Private cloud shapes as an option to end agency turf war.

This newly instated New South Wales Government ICT Board has already convened its first monthly meeting. The board is made up of the Director Generals of major NSW Government agencies with agency CIO’s making up the ICT Leadership group.

The first item that was raised at this meeting of the higher level ICT Board meeting was a commitment to the data centre reform project. One proposal put forward to the ICT Leadership (CIO) Group was to take consolidation further than just data centre real estate.

A working group is to be established that will look into opportunities for a shared ICT infrastructure – including storage, network devices and servers.

It is reported that senior stakeholders within the New South Wales government have their own plans to build a private cloud which will replace the existing aging agency IT infrastructure. As always reaching any agreement for any initiatives between agencies CIO’s has been difficult

The New South Wales government has struggled for four years under the previous administration to achieve an agreement to consolidate its older agency data centres – hundreds of them – into a small number of *whole-of-Government* style facilities.

A circular sent in February 2011 to agencies from the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet stated that it is still an intention by the Government to consolidate its 200+ data centres into just two, one to be based in the Illawarra region and one within the Sydney basin.

By 2015 all New South Wales agencies will have to use only these facilities and have been prohibited from upgrading existing facilities or buying storage capacity from elsewhere before the end of the year.

Typically held back by red tape the consolidation plan has been stalled. Factions within – particularly those in the more powerful and larger Health and Education portfolio are wrestling with the – now abandoned – Government CIO office over the control of budgets and infrastructure.

The O’Farell Government has already moved to reduce this friction with a new ICT Framework that was released last month.

Now in the hands of the ICT board any decisions on ICT priorities are handled by the Director Generals of agencies, rather than with the CIO’s who now have limited voting power.

The ICT Leadership Group feeds information to the ICT Board with the Agency CIO’s meeting monthly, but they have no direct influence over any of the decisions being made.

One important question is if the Government possesses the *in house* skills to manage or build a private cloud itself. Will it need contracts with storage, server, service or network vendors to offer a private cloud from inside the Government leased facilities.

Pretty much any plans to build a private cloud depend mostly on the Governments actual ability to close the existing data centre and then reform a deal with the two remaining bidders Leighton Contractors and Macquarie Capital Group. While these two bidders are currently having discussions with the Government, to date, no deals have been signed.

Over and out

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