by Lisa Banks

Canberra Data Centre MD talks government collaboration, Gershon report

Jun 23, 2010
Data Center Data Warehousing Government

Greater flexibility, a variety of clients and the impact of the Gershon report have allowed the Canberra Data Centre (CDC) to provide data facilities for 16 different government agencies.

Managing director of the centre, Greg Boorer spoke to CIO about developments the centre has made since it was opened in 2008.

“It’s a brand new data centre and one of its attractions is we’ve never been saddled with old architecture we needed to squeeze more life out of. We were able to start with a blank canvas and it achieved best practice from day one.

“Today we have 16 different government agencies using the data centre. These range from large service delivery organisations through to national security agencies through to the more research focused organisations,” Boorer said.

Boorer could not name specific agencies using the data centre due to “contractual obligations”, but the AusTender website reveals Centrelink, the Bureau of Meteorology and IP Australia all have leasing arrangements with the centre.

Boorer puts the success of the centre down to a combination of factors including its flexible architecture.

“We have a different approach, a modular approach whereby we can deliver power and cooling almost on demand into a pod-based power and cooling architecture where you can realign and add in new pieces when client needs change over time. We have a much more flexible and scalable architecture than a traditional architecture” Boorer said.

The infamous Gershon report has had a positive impact on the centre, according to Boorer.

“You’d have to say the Gershon report has been very, very good for our business because instead of having to undertake a sales and tendering process with every agency, you only had to go through the process once and then it was quite easy to do business with government,” he said.

Boorer said clients are more educated on the concepts of ‘green IT’ and recognise sustainable concepts are being integrated into many data centres, including the CDC. This, coupled with up to date technology, has allowed CDC to save client money.

“Generally the clients are far more educated with regards to the importance of power and cooling in regards to the heating and cooling. Efficiency used to be something you’d have to tick to get political green points. However, people actually understand now that saving power is actually translating into saving money which is what it’s all about because you have money to do other things. So we’re seeing a higher focus on efficiency and that has resulted in having so many more clients come on board because the efficiency and efficient nature of what we’re doing in the data centre is showing. This would arguably put us as the most efficient data centre in Australia today,” he said.

Boorer said the future will be a bright one for the CDC and the federal government’s move toward a shared service model will only improve CDC’s success.

“There is a move within government towards a shared service model where, instead of every single agency working like a silo and doing their own thing, more infrastructure and resources are being leveraged across a number of different agencies to provide efficiency and value for money for government. That’s all coming out of Gershon, and it’s actually happening in Canberra,” Boorer said.