[LINK] Centrelink eyes new data centre

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Jun 30 10:32:16 EST 2009

Tomorrow, I join the team at AGIMO working on the whole-of-government
data centre strategy so I won't be making too many comments on this 
topic for a while.

Centrelink eyes new data centre
Fran Foo
June 30, 2009
The Australian

CENTRELINK is close to selecting an interim data centre provider in a 
bid to avoid another catastrophic failure like those that have affected 
services over the years.

The aim of the temporary provider is to support two facilities that are 
buckling under pressure.

The welfare agency's data centres at Tuggeranong and Bruce in the ACT 
have almost run out of storage space and have power and cooling problems.

It hopes to deal with these issues when a supplier is secured in the new 
calendar year.

"We're in the final stages of securing an interim data centre facility 
to meet growth requirements and alleviate pressure on the two existing 
centres located in the ACT," Centrelink corporate IT systems general 
manager Tuan Dao said.

"The new facility will be brought online progressively from early in the 
2009-10 financial year," Mr Dao said.

He didn't reveal the number, or identities, of candidates shortlisted, 
but Canberra Data Centres is said to be the frontrunner.

Canberra Data Centres managing director Greg Boorer declined to comment.

Details of the contract's value are scant, but industry experts put the 
barebones cost of renting about 1000sqm at about $5million a year, 
excluding utility charges.

The staging data centre will be a tier-three, or concurrently 
maintainable, facility that will enable Centrelink to consolidate and 
modernise key technology in preparation for migration of all data centre 
operations to whole-of-government facilities. Centrelink has a long 
history of data centre failures that have impeded service delivery.

The agency distributes $70.5 billion in social security payments and 
records more than 6.6 billion electronic customer transactions each year.

In August 2006 the Bruce data centre went offline when it lost backup 
power because of problems with the ACT power grid.

After that incident, human services minister Joe Hockey called for the 
establishment of backup data centres, but not much progress was made 
because such facilities need huge capital investment.

In March last year the Bruce data centre, which is managed by Verizon 
Business-owned Cybertrust, went offline again, resulting in Tasmanian 
residents having to lodge their payment applications at Centrelink offices.

Centrelink's Tuggeranong site is housed in the Department of Families, 
Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, but this arrangement 
is set to expire in 2012.

The federal government will finalise its whole-of-government data centre 
strategy later in the year in line with Peter Gershon's government 
technology procurement recommendations.

Sir Peter found consolidating data centres in government departments and 
agencies would save $1 billion over 10 years.

In May the government issued an expression of interest to provide 
agencies such as Centrelink with stopgap measures.

Mr Dao said Centrelink's long-term data centre requirements would be 
dealt with as part of the ongoing whole-of-government data centre 
project co-ordinated by the Australian Government Information Management 


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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