Finance seeks new data network

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Finance seeks new data network

Seven-year project to improve resilience and support future needs.

The Department of Finance and Deregulation is seeking networking providers to upgrade or replace its current Corporate Data Network.

The network comprises a LAN that connects two data centres in ACT and a metropolitan area network (MAN) that connects ten departmental offices in Canberra.

A majority of production systems are housed in the department's data centre in the John Gorton Building (JGB), Barton, while most disaster recovery applications are housed in its Hume data centre.

All of Finance's existing switches are Nortel-based; core switches are approximately eight years old and the remaining switches vary from end-of-life units to those which are still in production. 

According to tender documents, the design of the existing network is "relatively simple and lacks features and functionality found in modern networks".

Data travelling across the fibre network is typically routed through a redundant core in JGB, creating a single point of failure that exposes the department to "the risk of an unacceptable outage of critical business processes" should the JGB data centre fail.

The new network design is expected to reduce single points of failure in the network, be flexible, agile and scalable, support VoIP, unified communications and 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless communications and incorporate IPv6.

It is expected to integrate with the department's existing Microsoft System Centre Operations manager (SCOM) application and meet its business requirements for the next decade.

Additionally, the network should support Finance's server virtualisation technology by integrating with existing software-based virtual switches, and accommodating the transfer of virtual servers between the two data centres without compromising security.

Almost half of the department's production servers are currently virtualised, and it hopes to have virtualised "the majority" of its servers eventually.

The new network is expected to be delivered in seven years, with the supplier responsible for maintaining and supporting its hardware and software products for at least three years.

An estimated 1,900 users rely on the network for e-mail, storage, desktop management, business applications, internet access and telecommunications.

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