In a request for tender (RFT) document released last week, Centrelink said it required standard desktops, upgraded desktops and notebooks supplied as part of a three-year contract. There was also a one-year extension option.
However, the agency didn't state the exact number of machines it intends to purchase: "Centrelink does not represent or warrant that it will procure any particular number of PCs as a result of this RFT", but gave potential suppliers the number, age and specifications of its current fleet.
According to Centrelink, its current inventory includes 8,500 PIII 1Ghz desktops purchased four years ago and 1,150 Centrino 1.5Mhz notebooks that were acquired 18 months ago.
The document states that many of the PCs must be supplied with Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. However, the agency also raised the possibility of another tender -- for thin client PCs: "Centrelink may, at its discretion, undertake a trial of thin client PCs.
"It is anticipated that an ongoing trial may occur during the period of the resultant contract of this RFT and will require Centrelink to source a small number of thin client PCs for the purpose of the trial... Subject to the results of the thin client trial, Centrelink will conduct a separate tendering process for the supply of thin client technology," it said.
The thin client model is based on a personal computer accessing common applications and resources from a central server, rather than storing the data locally. This is said to ease management of large desktop fleets, as system administrators need only update one computer.
The thin client model has been championed by vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Wyse Technology.
The successful tenderer(s) will be decided by the end of January, Centrelink said.