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The Tasmanian Government wants your data centre space

by Paris Cowan •
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The Tasmanian Government is inviting offers to provide short-term data centre space to its agencies, as its ageing duo of self-managed facilities threatens to buckle under growing demand.

TMD, the State Government’s ICT shared services provider is looking to add one or more suppliers to its core whole-of-government procurement panel, Networking Tasmania II (NTII), in order to ensure the adequate supply of infrastructure hosting to agencies.

New members will join NTII for a maximum of four years (two years plus two one year possible extensions). Due to the short term nature of the strategy, TMD is looking for suppliers who have data space ready at their disposal which can be deployed quickly.

It is looking for offers of Tier II facility space ideally located within or in close proximity to Hobart, where the majority of its agency operations are situated. Suppliers such as PIPE Networks, BBW Telecom and Tasmanet are currently running commercial facilities in this area.

The Tasmanian Government itself currently owns and operates two data centres within the Hobart CBD, one at Salamanca Place which it is looking to decommission, and one on Bathurst Street which is running at capacity.

It also has lease agreements in place with current NTII panellists Aurora and Telstra.  Additional suppliers on the panel are intended to complement rather than replace this existing capacity. The Government currently occupies 109 racks in total, 13 of which have been added within the past 12 months with growth projected to continue steadily.

TMD plans to have negotiations with new NTII panellists finalised and head agreements signed before the end of the year, giving it roughly six weeks from the tender closing date of 13 November to turn the procurement process around.

TMD also anticipates that Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions, to be sourced via a soon-to-be established whole-of-government cloud panel, will also be hosted via NTII data centre leases, and has invited respondents to detail any partnerships with vendors in this space.

Tender documents from TMD raise the possibility that inclusion on the expanded NTII panel will give data centre operators a valuable foot-in-the door ahead of a more comprehensive infrastructure hosting procurement to take place between 2013 and 2015.

“The Government wishes to provide an opportunity for suppliers to demonstrate their capabilities prior to any large-scale approach to market which may occur as part of the Government’s medium to long term planning,” it says.

The expansion of NTII, plus the establishment of a whole-of-government IaaS panel, is designed to meet the demand of Tasmania’s agencies in the interim as it puts together a long term plan for its ICT infrastructure. A business case for the long-term strategy is currently being developed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, which it suggests will feature a comprehensive cloud-based solution. It hopes to have new arrangements in place by the end of 2015.

Through the current approach to market TMD also intends to add a single extra panellist to supply wireless connection services that will extend upon the Wide Area Network currently being operated by existing NTII members. However it adds that “the Government currently has limited demand, but considers there is a gap in the services available under its current arrangements and is therefore seeking to expand its existing panel”.

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