by Byron Connolly

NSW councils team up to cut software costs

Sep 25, 20132 mins
Government IT

Forty-three councils across NSW are rolling out new server and desktop virtualisation technology under a new enterprise licensing agreement that harnesses their collective buying power.

Gosford City Council, with 1200 staff, is acting as the head procurement council for the group under a licensing arrangement with VMware that will collectively save the councils around $3 million in software costs over two years.

Jamie Beal, IT co-ordinator, information management technology at Gosford City Council, said he doesn’t believe that any other council in NSW, and possibly in Australia, has done this type of deal with a virtualization vendor before.

“As the signing Council, we have the responsibility to collect VMware licensing information from participating councils. What we [all councils] get from this is much cheaper pricing and the savings are spread across 43 councils in NSW,” said Jamie Beal, IT co-ordinator, information management technology at Gosford City Council.

According to Beal, councils are “well into their projects” of expansion of virtualization across their organisations.

This new deal with multiple councils supersedes an agreement with the Local Government Procurement panel, signed in 2008.

“Those contracts expired at March this year, and they [councils] would have come off the contracts and be paying significantly more because there wasn’t another deal to jump onto,” he said.

Under the new agreement, Gosford City Council will benefit from more than $420,000 of “additional value” in VMware licensing, Beal said.

“This is due to the inclusion of disaster recovery automation for our virtual server infrastructure and desktop virtualization licensing,” he said.

Gosford City Council expects to roll out desktop virtualization across 600 of its 1000 desktop computers to provide council users with the flexibility to view their standard operating environment from multiple devices.

Beal said virtualization technology enables Gosford City Council to provision servers and services faster by removing the need to deal with the time-consuming process of ordering and installing physical servers.

“Our disaster recovery and business continuity processes are streamlined because of our high availability and the reliability of the virtualization platform.”