CSIRO mulls cloud in five-year server contract

 

Seeks Wintel servers, laptops and desktop computers.

CSIRO has asked Wintel server vendors to provide details of their infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings in a request for tender issued on Friday. 

The Government research agency sought to establish two-year contracts for servers, laptops and desktop computers, each with extension options up to five years total.

Vendors were invited to apply for the desktops and laptops component or the server and IaaS component of the contract, or both.

Tender documents indicated that the CSIRO preferred to purchase servers, software and services from the manufacturer, and not through resellers, so that responsibility may be more directly attributed.

CSIRO called for x86 servers to be installed in a 42U rack to support Windows Server, Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux Server, Ubuntu and VMWare ESX server platforms.

It required that the vendor’s proposed pricing be capped at that level for a year and planned to review prices biannually to ensure any decreases in market prices were reflected in the deal.

It sought information on compact and full-height blade servers,blade chassis and rack-mounted servers, as well as “cloud-based service offerings which compliment or enhance [the tenderers’] server product lines”.

The agency was particularly interested in: long-term hosting of its services in the cloud; temporary, on-demand hosting for development, testing and training environments; and disaster recovery or business continuity IaaS hosting.

“Changes to technology have resulted in servers becoming diverse in their applied use,” tender documents stated.

“With the increased business focus upon eResearch and computational science, IM&T will require flexibility to identify and procure platform hardware which is best fit for the business need in an ongoing capacity.”

Earlier this year, CSIRO research director Dimitrios Georgakopoulos said it was building an interface for backing up, developing and uploading applications to various cloud platforms.

At the time, he said the CSIRO would move to the cloud “as soon as possible” but did not want to commit to any particular infrastructure or vendor.

Single supplier for desktops, laptops and peripherals

The server, laptop and desktop tender will replace a similar managed services deal, established in 2007.

CSIRO said having a sole supplier for desktops and laptops had delivered benefits in the form of compatible docking stations, power packs and standard operating images.

While the existing contract was “very product-focused”, the agency hoped to establish a more integrated, “value-added” service package for the next five years.

It called for standard and high-end desktops and standard, ultra-light and high-end laptops with costs capped at the contract level for three years and reviewed against market prices quarterly.

Along with the hardware and bundled software, including Windows 7 drivers, the vendor was required to maintain an e-commerce website that would allow the CSIRO to view an online catalogue, make and track orders, and generate electronic invoices.

CSIRO noted that it may also require the supplier to pay it $16,000 excluding GST to cover consulting costs of integrating its systems with the e-commerce site.

It also reserved the right to consider the option of a panel, instead of sole supplier, arrangement during the tender evaluation process.

The request for tender closes on December 1.

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