Telstra has detailed a multi-year, multi-million dollar data centre consolidation project that would merge up to 68 sites into two or three large facilities.
General manager of data centre services Jon Curry told iTnews that the telco was about "two to three years from having a good handle" on the consolidation project.
Of the 68 facilities earmarked for consolidation, only five were traditional data centres. The rest were telecommunications exchanges where IT equipment had been deployed over the years.
Curry said that Telstra's BigPond group had deployed hundreds of servers in exchange buildings on at least three occasions when insufficient notice meant the servers couldn't be provisioned in a data centre in time.
"We now recognise a number of our facilities as data centres where previously they'd have been recognised as network exchanges," Curry said.
"We've cast our eyes further afield and we're looking to drive consolidation across those facilities down to two or three key centres.
"We understand the  facilities, how much equipment we've got, the timeframes and timetables. In two-to-three years, we'll have a good handle on that."
The consolidated facilities would likely be existing centres that would be refreshed to extend their useful life.
Curry said that some IT equipment would stay put in exchanges if it supported latency-sensitive applications or was already earmarked to be virtualised when it was retired.
However, he said that in general the data centre team was "pushing hard to get virtualisation ramped up even more than it is now", to consolidate equipment and free up data centre space across the organisation.
And he said that more opportunities for virtualisation and consolidation would flow out of Telstra's July 2010 reorganisation of its IT and operations divisions, which had provided the data centre project team with a very different "supply chain view".
"The groups involved are now more aligned across the organisation," he said. "There are some significant [equipment] lifecycle opportunities coming."
Curry told a CeBIT data centre conference in Sydney today that Telstra kept records of 6, 18 and 36-month pipelines of work for its data centres.
The six-month pipeline kept track of virtualisation requests and things like physical work inside the data centres. Further out, the pipelines recorded possible work earmarked in internal discussions but not yet confirmed.
"It's really important to define those as the bar moves closer to the six-month period," Curry said.
He said Telstra's data centre team had grown from the four people when Curry started four years ago to 20 people today.