‘Trigger events’ prompt Housing NZ outsourcing

Datacentre outsourcing assessed for 115-strong server fleet

Housing New Zealand is joining a rush of government agencies considering new ways to deliver ICT services. In particular, it is looking at outsourcing its datacentres and 115-strong server fleet.

The corporation says approaching “trigger events” are prompting a rethink of the way ICT services are delivered.

“Currently the corporation is assessing its current computer rooms and considering a transition to outsourced datacentre services,” a document released to market this month says.

In August, the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Corrections both signalled they were also looking at alternative ways to deliver ICT services — and both flagged outsourcing and sharing ICT services with other agencies as options. Government is also undertaking line by line reviews of agency expenditure and asking for savings.

Computerworld asked whether any staff are to be transferred or lost as part of a Housing New Zealand process and the corporation indicated they would not.

“Server room management is not a core function to Housing New Zealand Corporation. As ICT moves from operating the environment to managing the environment, those staff who currently spend part of their time operating the computer room environments, will be able to redirect that time to assist with higher value-added project and operational activities,” the corporation says.

Housing New Zealand says the “triggers” prompting the changes include a need to increase the capacity of its current datacentres and boosting their management, including accessing best practice power supply, air conditioning and other environmental services.

The corporation also wants to make sure it is getting value for money in the management and housing of its datacentres, a spokeswoman says.

“For business continuity purposes, it may be appropriate to house the corporation’s datacentres separately from our business sites,” she says.

Two computer rooms, one in Auckland and one in Wellington, currently deliver 125 applications to 1200 users nationwide, the corporation’s document says. It adds that Housing operates a traditional model of owning hardware and operating/managing/maintaining this infrastructure in-house.

“Our architectural strategy is to transition to an active-passive, two datacentre model which is delivered through a lights-out service from best-in-industry service provider. The corporation seeks information from suppliers robust, safe, secure, well managed, geographically diverse New-Zealand-based datacentre solutions that can house the corporation’s existing environments with room for possible future expansion,” it says.

Each of the current sites has storage area network and tape library facilities. The Auckland room holds 10 racks, with approximately 30kW of equipment. The Wellington room has 17 racks, with approximately 45kW of equipment.

“With a number of initiatives underway, growth may be expected within the near future, which may alter our requirements,” the document notes.

In August, the Ministry for the Environment issued a briefing document seeking someone to review its ICT services considering three options: to retain the in-house ICT status quo; outsource; or share technology with similarly sized agencies. Corrections made a similar and concurrent move.

“The department is also interested in exploring new options for service provision that may include changes to the ownership model around some or all IT assets,” Correction’s review document said.

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