The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for desktop-as-a-service which will initially include 9800 virtual desktops.
The department issued a Notice of Intention to procure such services earlier this year. The RFP has been issued as a "common capability" specification, which means a wide range of government agencies will be able to purchase services under the agreement. This includes both central and local government agencies, the Defence Force, the Police and even school boards of trustees.
Some government agencies have already pre-empted the all-of-government process. "Engagement with agencies established that some government agencies have already implemented virtual desktop (or similar) environments and a number of agencies are intending to implement these solutions over the next few years," says the RFP.
"This represents an opportunity to establish a common cross-government service in order to maximise the benefits of what agencies are already doing."
The intention is, as usual with such deals, to appoint a "panel" of two or three suppliers of virtual services.
The document has been written to include the option of supplying "traditional" desktops, with conventional PC or Apple hardware on the desk, as well as virtualised desktops. "Hardware procurement" is flagged as an item "in scope".
An initial group of four agencies have an immediate need for desktops and an interest in procuring services through the virtual desktop tender. These (unnamed) agencies "expect to consume the service immediately once the service is available and collectively estimate they will require a total of 21,800 desktops split as follows: 9800 virtual desktops, 2100 traditional desktops [and] 9900 Windows 8 tablets (treated as traditional desktops)," says the RFP document.
There appears to be a greater need for traditional desktops than DIA was anticipating. "The proportion of the traditional desktops in this group is higher than expected as one agency has a requirement for 9900 tablet devices that are expected to run a Windows 8 operating system," it says. "The remaining three agencies expect that their users will be split approximately 80 percent virtual desktop and 20 percent traditional desktop."
DaaS is expected to provide a partial solution to the many desktops and laptops still in government agencies running Windows XP, for which Microsoft is currently withdrawing support. "Desktop as a Service is not intended as the only solution to this issue; however it should be noted that 3 of the initial participating agencies do intend to combine a migration from Windows XP to a later operating system with a migration onto Desktop as a Service," says DIA.
The RFP closes on April 19 and a contract with successful panel members is expected to be concluded by September.