Western Australia has become the latest state to announce it will adopt a whole-of-government approach to data centres, with an RFT released for the establishment of a data centre solution panel on 2 July. This is consistent with a nationwide trend towards centralised data centre models, which is now in evidence at the Federal level as well as in NSW.
The WA RFT, released by the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) in conjunction with the Department of Health (DOH), marks the first of a three-stage plan for a whole-of-government data centre strategy. The first stage will address the immediate needs of the WA government through the establishment of an interim panel which will supply a data centre and disaster recovery solution to the DOH. The suppliers included in Stage 1 will then form the basis for Stage 2, which will be characterised by a mandatory, broad-range of data centre solutions.
The WA government has labelled Stage 3 ‘consolidation’, and this is expected to occur post-2014, but it is unclear what this will specifically entail. The RFT includes an image of a question mark made of clouds to represent the current lack of definition to Stage 3.
The RFT states that ‘through this request the DTF will establish a common panel of DC (data centre) suppliers...to meet the immediate needs of the DOH and the DTF who are expected to establish customer contracts under this arrangement’.
‘This will compliment the Government’s existing program to establish a mandatory whole-of-government arrangement for a potentially broader-range of data centre solutions (‘Stage 2’) by late 2011.’
WA’s move is perhaps unsurprising given the recent trend towards centralised data strategies. Both the Federal and NSW government’s strategy have been published. Arising from the Gershon Review, the Federal strategy aims to reduce the costs and environmental impacts of operating data centre facilities. As Intermedium reported on 30 June, AGIMO is currently in the midst of a draft Data Centre Statement of Requirement consultation process via its blog.
WA’s intention to form an interim panel to meet immediate requirements parallels the decision taken in Canberra to establish an interim panel of 5 data centre providers to service immediate Federal Government agency needs. Despite the lengthy procurement process underway in NSW, no interim panel has been put in place there, but on 1 July, the government finally announced the companies which were shortlisted to go forward into a restricted tender process.
The NSW data centre reform plan aims to consolidate 130 facilities into two environmentally friendly hubs in Sydney and the Illawarra. NSW Minister for Commerce Paul Lynch said in a statement that the project ‘will not only ensure capacity and safety in relation to government data needs but will also deliver important environmental benefits’.
Work on the data centre reforms began in 2007 with an intended completion date of 2013, but have been delayed, it is understood, due to issues with how the transition costs of moving to the new data centres would be funded.
Victoria and Queensland have also announced various technology consolidation projects, indicating that the consolidation of ICT infrastructure is now a central tenet of contemporary government ICT policy.