Canberra scores new data centre

Home-grown managed IT security services vendor 90East has expanded its foothold in the federal market with the opening of a new secure data centre in the macropod-ravaged Canberran suburb of Bruce.

The purpose-built info-fortress, which boasts around 2000 square metres of secure hosting capacity with 500 racks, blast-proof doors and three diesel generators will securely house a number of federal government data gateways, databases, Web servers, directory services and electronic payment facilities.

The 24x7 centre has been certified by ASIO's T4 section to "highly protected" level and includes five levels of security access and control including biometric systems and numerous physical barriers to prevent vehicle ram raids.

Initially built and inhabited by EDS and The Australian Customs Service at a cost believed to be in excess of $20 million, the privately-owned facility was until recently mothballed and without a tenant. 90East refused to specify the cost of procuring and refitting the new centre - other than saying that for what they got it was an "absolute bargain".

Cutting the ribbon for the new facility, Minister for Communications Information Technology and the Arts Senator Richard Alston said that government access to information security solutions was an increasing priority.

"One man's meat is another's poison – government by its very nature must have highly protected services. [This was the case] even before September 11. Government departments are very pleased with the levels of security they are achieving," Alston said.

"I am sure FedLink will go from strength to strength. There's certainly plenty of room to expand out here," said Alston, looking through a large macropod-proof fence to a side paddock filled with cows.

Alston also said that he expected the government's secure intranet facility FedLink to continue to expand and provide secure transaction services both between government agencies and the private sector – although the latter was deemed by those present as "quite some way off in the future".

The facility is said to be the largest commercially operated data centre in Canberra and will employ around 50 people.

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