Defence data centre overhaul gets tick of approval

Defence minister David Johnston has backed a large-scale overhaul of Department of Defence's ICT services and infrastructure, confirming today that the Centralised Processing Project will be managed by Lockheed Martin.

The project, which consolidate the department's data centres from 280 to 14 (11 on-shore and three overseas), went to tender in September 2012. According to Johnston, the project will be worth $800 million over eight years.

"This will support the Defence ICT environment by delivering resilient and scalable ICT facilities and infrastructure whilst remediating approximately 100 applications many users access on a daily basis," a department spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.

"By consolidating Defence's infrastructure and applications, Defence can deliver more resilient, scalable ICT facilities, reducing duplication and delivering significant savings," the department's outline of the project states.

HP, IBM and Lockheed Martin all submitted tenders for the project. HP was knocked out in September 2013, and Lockheed Martin was announced as the preferred tenderer in May this year.

Contract approval had been contingent on the outcome of the government's ICT Two Pass Review Process, which applies to high risk ICT-enabled projects with a total cost of $30 million or more.

"Lockheed Martin Australia will partner with Defence and a number of innovative Australian-based enterprises such as NEC to deliver effective and efficient information technology infrastructure and services critical to supporting Defence business and military operations," said Lockheed Martin Australia CEO Raydon Gates said.

An NEC Australia statement said that under a $150 million contract the company would help maintain the stability of Defence systems during the project, re-host applications in the new environment and help decommission the old environment.

The data centre consolidation project is a component of the Defence Strategic Reform Program, which began in 2009 and is intended to save the department $20 billion over 10 years; $1.9 billion of these savings are earmarked to be delivered through ICT reform.

"Defence has one of the largest ICT environments in Australia with some 100,000 users and this project will consolidate infrastructure and applications, ensuring more efficient and modern systems for Defence users throughout Australia and the world," Johnston said in a statement.

"An effective ICT environment is essential to Defence's readiness to conduct all operations, including responses to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation, both at home and abroad."

The minister's statement said that the department and Lockheed Martin are finalising details for the first stage of the project's implementation.

Last year Defence awarded a massive contract to Telstra to overhaul the department's telecommunications, network and mobile services. That project has a targeted completion date of mid-2016 and was expected to deliver cost savings for Defence.

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p


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