The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has revealed details of its 18 month ICT procurement plan to delegates of an industry briefing held in Brisbane last week.
The plan will be funded from the agency’s $61.7 million ICT budget for the 2011-12 financial year, and will focus on network improvements, a renewal of the Bureau’s High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure and the rationalisation of server numbers through virtualisation.
This budget includes $7.9 million for hardware expenditure ($1.8 million opex/$6.1 million capex) and $3.7 million for software expenditure ($1.9 opex/$1.8 capex). The Bureau also estimates that its ICT assets are subject to depreciation of up to $28 million per annum.
Approaches to market to source components and services for the Bureau’s HPC renewal and for upgrades to its HF Marine radio capability are on the way, both of which are budgeted at over $100,000.
According the presenters, Chief Information Officer Robert Lovery, and IT Branch Finance Manager Marc Barrow, work is already underway on a number of other projects, including:
- Staffed Office Network Upgrade (SONU)
- Second Data Centre (SDC)
- High Performance Computing (HPC)
- Windows 7/security upgrade
- Increased and improved storage capacity
- Geographic Forecast Editor (GFE)
Many of these projects align with the Bureau’s Strategic Plan 2010-15, which is a roadmap for the modernisation and expansion of the BOM’s ICT and geospatial observation capabilities. According to the strategic plan, some of the capabilities that are due to be delivered by 2015 include:
- The expansion of the BOM’s nationwide networks of monitoring stations, field offices and communications links;
- Secure reliable access to super computer computational cycles and associated mass data storage; and
- Increased data communications bandwidth at field stations and regional offices.
The Bureau has also recently undergone an agency-wide transition to IPv6 from IPv4 and has implemented network improvements to communication between its 4700 data collection units, 70 radar facilities and 63 staffed offices, according to its 2010-11 Annual Report.
The BOM is also moving towards greater server consolidation within its Central Computing Facility (CCF), a process which is geared towards meeting the Federal Government’s 2010-15 ICT Sustainability Plan targets.
When dealing with the BOM, said the presenters, it is important to understand that whilst it is classified as a medium-sized government agency, the data and research-based nature of the BOM has produced a highly technical and complex ICT environment.
Just one day prior to the PIT briefing, the BOM released a RFT calling for the provision of Geofabric Web Services. Applications for the tender are due by 26 March 2012.