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AGIMO releases draft RFT for data centre facilities

by Kristen Hammond •
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The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), an office within the Federal Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance), has released the Statement of Requirement (SOR) for its Data Centre Request for Tender (RFT) as a draft for comment.  This is in line with the consultative process it has used to date for the Data Centre Strategy, announced by Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner on 22 March 2010.

The consultation on the draft SOR is being conducted by Kayelle Wiltshire, Assistant Secretary, Central Facilities, as part of the implementation of the first stage of the Data Centre Strategy.  The Strategy aims to guide the Federal Government’s procurement and management of data centre services over the next fifteen years.   Comments are being sought via the AGIMO blog for the next three weeks.

For the second time, AGIMO is trailblazing the application of ‘Gov2.0’ by using its blog to seek industry comment.  The first use was by Mundi Tomlinson to sound out industry on the Panel for the Provision of Telecommunications Operational Management Services. 

The Data Centre Strategy arose from the Gershon Review, which recommended the development of a whole-of-government approach for future data centre requirements in order to save the government $1 billion over the next decade.  Integral to the scheme is the establishment of a panel of suppliers from which agencies will be required to procure all data centre services.

The draft RFT outlines a preliminary Statement of Requirements (SoR) for the selection of the panel of suppliers.  According to Wiltshire, this draft was developed after comments on the draft EOI were received and also incorporates the Australian Information Industry Association’s (AIIA) ‘Whole-of-Government Data Centre Strategy: Industry Best Practice Principles’.

The EOI sought members of an interim data centre panel.  The panellists were announced on 28 September 2009 as being Canberra Data Centres, Fujitsu Australia Limited, Global Switch Property Australia, Harbour MSP Pty Ltd and Polaris Data Centres, of which only Canberra Data Centres has been awarded contracts to date.  Intermedium’s analysis of AusTender data has revealed that three contracts have been signed under this panel between Canberra Data Centres and:

  • the Department of Innovation Industry Science and Research (DIISR) in March 2010 at a value of $1.75 million;
  • IP Australia in March 2010 at a value of $858,000; and
  • the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) in May 2010 at a value of $71,271.

According to Ms Wiltshire’s blog, ‘a separate RFT for the provision of Data Centre Migration Services is currently being prepared and more information will be made available at a later date’.

Both federal and state agencies will be able to access data centre services off the panel once it is in place.

The SoR is applicable to ‘any space that provides electricity, cooling, fire suppression and/or security to data centre ICT such as servers, networks and data storage’.

A key component of the SOR is for the intending tenderer to be able to offer data centre facilities are either ‘ready now’, ‘available later’, ‘under fit-out’ or ‘Greenfield’.  However, a separate response must be supplied for each of these options.

Requirements for site selection, including geographical advantages or risks, mechanical and electrical services, utilities, security, architecture, data hall/s and cooling are also included in the draft SOR which requests that tenderers provide details of green power (from renewable sources) and how they intend to minimise use of water and electricity in order to fulfil the sustainability elements of the Data Centre Strategy. 

Blogger Tom Worthington makes the first substantive comment, pointing out that “there are no mandatory requirements for energy saving, materials recycling or reporting in the draft...despite requirements placed on government agencies to do so”.

Mr Worthington explained that reporting of this type is an important aspect of data collation on issues such as energy and greenhouse gas omission. The draft document’s lack of requirements for reporting makes government CIOs less likely to comply with green IT initiatives and a whole-of-government ICT sustainability plan.


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