[LINK] NBN and the data centre: Time to update Gershon?
brd at iimetro.com.au
Thu Sep 10 09:10:45 AEST 2009
Someone needs to explain to me how an elastic cloud environment with all
its extra overhead of resource management and chargeback can be more
efficient than a dedicated, virtualised environment.
I've asked some of the leading proponents of cloud computing but so far
they have not come up with a satisfactory answer.
And if Bob Hayward thinks that the only issue regarding locating data
centres in or out of Canberra is power, then he's either ignoring or
ignorant of ICON. The NBN is unlikely to be a valid alternative in terms
of cost and latency.
NBN and the data centre: Time to update Gershon?
by James Riley
Wednesday, 09 September 2009
Just one year after UK efficiency expert Sir Peter Gershon handed the
Commonwealth his report on government ICT procurement and use, experts
are already saying in the case of the data centre it might be time for
Global tech services giant CSC says the fat pipes of the National
Broadband Network and the much matured market for virtualisation
software meant the savings anticipated by Gershon through data
consolidation measures may have been understated.
And the environmental and sustainability improvements delivered by
combination of the NBN and virtualisation technologies should give
government good reason to take another look at medium-term data centre
plans, according to CSC Australia chief innovation and technology
officer Bob Hayward.
As the bandwidth of the NBN becomes a reality, the broadband network
will start to accelerate the shift to cloud model, and the Commonwealth
should think now about Government Cloud models, he said.
Power consumption issues are non-trivial. Hayward says data centres
around the world consume more energy than Argentina, and doubles every 5
– 7 years. And 6 to 8 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions
are directly attributable to ICT use.
Consolidated data centres and virtualised environments, coupled with the
ability to shift processing loads and data more easily across the NBN,
created opportunity for government to pursue cloud models.
"Gershon (conducted the review) really just before Cloud took hold,"
Hayward told iTWire. "It talked a lot about consolidated data centres
and virtualisation, but how you then move beyond virtualisation into
these flexible, self-provisioning, really agile computing environments
with pay-as-you-go models – that is something I don’t think was quite
there when (Sir Peter) did his reviews in the UK and in Australia."
"These are things you need to look at the medium term … certainly it
needs to be on the planning horizon," he said. "If organisations in
Government are looking at consolidating their data centres in 12 to 18
months then why not do that with some view to private government
CSC clearly wants to figure in the Commonwealth’s post-Gershon data
centre plans, and in its broader service provisioning markets.
Though Hayward believes that for the most part software as a
service-style offerings probably isn’t quite ready for the kind of
primetime use that meets Government’s risk-averse needs, so-called
Platform as a Service infrastructure opportunities are a different matter.
"The clear early wins in this area are going to be in infrastructure,"
Hayward said. "So, for example, why have every agency have its own test
and development environment, when that can be made available in a shared
pool, and on an as-needed basis."
"That makes a lot of sense. That’s low hanging fruit. And we think the
savings – including environmental/sustainability savings – would be
Government is getting closer to formalising its forward data centre
strategy, with the Australian Government Information Management Office
(AGIMO) set to complete its formulations by the end of the year.
The usual suspects among large agencies look at varying stages of
readiness. Centrelink signed a long-term enterprise licensing deal with
virtualisation leader VMware earlier this year; Immigration (a big CSC
customer) is getting quite sophisticated in their thinking on such
issues following the Systems for People program; and Australian Taxation
Office is already doing leading things in the space.
Vendors will get a glimpse at how AGIMO is thinking about the data
centre future when it names it panel contract for suppliers of data
centre services in the next two weeks.
Regardless, CSC’s Hayward says the NBN and advances in virtualisation
servicers – particularly features like VMware’s vMotion, which enables
applications to be easily and dynamically shifted between physical data
centres on the fly – Government should tweak its Gershon-inspired
roadmap to enhance its environmental deliverables.
"We should think about the optimal locations for these (data centre)
facilities. Do they really need to be in Canberra, drawing power from
the electricity grid – for example? Or can they be powered by gas, or
some renewables," Hayward said.
"We have to get smarter about the sorts of data centres we build, where
they are, and the kind of power that they consume."
"We need to be thinking out of the box now. We need to think of other
ways to power data centres. We shouldn’t just be thinking about the
normal way of doing things."
brd at iimetro.com.au
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