NSW ramps up giant datacentre consolidation


news The New South Wales State Government this week starting building a list of suppliers to help its departments and agencies migrate their server infrastructure from dozens of dated back-office server rooms and into modern datacentres, as part of the state’s long-running and wide-ranging comprehensive datacentre overhaul project.

A number of the state’s departments and agencies are currently believed to be hosting datacentre infrastructure in dilapidated facilities across Sydney and the rest of the state, often in back-office environments which are not consistent with modern datacentre practice. The state’s datacentre consolidation strategy — which has been under way for a number of years — will see it shift that IT infrastructure into two new, purpose-build datacentre facilities to be built by Metronode in Silverwater in Sydney and Unanderra (on the South Coast).

Following the May announcement of a major State Government contract with Metronode in the area, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell issued a memorandum to all NSW government agencies (except state-owned corporations) noting they must relocate their datacentre and computer room infrastructure into the Metronode facilities, through a tenancy agreement with the Department of Finance and Services.

In tender documents issued this week seeking IT services suppliers to assist with the move, the Department of Finance and Services wrote:

“The migration of NSW Government Agencies into the new facilitates is a substantial activity. Not only does this involve many significant risks at NSW Government Agency and whole of Government level, but there are also a number of opportunities to be capitalised on through this process. The two anchor tenants who have committed to migrate into the new facilities will migrate 3,000kW of data centre demand. The total data centre usage across the NSW government is estimated at 8,000kW. There will be a range of migrations, relocating anywhere between 3 and 300 racks of equipment and involving some 50 separate agencies.”

The tender process will result in successful companies having information about their migration capabilities placed on NSW’s online procurement service catalogue, which will be introduced this month. Following this, NSW Government agencies may use the list to buy datacentre migration services from the companies concerned.

The NSW Government is looking for assistance with expert advice and recommendations on migration strategies; Expert advice and recommendations on future data centre operating and governance models, including industry best practices such as ITIL; Assistance with business cases, requirements definition, project documentation, operation documentation, and other key strategic documents; And services to assist with actual migration activities such as enterprise architecture and design, analysis, configuration management databases (CMDB), capacity planning and management, migration tools, project planning, project management, logistics, installation, commissioning, testing, decommissioning and make good.

The news comes as the NSW Government several months ago revealed a new wide-ranging ICT strategy, which it said was slated to make it “the leader in ICT” when it came to public sector service delivery and the development of the state’s technology sector as a whole.

“We are committed to making it easier for NSW citizens to interact with Government, to harness the opportunities provided by ICT to improve Government operations and to develop the ICT industry in NSW,” said Pearce. “The NSW Liberals & Nationals are committed to improving service delivery for residents in NSW, who expect fast, efficient and timely services. The NSW Government is committed to driving growth and investment in Western Sydney and the Illawarra and this news reaffirms our commitment to providing the necessary infrastructure and growth in ICT.”

I love the fact that the NSW Premier’s Office has issued a memorandum forcing NSW departments and agencies to use the state’s brand-spanking new datacenter infrastructure. I fracking LOVE it. This is exactly the sort of thing which Australia’s state governments need to be doing right now. Centralised procurement and use of core IT infrastructure such as datacentre space is such a no-brainer, and every state government should be investigating it. It makes absolutely no sense for each tiny or even medium-sized department to be procuring their own datacentre space, and I wholeheartedly support the NSW Government’s strategy in this area.

Image credit: Whrelf Siemens, royalty free


  1. As much as you support it Renai (in principal its a no-brainer), the aim is to save money ultimately and this is yet to be proven.

    So unless it provides the same or better service (it should do) at the same or less cost (doubtful at present) then it’s not a win for taxpayers.

    Agencies have to find the funds to migrate existing facilities out of existing budgets. This is a significant cost. Even excluding those costs, the recurrent figures I’ve seen show some agencies may end up spending a lot more for a shared data centre service than they currently do now.

    No as I said, a great idea and no brainer, but if the implementation and continued operation costs more than current services, then that’s not a win. Shared ICT government services don’t have a good reputation throughout the country.

  2. Horses for courses Renai.
    If a small agency has been running their non-mission critical systems out of their local computer room, on the smell of an oily rag and meeting service level expectations then how do taxpayers save money by migration to a brand spanking new, tier 3 datacentre?
    Btw I agree that agencies should focus on their core service delivery and building/operating commodity ICT infrastructure isn’t one of them, however datacentre consolidation is not necessarily going to save taxpayer dollars.
    Disregarding the pure hosting costs, the other problem for agency CIOs is that if they’ve been running these systems with minimal staff then looking for a provider to manage their systems is probably going to cost more.

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