Canberra provider builds multi-tenanted Govt cloud

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Canberra provider builds multi-tenanted Govt cloud
Ross Dewar, Emantra CEO

Hopes to host smaller agencies for $30 per user.

Queensland-based Emantra has invested in data centre space in Hume, Canberra, amid speculation the Federal Government will establish a panel of cloud suppliers this year.

Although the Government last year consulted with the industry on Data Centre as a Service (DCaaS), it has yet to commit to establishing a panel of suppliers.

But Emantra chief executive Ross Dewar said his discussions with staff at the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) had made a good impression on him.

Emantra has invested $500,000 on space in the Canberra Data Centre in Hume that it plans to offer exclusively to Government clients under a multi-tenanted model.

The space is currently used by some 380 users at the Department of Climate Change, under a dedicated hosting contract that expires in the middle of this year.

When that contract expires, Dewar expects the department to go to market for a more aggressively priced deal.

He plans to introduce multi-tenanted services at about $30 per user, per month.

“We believe smaller agencies will find this type of hosting attractive as they are typically precluded from using offshore clouds because of issues of data sovereignty and security,” Dewar said.

At a cloud security conference in Canberra last November, academic, author and former chief information officer Rob Livingstone advised agencies to rule out the public cloud over data security and privacy concerns.

But Dewar argued that the real savings in the cloud model arose from virtualised, multi-tenanted public cloud implementations.

He expected the shared infrastructure model to appeal particularly to smaller agencies -- those with less than a few hundred users, for whom a dedicated server option would cost two to three times what a cloud service could offer.

Dewar added that hosting deals were typically supported by service-level agreements that imposed financial penalties should guaranteed uptime not be met.

“There is no degradation of performance, integrity or security,” he said. “But it's a lot less expensive for hosting a company to deliver to them.”

“Emantra has made an unequivocal commitment to the Australian Government market," he said, describing plans to introduce third-party accounting and payroll software-as-a-service later this year.

"We have created a very-high-availability infrastructure which can sustain several thousand users of Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and CRM for departments and agencies with compatible data classification requirements.

"We are also bundling high-end Symantec back-up and filtering services, Blackberry Enterprise Server and Polycom’s Lync-compatible devices for VOIP and [video-conferencing].”

Emantra has an annual turnover of around $10 million. Existing customers include Mitsubishi Australia, National Heart Foundation as well as local authorities such as the Townsville City Council.

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