Tasmania is set to become the latest State to simplify procurement of cloud-based solutions through the establishment of a data centre and managed services panel.
According to the latest ICT Policy Board Communique of 11 December 2013, the Board “endorsed the recommended option of a panel of service providers with no in-house data centre facilities”.
Currently, the majority of ICT infrastructure and services housed within data centres are managed directly by Tasmanian Government agencies under single contracts. Agencies also utilise third parties to manage some services and infrastructure.
Throughout all Tasmanian agencies, there are 22 separate data centre and computer room facilities. An eGovernment document states that, “17 of these are agency owned and operated facilities, most often located in leased office accommodation”.
The ICT Policy Board decided that under the current option the costs are likely to increase in the future and that there is no guarantee that the service provision is being appropriately managed.
The Communique states that the first step to a new arrangement would be a “phased migration from agency owned and managed data centre services and ICT server and storage facilities to the use of a panel of service providers”. This would lead to the creation of a compulsory whole-of-government panel for “the supply of services, including infrastructure-as-a-service (cloud) services”.
This will not be Tasmania’s first foray into cloud. In September 2013, Tasmania signed a two year agreement (with the option of two one year extensions) with Australian IT and telecommunications company Anittel for the provision of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Under the arrangement, agencies are charged per use rather than paying an up-front amount. The contract is intended to demonstrate to Government agencies the benefits of a virtual data centre platform over a hardware or software purchase and ownership model.
The Anittel arrangement is not compulsory with the contract value dependant on the agency take-up of the service In contrast, the proposed panel would be supported by an enforced compulsory take-up of the virtual data centre platform.
The ICT Policy Board notes that moving forward each agency must develop a Transition Plan to outline their approach to the adoption of the recommended cloud solutions. Additionally the Board will develop an implementation plan.
Cloud adoption has been on the horizon for Tasmania since 2011. A six year plan was laid out in the State’s 2011 ICT Strategy which stated “all common commodity ICT services will be consolidated and provided as a service to agencies” by 2017. The goal for 2015 was for the Office of eGovernment to develop a business case for the procurement of managed services and cloud solutions as well as establish a panel of infrastructure-as-a-service vendors.
Tasmania’s eGovernment website slates the procurement of the initial round of IaaS for Q2 of 2015. All agencies are expected to have decommissioned current data centre facilities and migrated to IaaS by Q2 of 2018.
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