The Department of Defence is in the process of selecting a preferred supplier for what is likely to emerge as one of the biggest outsourcing contracts awarded by the Federal Government in recent years.
With its Data Centre Migration Project well underway, the Department has just gained First Pass Approval to begin consolidating its remaining data facilities under the umbrella of the Centralised Processing (CP) project.
The Data Centre Migration is the first step in the Department’s data centre consolidation, and involves the transition from its existing primary data centre facility in Deakin, ACT to a new Tier 3 facility in Sydney, which will act as its new primary data centre.
Defence signed a ten year lease with Global Switch in May 2010 in order to secure the new facility.
The CP Project is a second and separate stage of the data centre consolidation and will see the remainder of the data centres currently being used by Defence replaced by a handful of more efficient facilities.
“The CP project will lead to savings on support and equipment costs; enhancing delivery of information and communications technology services and reducing energy consumption. It is expected that almost $250 million in savings will be made over the coming decade,” said a Defence spokesperson.
A Defence official told Intermedium that at the very least it will need a primary data centre, a large secondary data centre and a disaster recovery facility, plus any further data centre facilities deemed necessary to support the Department’s 110,000 end-users. The number of additional centres, if any are needed, will be decided upon at a later stage.
He said that it was important to have the primary data centre operational as early as possible prior to embarking on the subsequent stage of the data centre consolidation, hence the staged approach.
According to Defence’s Request for Information (RFI) released in August, the Department intends to contract a single service provider as a prime contractor with responsibility for the entire end-to-end CP solution.
“Defence has released a RFI to industry, seeking indicative costs and recommended best industry data centre practices. This activity will provide data that will be used to inform the Second Pass submission to Government, and to ensure Defence meets business outcomes as identified in the Strategic Reform Program,” said the Defence spokesperson.
Defence is currently in the process of composing a shortlist of applicants who will be invited to submit tenders for the program of work in a restricted Request for Tender. The RFT is due to be released to the shortlist in Quarter Two of the 2012 calendar year.
Intermedium sought to clarify the scope and nature of services sought through the tender, and also to ascertain whether the single provider would have to be a member of the Whole-of-Government Data Centre Facilities Panel, but Defence was unable to address these questions.
“Defence is currently in a tender build phase of the Centralised Processing project. Due to ongoing engagement with industry and the Australian Government Information Management Office on these issues, we are unable to answer these questions at this time,” a spokesperson said in response to our queries.
The Department’s final set of requirements for the CP tender will be influenced by the information collected through the RFI process. However Defence offers some preliminary indications of its data centre vision within the original RFI documentation.
“Defence anticipates that the Centralised Processing services may include:
- software application hosting;
- data storage;
- business continuity;
- backup and recovery of data;
- disaster recovery;
- provision of data centre facilities;
- facility management;
- infrastructure management;
- optimisation and improvement;
- advice and consulting;
- consistent reporting; and
- single-point financial accounting and asset management” said the documents.
In August the Department awarded a $40 million contract to Accenture to undertake the migration of hosted data from the Deakin facility to the Sydney Global Switch facility, as part of the Data Centre Migration Project. While Accenture is not a member of the Whole-of-Government Data Centre Migration panel, Defence was granted leave to continue with the procurement which had commenced prior to the panel’s establishment.
It is unclear whether the migration to the remaining facilities, still to be established under CP project, will be covered by the CP RFT. If not, it is likely that Defence will be obliged to procure these services through a separate approach to market and will need to sign a contract with one of the eight members of the Whole-of-Government Data Centre Panel.
Alongside the Terrestrial Communications service bundle, and the Distributed Computing service bundle, the CP project makes up the ICT component of Defence’s Strategic Reform Program, aimed at saving the Department $20 billion over ten years to be re-invested into capability.
The total ICT savings component of the SRP program is $1.9 billion over the ten-year timeframe.
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