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Dimension Data targets Australian government with managed cloud

Dimension Data has today launched a Canberra-based managed cloud services platform designed to meet the needs of Australian government agencies moving to the cloud as part of the government's cloud-first policy.

Dimension Data has launched a Canberra-based managed cloud platform designed to woo Australian government agencies looking to move to the cloud as part of the government's cloud-first policy.

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Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet

The company's 14th managed cloud platform will be hosted in the Fyshwick-based TIA 942 design-compliant datacentre, built by Canberra Data Centres and close to completion, with the Department of Finance and the National Disability Insurance Agency already signed up to host services in the centre.

The Department of Finance has indicated that the cloud platform will be used to host its video conference-booking system, and to connect to the Intra Government Communications Network to get more agencies to adopt cloud services.

The cloud platform meets the requirements for the Australian government information security management protocol and the attorney-general's risk management guidelines up to the Protected level of government data.

Rodd Cunico, CEO of Dimension Data, said at the launch in Parliament House on Monday that the platform is the first truly consumptive, large-scale cloud designed for the Australian government.

"Our new managed cloud platform that we are launching today has been purpose built exclusively for the Australian government," he said.

It has a whole-of-government consumptive-based pricing model, and all data held will remain in Canberra.

Cunico said that Dimension Data is in discussions with other government agencies to utilise its platform.

It comes as the Australian government is pushing government agencies to adopt a cloud-first approach to services. Last month, the government revealed that although the Australian government spends AU$6 billion on IT annually, a mere AU$4.7 million has been spent on cloud services by the government since July 2010.

Under the new cloud policy officially unveiled last month, agencies now "must adopt cloud where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data, and delivers value for money".

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday that government agencies need to move away from the "box-hugging mentality" that resists adopting cloud services.

"There has been much more resistance to cloud in government than anywhere else," he said.

"Virtually nothing has been spent since 2010. Since the Australian government cloud computing policy ... we've made it much easier for agencies to adopt cloud services. We've mandated cloud-first, and we've streamlined the very burdensome data storage policy.

"That box-hugging resistance to anything that was going to challenge the roles of ICT professionals in agencies. It is a very defensive question of protecting turf."

Following Dimension Data's announcement, Telstra released a statement announcing that it would be launching a government cloud service in the first half of 2015, covering both unclassified and Protected-level data.

Telstra said it would leverage its existing government customer base, including the Department of Defence, Department of Human Services, and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

The push for local-based cloud services providers comes despite the new government policy removing the requirement for agencies to seek the approval of the attorney-general before moving data offshore.

The government is also in the process of finalising its whole-of-government cloud services panel.

In June, the Australian Government Chief Technology Officer John Sheridan told ZDNet that government agencies are in no rush to move to the cloud, with many waiting for existing contracts to end.

"One of the challenges of understanding of where you might use a cloud procurement is to reflect on the fact that we're often in contract for things now, and you're not going to move into the cloud in the middle of a contract; you're going to wait until a contract reaches its end, and then, in accordance with the direction from government, evaluate cloud opportunities that meet that particular requirement, and use them if it is value for money to do so," he said.

Josh Taylor travelled to Canberra as a guest of Dimension Data.