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Suppliers Vie for attention in Government Private Cloud Market

by Todd Heather* and Cameron Gooley •
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Just 7 weeks after the release of the Federal Government’s cloud policy, the Federal Government private cloud market has had three launch announcements in rapid succession. But none of the offerings have yet been stood up – each will come on line around the middle of 2015.

Telstra made its announcement on the same day as Dimension Data announced its private cloud offering, its Managed Cloud Platform (MCP). SAP beat both to the punch, announcing its intention to open a data centre and Centre for Digital Transformation on 18 November.

Telstra says it will open its Government Cloud in the first half of 2015. The initiative appears to represent the maturation of a strategy Telstra embarked on in 2010, when it launched its Next Generation Government strategy.

Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull launched Dimension Data’s MCP at a Parliament House function on 24 November.

Dimension Data said that its offering will be the “first large scale ‘consumptive’ Government Cloud offering”. The MCP will be located in the new Canberra Data Centres facility which is being built in Fyshwick, ACT and will be available for customers in ‘early 2015’.

The MCP will be the third Dimension Data Cloud datacentre in Australia, and one of 14 the company has globally. Rodd Cunico, Dimension Data’s Chief Executive Officer said the investment with Canberra Data Centres was made without an anchor client in a ‘build it and they will come’ approach.

Dimension Data also said the MCP was purposely designed for public sector use and is ‘designed to deliver public value’. It will be TIA 942 compliant, ICON connected and ISM compliant, with an ability to host data up to ‘protected’ classification.

In addition, Dimension Data will be offering whole of government pricing, with an expectation that unit prices will fall as agency participation grows

Debra Bordignon, Dimension Data’s Chief Technology Officer said at the launch that the MCP will include services such as shared government cloud, private VPN, dedicated infrastructure options – ‘a hybrid cloud model’. In addition, now that the Oakton acquisition has been finalised, Oakton’s solutions, such as Grants Management will be on offer.

Ms Bordignon also said that Microsoft has agreed to Dimension Data hosting its software and that an agreement with SAP is expected. Commenting on the SAP cloud announcement, Bordignon said that it would be complementary to the Dimension Data offering.

Agencies would find that Dimension Data was offering a ‘ground to cloud’ road mapping service to assist in migration, she also stated.

SAP says its offering will be available in the second quarter of 2015. It has already had some success with its hosted offering, with the NSW Department of Trade and Industry having implemented a fully cloud based ERP system between 2012 and 2013.

Acknowledging agencies’ concern over where data is stored, Erez Yarkoni, Executive Director Cloud, Telstra Global Enterprise and Services announced, “Importantly, Telstra’s Government Cloud will provide confidence that the data is safe and hosted in Australia. It will also help enable the public sector to achieve greater efficiency and generate more value from its ICT investments.”

Federal agencies are only able to enter into outsourced or offshore arrangements for the storage of unclassified information, according to the Government’s policy and risk management guidelines. Telstra’s new cloud systems can be used for both unclassified and protected information.  

Federal, NSW, Queensland and Victorian governments have all implemented cloud policies or ICT strategies that formally require agencies to evaluate cloud options during ICT procurements.

“As governments move into a new era of service delivery transformation to meet the current and future digital expectations of its citizens, the ability to use protected cloud services is as critical to their future plans as it is to the private sector - digital disruption is impacting everyone,” said Yarkoni.

Canberra Data Centres continues to have significant success in the Canberra market, having just secured an $18.1 million contract for the ‘provision of data centre facilities and related services’ with the Department of Education (Intermedium is seeking confirmation as to whether this is via the Shared Services Centre and whether the contract also covers services for the Department of Employment. The five year contract will commence on 1 January 2015 and end on 31 December 2020.

 

*Senior Associate, Todd Heather attended the launch of the Dimension Data Managed Cloud Platform as Dimension Data’s guest.

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