NSW Government signs mega data centre deal

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NSW Government signs mega data centre deal
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The NSW Government's tenancy agreement with Metronode more closely resembles a public-private partnership than what is usually on offer from large third party data centres.

The Government has, for example, negotiated not just for floor space but also all aspects of power and cooling, availability, network links, security, and service desk support.

In principle, the NSW Government has committed to using up to nine megawatts of the total 18 megawatts on offer from the two facilities for the next ten years, with two five-year extensions also in the contract.

The Government has calculated that if all NSW agencies, state-owned enterprises and universities jumped on board the data centre reform program, it would currently use around eight megawatts of capacity.

In return for its commitment, the NSW Government has sought substantial control over the operational aspects of the facilities and a flexible approach to paying for the services supplied.

Unique outcomes of the contract include:

Flexible pricing

The NSW Government will buy services from Metronode on a per-kilowatt basis, a relatively new concept in government IT purchasing.

The contract sees the Government initially sign up to only use 3.2 megwatts of power upon completion of the facilities but Metronode has promised to hold at least nine megawatts of capacity across the data centres exclusively for NSW Government use.

The Government as a whole will only pay for what it uses, with guaranteed capacity slightly beyond its current requirements. This will ease pressure on the NSW Department of Finance to force agencies to adhere to its data centre reform package.

The Government has also sought guarantees on the price it pays for power. Metronode has promised a PUE above which agencies won’t have to pay.

Separately, the data centre builder has committed to signing up to the nascent NABERS accreditation for data centres once this standard is finalised.

Further, Metronode has allowed agencies to use the NSW Government’s pre-negotiated power contracts (the C777 contract with EnergyAustralia) to ensure it is enjoying the economies of scale on offer as part of the broader NSW Government.

Locking in power prices and demanding world-class power efficiency will prove a sound option if energy prices continue to escalate in anticipation of the carbon tax.

Guarantees on availability

The two facilities will be linked by an active-active connection, allowing agencies to fail over applications from one data centre to the other in near-real time in the event of a power outage, data corruption or other disaster.

Metronode has also committed to gaining Tier III accreditation from the Uptime Institute for both facilities. This accreditation demands that the facility is ‘concurrently maintainable’ and achieves uptime of 99.982 percent.

The Leightons subsidiairy recently became the second data centre operator to gain initial Tier III design document accreditation for its Melbourne facility.

The service level contracts allow agencies to operate at a level of redundancy usually reserved for banks and retail.

Controls

The contract also means NSW Government has unprecedented controls, including first right of refusal, over what other tenants Metronode can supply to from the same facilities to ensure public data and applications are never at risk.

Agencies will have access to web-based monitoring of their infrastructure.

Stay tuned to iTnews for a complete guide to negotiating data centre agreements.

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