Australian government releases data centre better practice guide

Guide will be open for comments until 23 August

The Department of Finance and Deregulation’s ICT procurement branch has released a draft data centre structure better practice guide for comment.

The purpose of the guide is to advise Australian government agencies on ways to improve operations relating to data centre structure.

ICT procurement branch assistant secretary Mundi Tomlinson wrote on the AGCTO blog that it was interested in opinions on the document and how it could be improved.

“We’ll close the discussion at 5pm on Friday 23 August 2013,” wrote Tomlinson.

Guide documents indicated that government functions are critically dependent upon ICT systems based in data centres.

“Applying better practices in planning and using the physical structure can reduce operating costs, increase agility in responding to change, and improve security,” read the guide.

According to the guide, data centres that have been set up in converted office space tend to have a shorter operational life than purpose built facilities.

“In part, this is due to the mismatch of the requirements of a building suitable for people, and a building suitable for ICT,” read the documents.

It went on to say that ICT weighs much more, and needs far more power and cooling than people.

“Another common factor contributing to a shorter operational life is that the data centre in converted office space usually gets minimal investment, and so is a cause of more failures, issues and absorbs more management attention.”

Turning to data centre buildings, the guide advised that the government agency should satisfy itself that the structure complies with Australian building standards including the National Construction Code.

“Agencies are generally advised to rely on compliance certificates rather than making the assessment themselves,” read the guide.

“An ongoing challenge for data centre managers is that the data centre structure lasts far longer than the ICT equipment that it holds. The constant churn of equipment means constantly changing requirements and expectations. Agencies should plan to carry out routine assessments of the structure.”

The guide was released under the <i>Australian Government Data Centre Srategy 2010-2025</i> which is designed to avoid $1 billion in future data centre costs.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Tags procurementdata centresDepartment of Finance and DeregulationData Centre Better Practice Guide

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