HP spruiks Government Cloud services

Ninety day deal offered for agencies with data kept in secure DCs

Hewlett Packard (HP) Australia is gunning for public sector data in a big way with the launch of its Government Secure Cloud Services.

The vendor outlined its Cloud services roadmap up to 2014 in Sydney this week, with a number of different hybrid Cloud offerings including software as service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service, and storage and database management.

Server, storage, network and security resources will be available for agencies, which will only pay for what they need to run core applications and processes.

Applications that support critical business functions, such as agency databases, information management, email and collaboration-as-a-service, can scale rapidly in response to changing volumes and peak processing requirements, according to HP.

Some of the companies existing government customers include the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Centrelink.

Its hybrid Cloud will be offered through a Defence Signals Directorate-certified secure gateway, and hosted in HP's local data centre facilities at Global Switch in Ultimo, Sydney and in the Sydney Basin.

"All facilities have security clearance and who can potentially log in to the system so there are multiple tiers of security," said HP South Pacific enterprise services vice-president, Alan Bennet.

"Release one [of the Cloud services] is one footprint in Global Switch and our next-generation data centre is due to be completed in November 2011. Early in the New Year we will be ready to take on new customers and the intention is to build out the second physical location. If we lose one site we can switch all customers over to the other centre."

When asked why HP was offering a hybrid service, Bennet said agencies that had many regulations to go through and they could not go with a "big bang approach" where everything was hosted in the Cloud.

"It's a case of what the destination is. The intent is not to have a five year style lock in contract, we are only asking for a 90 day commitment. Because the data is classified you can't open it up like a public Cloud. We need to know who is connected and who has been authorised to access the data."

According to Bennett, the vendor waited until the release of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) discussion paper into the adoption of Cloud services so that agencies had time to digest the findings.

The paper was released to discuss the possibilities of more agencies moving into the Cloud. "We have taken into account those findings and look forward to working with AGIMO."

He said that the company already has a long history of providing secure infrastructure services at a federal and state level.

"Some customers want to build private Cloud environment and we have a number of customers who have done just that," Bennett said. "Others are looking at Cloud services to supplement their traditional data to look at development testing such as a new release.

"The thing about the journey to Cloud is that very few organisations have the ability to start with a clean sheet of paper. There are many legacy systems and regulations that have been developed since Federation in 1908 and they need to take that into account as they use IT going forward."

Infrastructure was currently under construction in the Global Switch facility to prepare for the influx of agency data.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Tags HPgovernmentcloud computing

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