Dodging a billion-dollar datacentre bill

Dodging a billion-dollar datacentre bill

Summary: John Sheridan, first assistant secretary of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), today detailed the cost savings that the Federal Government has achieved by consolidating its datacentre spend.

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John Sheridan, first assistant secretary of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), today detailed the cost savings that the Federal Government has achieved by consolidating its datacentre spend.

John Sheridan

John Sheridan addressing today's
Gartner summit (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

"We have to find over the next 10 to 15 years, a billion dollars worth of costs to be avoided to meet our datacentre target. Even in government that's a lot of money, and there are a range of ways we can do that," Sheridan said.

Sheridan's quest follows Sir Peter Gershon's review into IT spending and procurement at a federal government level back in 2009. IT recommended that the government plan datacentre deployment to save spending a billion unnecessary dollars. Sheridan said he saw Gershon's review into ICT in the Federal Government as a "seminal moment".

Sheridan said that the use of panel sourcing arrangements for datacentres had led to millions of dollars in dodged spending already.

Using the interim datacentre panel, put into place to service agencies in need until the government's datacentre strategy can get off its feet, AGIMO managed to reduce lease costs for datacentre floor space by 30 per cent, or $7 million.

By managing electricity usage in cooling and fan operations, the government can avoid a further $35 million in expenditure.

"These are significant reductions in what people are spending in this sense and it's that sort of effect that we need," Sheridan said.

The savings are not just limited to financial expenditure either, Sheridan said.

"We also think that we'll be able to avoid about 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being released as a consequence of this work, if we get it right," Sheridan said, adding that the reduction equated to approximately 10,000 Ford Fiestas being taken off the road for a year.

He said that AGIMO is also looking to get more mileage out of its existing IT infrastructure using virtualisation, pushing servers that were originally utilised at 30 per cent up to 60 per cent.

"Using virtualisation, we can get better use out of our existing computing infrastructure," he said.

Sheridan said that the vendor panels for the government's datacentre strategy were right on schedule. Vendors looking to provide datacentres using existing facilities had mainly been signed up to a panel, with one agency already talking to one of the vendors about taking up space. AGIMO is still finalising a panel of vendors that need commitment to move into a datacentre and set up hosting arrangements. Work was progressing too on finalising vendors who were willing to build a greenfields datacentre. Meanwhile, the datacentre migration panel is progressing and "nearly completed".

Cloud strategy

Sheridan also said that the government's draft cloud strategy is set to be released in the coming months.

He told journalists this morning that the final strategy document is currently going through its final stages of evaluation, and will be submitted to Special Minister of State Gary Gray once the process has been completed.

It will then be up to Gray to table it in parliament for official release.

Sheridan said that roughly four major vendors had responded to the draft paper.

Topics: Government, CXO, Data Centers, Government AU, IT Priorities, Microsoft

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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