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Six agencies likely to enter the market for Data Centre Facilities in 2012

by Paris Cowan •
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Now more than nine months since its commencement, there has yet to be a single contract signed through the Federal Government’s whole-of-government Data Centre Facilities Panel, a spokesperson for the Department of Finance and Deregulation has confirmed to Intermedium.

The panel commenced in March 2011, in response to a key recommendation of the 2008 Gershon Review of the Government’s use of ICT, which advised that the Commonwealth should radically consolidate its data centres in pursuit of a $1 billion savings dividend.

According to Finance, its partner panel, for Data Centre Migration services, has been marginally more popular.

“Two contracts have been signed for services from the Data Centre Migration Services Panel: High Court of Australia with Colliers and ASIC with HP,” she said.

Prior to the establishment of the Data Centre Facilities Panel, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) set up an interim panel to cover those agencies whose data centre needs were so pressing that they could not wait for the final panel to be established before approaching the market.

Some major contracts were facilitated through this panel. The Department of Defence entered into a ten year data centre lease with Global Switch, although the particulars of the deal were never published on Austender. 

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR), IP Australia and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC) also signed contracts through the interim panel.

It would seem therefore, that this interim panel absorbed all of the pent up data centre demand causing a hiatus in data centre procurement since the final panel became operational.

Under the AGIMO requirements, agencies do not have to transition their data centre supply arrangements to the whole-of-government panel until they reach any one of a number of trigger points in their procurement lifecycle, which are as follows:

  • Lease expiry;
  • Major asset replacement;
  • Building moves;
  • End of life of the data centre; or
  • Significant increase in data centre capacity

Based on these trigger points, Intermedium has mapped the procurement schedules of a number of Federal agencies to forecast which are the most likely candidates to sign the very first data centre contract under the whole-of-government panel, which is due to expire in November 2016.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) currently sources its data centre hosting needs through a Standing Offer Arrangement with Hitachi, which is due to expire in August 2012. DEEWR has confirmed that it will turn to the whole-of-government panel to find a new supplier upon this expiry. Hitachi is not currently a member of the Data Centre Facilities Panel.

Australian Electoral Commission

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) currently has a lease in place for data centre floor space with IBM, which will see the agency through until January 2013.

“The AEC currently uses a small amount of data centre space from IBM and would anticipate moving to a provider under the Whole-of-Government Data Centre panel in line with the whole-of-government data centre strategy,” said an agency spokesperson.

According to its procurement plans on the Austender website, the AEC is currently overdue for an approach to market to engage a new provider.  Like Hitachi, IBM is not a member of the Data Centre Facilities Panel.

Department of Defence

Defence is currently in the process of selecting a shortlist of respondents to a Request for Information (RFI) for its Centralised Processing project. The shortlisted suppliers will be invited to tender for the opportunity to supply an end-to-end data centre solution for Defence, beyond the primary facility already leased from Global Switch.

However, the Department will not confirm its intention to select a whole-of-government Data Centre Facilities panellist for the contract, citing as its reason the fact that the procurement process is still underway.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

ASIC signed a $4.6 million contract with Fujitsu in 2010 for a "New Data Centre", which has now expired. Fujitsu, however, has made onto the current facilities panel, so will be available as a supplier to the agency into the future.

ASIC also has a data centre contract in place with IBM, which expires in February 2012. If it has no options to extend this contract with IBM, as with the AEC, it will have to find a new supplier, as IBM is not a Data Centre Facilities panellist.

ASIC has declined to comment on its future procurement intentions.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

The contract DSEWPC signed with Canberra Data Centres under the interim data centre panel will expire in March 2012, and it has said that “the Department may exercise its right to a one year extension”.

A spokesperson also confirmed that any subsequent approach to market will take place through the whole-of-government Data Centre Facilities panel. Canberra Data Centres is on the panel.

Department of Human Services

DHS’s contract with Canberra Data Centres, for a lease at the Hume Data Centre, expired in August 2011. A spokesperson for DHS has advised that it has been extended, although this has yet to be indicated on Austender.

DHS is currently in the process of consolidating its data centres to two facilities, but says that it is “too soon” to confirm any details of which facilities these may be.


Related Articles:

Dell added to whole-of-government data centre panel

Defence to begin second stage of data centre consolidation

AGIMO discusses next steps for whole-of-government ICT procurement

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