life GovCMS Drupal 8

With Drupal 8’s end-of-life approaching, regular support for GovCMS Drupal 8 PaaS ended in November 2021, although GovCMS did provide special extended support through February 2022. Victoria’s Department of Health needed to transition to GovCMS Drupal 9 before the February deadline.

DH approached the market for an experienced GovCMS vendor to provide technical skills for the GovCMS D8 to GovCMS D9 upgrade as well as ongoing digital services.

DH’s transformation — GovCMS Drupal 8 to Drupal 9

To provide efficiency and reduce risks, Salsa recommended DH upgrade six GovCMS PaaS Drupal 8 sites to Drupal 9 as part of one combined project. This strategy allowed the same team to work on some sites in parallel, and to use knowledge gained from one upgrade to smooth the upgrade of other sites. The stretch goal of completing before the holiday season was achieved so sites were upgraded two months before the GovCMS deadline.

The DH Drupal 9 upgrade project required updating Drupal core, contributed modules and themes, and custom modules and themes. We also upgraded all the DH sites to the latest GovCMS composer scaffolding so future support and maintenance would be simplified.

Updating GovCMS scaffolding

Victoria’s Department of Health Drupal 8 sites were using very outdated composer configuration that didn’t leverage recent GovCMS improvements. This limited some GovCMS continuous integration options typically used during deployments such as running automated tests. The older composer scaffolding also did not include some popular Drupal modules such as Address, Migrate Tools, and Twig Tweak.

Upgrading the composer structure was not officially part of the project budget, but Salsa sponsored the effort to ensure the best transition from the upgrade team to the support team. When upgrading your Drupal sites on GovCMS PaaS, we recommend you update to the most recent compatible composer scaffolding at the same time.

Updating the composer scaffolding has delivered tangible benefits, including:

  • GovCMS composer best practices

  • Improved continuous integration options

  • Additional popular Drupal modules available automatically

  • Reduced costs for support and maintenance

The outcomes — strategic site migration 

Major outcomes for DH include:

  • Smooth upgrade of six sites in eight weeks to GovCMS Drupal 9 PaaS

  • Transition all sites to use latest GovCMS composer scaffolding for ease of support

  • Minimal downtime during upgrade process and no issues due to the upgrade

  • Seamless transition to Salsa support team for further maintenance and support

  • Project finished two months ahead of schedule and within budget

With this upgrade and continued Drupal maintenance and support, the Department of Health is well-positioned for the next transition to Drupal 10 when Drupal 9 reaches end-of-life at the end of 2023.

About DH

Victoria’s Department of Health focuses on policies and services for Victorians’ health and wellbeing. It covers health, mental health, ambulance services and ageing. It’s also the lead agency in Victoria’s COVID-19 response. DH is responsible for many websites across these areas.