The Government's new datacentre strategy will guide its procurement during the next 15 years.
Under the new plan, the Government will release a request for tender (RFT) in the second half of 2010 to create a whole-of-government procurement panel. It will replace the interim datacentre panel, which was made up of five suppliers, by late 2010.
A second tender will be announced in the fourth quarter of 2010 to create a panel of SMEs and resellers to provide transitional services for agencies moving to new datacentres facilities.
Minister of Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, said all Federal Government agencies will be forced to use datacentre power supplied by a member of the panel once certain triggering conditions are hit.
“We don’t expect them to suddenly start up-ending existing contracts or arrangements, but inevitably these things roll over,” he said. “We expect our datacentre footprint will be significantly reduced and this will be a very important step towards reduction of costs.
“Our datacentre floor space requirements were expected to double if we continued according to the existing arrangements."
The minimum level of floor space required will be 500sqm for a minimum of 10 years. Optional extensions will be available for up to five years.
“I don’t dispute the fact there are some tricky issues involved in this,” Tanner said. “We are not a miscellaneous collection of loosely associated agencies. We are a single entity and we need to start behaving more as a single entity.”
During the first five years, the Government plans to aggregate all its datacentre demands and establish the panel, assist early adopters in their move to shared resource solutions, and define the standards and operations.
It will also consolidate datacentre requirements of the smaller 50 per cent of agencies into common centres.
Agencies will share technology, look at new technologies and processes to further reduce costs.
The Minister did not rule out Government agencies moving into the cloud.
“There’s an early wave of hype, genuine developments are occurring and distinguishing between the two can be challenging. I don’t doubt that [cloud] is going to be a very central part of data management in the future but we will be proceeding with some caution,” he said.
Department of Finance and Deregulation spokesperson, John Sheridan, said the number of panel members is yet to be decided.
“The panel is always picked on the basis of value for money and it’s quite likely we’ll get different value propositions,” he said. “We haven’t imposed some sort of limit on our thinking on this.”
The same point was repeated when Sheridan was asked about the reseller and SME panel.
“For agencies to move between datacentres, they need to use the services of specialists in that area,” he said. “We need their technology, support in order to move data centres and move equipment or to occupy new data centres.”
In September, the Federal Government announced an interim panel of five datacentre suppliers including Canberra Data Centres, Fujitsu, Global Switch Property, Harbour MSP and Polaris Data Centres.