NSW Health eyes cloud in data centre reform

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NSW Health eyes cloud in data centre reform

Recruitment points to long-awaited action.

NSW Government plans to consolidate its 130-odd data centres appear to have borne fruit, with several developments suggesting its largest Departments - Health and Education - have agreed to participate.

NSW Health has advertised for a director of data centre reform to lead the consolidatation of three existing data centres into two, "enabling their use of ... cloud technologies while maintaining service availability".

The NSW Government started scoping a whole-of-government data centre reform project in 2009, based a review of data centre capacity a year earlier.

The former Labor Government sought space in two commercial data centres that it could run in an active-active configuration. NSW Health is to be an anchor tenant in the arrangement, the other the NSW Department of Education.

These plans were initially resisted by some elements within the two large agencies, but iTnews has been told that both large agencies are now signed on to an in-principle plan.

The Government is yet to decide which of Leighton Contractors or Macquarie Capital will be contracted to build the facilities - one of which is expected to be located in Sydney, the other in Wollongong.

A report leaked to The Australian newspaper late last year suggested that NSW Health faced increasingly urgent requirements for extra capacity.

"Health will require additional capacity in 2012 at the latest," the documents stated.

The other anchor tenant slated for the whole-of-government arrangement - the Department of Education - faced a similar predicament, the report stated.

Health eyes cloud-like flexibility

The data centre reform project was described in the advert as a "key enabler" for a range of e-health initiatives planned by NSW Health.

In particular, it will determine the core infrastructure that underpins a "secure system of personally controlled electronic health records", the advertisement noted.

Flexibility and scalability appear to be key elements of the infrastructure end-game that the department is pursuing.

The reform director is expected is expected to design and implement "cost effective and flexible IT infrastructures" that can scale to meet changing demands in the short- and long-term.

Recruitment of the reform director is being handled by KPMG's executive search and selection business, a spokesman for the consulting giant told iTnews.

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