NSW Libs may scrap datacentres for cloud

Summary:The NSW Liberals may bin the government's plans for twin mammoth data computing facilities that will house some 30 agencies if it doesn't sign up contracts by the March election.

The NSW Liberals may bin the government's plans for twin mammoth data computing facilities that will house some 30 agencies if it doesn't sign up contracts by the March election.

The NSW Government has been planning a consolidation of its datacentre facilities, having released an expressions of interest last November.

It has selected a shortlist of vendors to supply its datacentre requirements, but there has been no decision as yet as to which vendor will provide the required capacity in the two datacentres.

Head in the clouds
(Head in the clouds image by Zoli Erdos, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Shadow Finance Minister Greg Pearce said the datacentre plans were not properly considered and should have eyed alternative models such as cloud computing.

He said the contracts should not be used as a "political football", but he believes the government may not be in the place to own large datacentres, given the IT industry's push to outsource infrastructure into cloud models.

"I believe there should have been a serious evaluation of whether the government should operate datacentres at all and it is a great pity that hasn't occurred," Pearce said.

"By penning how the NSW Government might build a capability using a cloud computing model while enhancing local private sector industry development, we want to explore options beyond the basic datacentre options Labor is pursuing."

However, if the contracts are signed before the election, a Liberal government would honour the contracts.

Outsourcing would also be high on the Liberal ICT agenda. Pearce fingered help desks as a function of government ripe for outsourcing.

"Is there any reason for 130 government agencies to have 130 help desks? It is about how best to deliver services and taking advantage of where technology best fits."

More broadly, he said ICT needs to be more "front and centre" for government as a "key driver" for the economy and productivity.

He estimated that the NSW Government procurement spend floats between $1.5 billion to $2 billion and labelled the procurement processes too slow, costly and poorly designed.

"It is very much a focus of mine [about] how we address the procurement process going forward, which is a particular issue for ICT."

But changes will not focus on cost-cutting, but instead will aim to boost efficiency and collaboration with suppliers, and push to remodel the procurement cycle so it is in line with product, rather than budget, life cycles.

"ICT is in a sense a commodity that should be cheaper and give more value."

He reiterated Liberal policy and plans to an audience of Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) members in Sydney today, including plans to waive payroll tax for the first 100,000 new hires, and to stop government tenders mandating that agencies retain ownership of intellectual property, allowing companies to resell their products.

Pearce will also investigate standardising contract requirements across the states, the lack of which has remained an old thorn for the AIIA.

In progressing through a litany of failed IT projects spanning more than a decade, Pearce said the scrapped $61 million Sydney Water overhaul was his "favourite".

Topics: Government, Government : AU


Darren Pauli has been writing about technology for almost five years, he covers a gamut of news with a special focus on security, keeping readers informed about the world of cyber criminals and the safety measures needed to thwart them.

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