Queensland's PC land grab is on

The Queensland state government will simplify its purchasing of desktop and laptop PCs, and mid-range servers with a new two-year whole of government supply arrangement beginning in July.In tender documents recently issued, the state said its departments and agencies currently purchased the hardware through a variety of agreements, mostly standing offer arrangements or preferred supplier panels.

The Queensland state government will simplify its purchasing of desktop and laptop PCs, and mid-range servers with a new two-year whole of government supply arrangement beginning in July.

In tender documents recently issued, the state said its departments and agencies currently purchased the hardware through a variety of agreements, mostly standing offer arrangements or preferred supplier panels. However, over the next 15 months those smaller deals will be replaced with a master standing offer with a number of vendors.

The arrangement brings the Queensland government into line with other states such as New South Wales, which have in recent times moved to consolidate and streamline their hardware purchasing arrangements.

Queensland will start negotiating with hardware vendors in May, with the panel contract to be awarded in June and the arrangement to commence in July.

According to the tender documents, as at April last year, the state had some 82,500 desktop and laptop PCs, based on an annual audit of Microsoft software licences. By far the biggest users of PCs in the state's government are Queensland Health and the Queensland Police Service, with some 24,000 and 9,500 PCs respectively.

The April figure, however, excludes the state's Department of Education, Training and the Arts (DETA), which itself has some 128,000 terminals, according to MIS Magazine.

Queensland has followed a trend set by large government agencies to choose Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 over Vista for its operating system requirements.

The same trend, however, has seen government agencies future-proof their desktop fleets by demanding hardware that is capable of running Vista. The Queensland government has specified its desktop and laptop machines must contain the new style of dual-core CPUs, with 1GB of RAM and room for expansion.

The tender documents stipulate that the state government's mid-range servers must similarly contain dual-core CPUs and be capable of running a variety of operating systems -- Windows Server, Linux, Unix and Novell Netware.

Agencies may also purchase managed services through the panel arrangement.

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