NAB shuts down four data centres

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NAB shuts down four data centres

Still 19 to go in consolidation plan.

The National Australia Bank has provided an update on its effort to consolidate 23 ageing data centres scattered across the country down to two, and signalled a future move to an entirely leased model.

NAB will operate out of its existing Knox, Victoria data centre and a new facility leased from Digital Realty in Deer Park, Melbourne once its data centre consolidation project is complete in 18 months, as part of an effort to reduce data centre power consumption and save $22 million over seven years.

The bank has already decommissioned four of its former 23 centres, many of which were a legacy of numerous acquisitions made by the bank in the last 30 years and responsible for more than 40 percent of the bank’s total power consumption.

Tim Palmer, the man leading NAB’s data centre transformation, told a business forum in Sydney the next time NAB made an acquisition it would now have the capacity to grow within the Digital Realty facility, one of its two “fortress data centres.”

“At the moment there are 23 other smaller data centres through the organisation. We have different levels of availability and different power costs, and lower levels of utilisation - as anyone who has managed a large enterprise would know, you can have disparate network solutions and disparate hosting solutions that are always underutilised,” Palmer said.

“We are bringing that all together into what we call “fortress data centres” where we have core critical customer data and customer-facing systems, and we will consolidate those 20+ data centres into two very robust Tier 3 solutions.”

Hear NAB executives speak at the Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit  - March 18-20, 2014.

As part of the consolidation effort, Palmer revealed NAB would look to refresh its Knox data centre in the next five years, with the possibility of migrating out of it altogether.

“We’ll need to make a strategic decision as to whether we still want a home data centre or do we want to go with another sale lease-back type model, or consume capability out of another facility.”

The project is part of a bank-wide technology transformation effort which has also seen NAB sign IBM for managed infrastructure services. As a result of the managed services arrangement with IBM, 500 NAB staff moved across to Big Blue.

NAB also signed a network consolidation contract with Telstra in 2011 which saw ten networks merged into one, and tasked Telstra with maintaining NAB’s network assets. Around 170 NAB staff moved across to the telco as a result of the contract. Additionally, 580 IT and support staff were let go across the business in the past year in order to save $800 million.

Palmer said the IBM deal allowed NAB to retain the capacity it required without requiring further capital spend.

“It allows us to pay for what we consume,” he said.

Palmer said careful planning will result in NAB achieving a PUE of 1.3 or less in the new Digital Realty data centre, compared to an average of 2.5 across the 20-odd existing data centres.

"That allowed us to greatly reduce energy consumption and our resources with other parties like IBM and Telstra," he said.

In its annual report, released in late October, the bank revealed it had increased its investment in infrastructure projects from last to by $78 million to $1.1 billion.

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