NSW govt to pilot secure network for GovDC, public cloud

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NSW govt to pilot secure network for GovDC, public cloud

Plans to boost inter-data centre connectivity.

The NSW government is planning to replace the GovDC managed services backbone with a new secure network to improve data centre connectivity in the wake of its new public cloud-first policy.

The government adopted a “public cloud by default” approach for all new services and the replacement of existing services in October last year in a bid to accelerate public and private cloud adoption.

It expects that public cloud will be used for a minimum 25 percent of all IT services by 2023, with private cloud services through GovDC used for other services deemed unsuitable for public cloud.

In light of this, the Department of Customer Service (DCS) is looking to replace GovDC’s managed service backbone with a next generation inter- and intra-data centre "fabric", which it calls the ‘government secure network’.

It has approached the market for a “secure, scalable and modern fabric to facilitate interconnectivity between NSW government and cloud services such as GovDC cloud and public cloud”.

“This fabric will be given the identifier of government secure network, reflecting its role replacing the connectivity functions of the managed service backbone,” the request for proposal states.

DCS said the network would “enable a simple, low cost, quick, accessible, and scalable connection to workloads and services” to agencies, as well as other public bodies such as councils and universities.

A schematic diagram suggests the network will connect the state’s nine clusters to GovDC, including private clouds, public cloud and protected security policy framework (PSPF) certified data centres.

Source: NSW Department of Customer Service

“The guiding principle of the solution is ‘connect once, connect to many services and agencies,” the department said.

DCS plans to pilot the network initially, “in recognition of the risk associated with undertaking a full deployment of government secure network”, before a broader rollout across government.

The pilot will involve connecting a “single authorised supplier with a single NSW government agency, focused on developing GovDC cloud capability in the Silverwater GovDC location only”.

GovDC’s marketplace of digital application, OneGov, together with an unnamed cloud provider have been chosen for the pilot.

“This first stage of the project will seek to demonstrate technical capability and performance, develop operational maturity, and show that the costs and benefits stack up,” DCS said.

“It is proposed that the pilot be undertaken in partnership with one agency and one service provider.”

Further stages – which will be subject to review – will see the solution extended to both the Silverwater and Unanderra government data centres, as well as NSW Health and a regional data centre.

A fifth stage is aimed at enabling “connection through to [Azure] ExpressRoute [and AWS] Direct Connect”.

DCS expects the service provider to design, build and provide ongoing support for the pilot, which will involve physically rolling out the hardware to the Silverwater GovDC, as well as configuration.

It wants to use Ethernet VPN technology for the fabric with a combination of virtual extensible local area network and multiprotocol label switching to support multi-site connectivity.

Submissions to the RFP close April 26, with a one year contract expected by the end of June. An industry briefing is planned for April 9.

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