Smaller providers get a chance at gov't datacentre panel

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Smaller providers get a chance at gov't datacentre panel

The Federal Government will allow smaller data centre operators to participate in its two-year-old data centre facilities panel in a refresh later this year.

The mandatory panel was established in March 2011 as part of a 15-year, whole-of-government data centre consolidation plan that aimed to avoid $1 billion in costs.

To date, it has allowed for leases of at least 10 years, involving at least 500 square metres of server room floor and 500kW of power.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) said this week the upcoming panel refresh would allow for lower minimums, in response to agency demand.

“Feedback from agencies has shown that there is a significant demand [for lower minimums] … particularly among agencies with low compute requirements or an interest in moving to cloud arrangements,” assistant secretary Mundi Tomlinson wrote.

“Tailoring the new arrangements to meet this demand will give agencies greater flexibility in their ICT strategies and enable them to take up new technologies as they become available.”

“As the environment has matured, so have agency requirements for data centre space,” Tomlinson explained.

“Agencies which previously required large ICT environments are now able to provision services in a smaller higher density environment, thereby reducing their costs.”

AGIMO’s parent Department of Finance is considering whether to open the panel to data centre sites in new locations, Tomlinson noted.

Although agencies had so far expressed more interest in Canberra-based facilities than those elsewhere, she said lower minimum requirements could spark more non-ACT deals.

“There is demand for data centre facilities outside the ACT, particularly among agencies with smaller requirements," Tomlinson wrote.

“We believe that by reducing the minimum requirements under panel arrangements, these agencies will have greater flexibility to … engage directly with the panellists, instead of through consortium arrangements as was previously required.”

AGIMO is also considering allowing Tier II facilities to apply for inclusion on the panel, which was previously only open to facilities with the Uptime Institute’s Tier III certification and higher.

Existing leases will be unaffected by the panel refresh. Existing panel arrangements end in 2015, unless extended.

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