Finance dept to proof network for outages

Finance dept to proof network for outages

Summary: The Department of Finance and Deregulation will upgrade its IT data infrastructure network to remove points of failure as well as enable the the introduction within three years of new technologies such as Voice over IP (VoIP) and wireless networking.

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The Department of Finance and Deregulation will upgrade its IT data infrastructure network to remove points of failure as well as enable the the introduction within three years of new technologies such as Voice over IP (VoIP) and wireless networking.

The department has gone to market for the upgrade, releasing tender documents yesterday.

"The Department of Finance and Deregulation has identified a number of gaps between the capabilities of the current Finance Corporate Data Network and that of the department's business requirements," the documents state. "To bridge this gap and deliver on strategic and operational business objectives, Finance has undertaken a project to redesign and upgrade or replace the current Corporate Data Network."

The department's corporate data network currently operates out of two datacentres in Canberra: the John Gorton building (JGB) in Barton and the Hume Joint Operations Centre. Finance's production systems are located in JGB while the majority of the disaster recovery applications are located in the Hume datacentre. Part of the proposal will see server virtualisation implemented and most of the department's 22 production application servers moved from the John Gorton complex to the more reliable and purpose-built Hume datacentre.

The reason behind the planned relocation is due in part to identified weaknesses in the older JGB datacentre.

"Data travelling across the fibre network is generally routed through a redundant core located in JGB. The datacentre infrastructure supporting the core switches at JGB creates a single point of failure for the network. This exposes Finance to the risk of an unacceptable outage of critical business processes in the event of any prolonged failure of the JGB datacentre."

According to the tender document, the new core switching design at both datacentres must have seamless fail-over and allow for switch port growth over the next five to 10 years.

"In the event of a total failure at a datacentre, the network equipment installed in this project must be immediately available at the unaffected datacentre to support the recovery time objectives for critical applications," it states. "It must be possible for user access to be recovered in one hour in the event of a failure at non redundant access switches in the network."

The winner of the tender will also be required to take into account future enhancements including VoIP and wireless computing capabilities, both of which are expected to be implemented within the next three years. Desktop virtualisation and desktop video-conferencing are also future possibilities that need to be accommodated for in submissions for the tender.

The Department of Finance and Regulation had not responded to requests for comment on the expected cost of this tender at the time of writing.

Last month, the department used its blog to call for comments and reviews from IT industry experts on its telecommunications operations management systems tender. In a new blog post on Tuesday, Australian Government Information Management Office spokesperson Mundi Tomlinson said the comments received on the blog had "provided fresh ideas and suggested areas that we need to review to ensure that our tender documents are easy to understand".

Submissions for the data infrastructure network tender can be lodged until 13 July. The contract is expected to be awarded on 11 November, with the project set to commence on 27 January 2011.

Topics: Government, Data Centers, Government AU

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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