Centrelink to create private storage cloud in ILM push

Centrelink has announced plans to establish “a panel for the provision of Enterprise Storage” as it aims to move “towards delivery of storage as a service,” extend its information lifecycle management strategy and develop an archive that can retrieve 130 year old emails.

Centrelink has “initiated an Enterprise Storage Management project” in order to “market test for all the elements Centrelink will require to implement Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) and storage management services” and aims to “become the provider of choice for ICT infrastructure services within the Commonwealth sector.”

“To achieve this, Centrelink intends to establish ILM principles and procedures with a view to reaching a maturity infrastructure level of 3 in ILM within a three year period. The expected outcome will be the ability to provide a well defined service that has optimised procedures, is automated, and incorporates a capacity on demand model.”

The tender goes on to say that the agency has a “target for the 4th and 5th years of this strategy is to establish embedded ILM principals in the application and business areas. Integration of ILM into the business cycle will optimise the storage environment, resulting in a reduction in the amount of storage required.

Documents issued by Centrelink add that the agency’s intention to consider deduplication, single instance storage and virtualised tape and outline a plan to “... implement processes and tools to allow the storage components to be measured, monitored and reported such that customer charging can be established. Monitoring and reporting on the storage data is a critical component of the ILM model. An ability to report the storage use is fundamental to the management, classification and optimisation of the storage environment.”

The tender also lists the following items as ideas and technologies it intends to consider, describing them as components of a “modernised environment”:

•         Private Shared Cloud

•         Storage as a Service

•         Multi-Tenancy

•         Storage optimisation techniques implemented

•         Optimised purchasing timeline with capacity on demand

•         Well defined service offerings

•         A dynamic environment that can take advantage of new functions as they become available

•         A contractual arrangement that allows Centrelink to engage certain specialist services as required

The project is motivated by the desire to achieve ILM goals, but also because the agency’s current storage arrangements expire in 2011.

The new arrangements it seeks will see panel of nine vendors created, each of which will then be assigned to sub-panels each of which will be able to bid for nine areas of storage, namely:

1.      Mainframe direct-attached disk

2.      Open systems disk

3.      Archive appliances

4.      Tape infrastructure

5.      Tape media

6.      Backup and restore capability

7.      Storage fabric

8.      Storage management software

9.      Vendor-backed services

Panelists will be permitted to sit on multiple sub-panels.

The tender also includes a description of Centrelink’s current storage environment, which appears dominated by Brocade, Sun/Oracle and Tivoli Storage Manager.

Interestingly, the tender also mentions that the agency will soon commission three EMC Symmetrix VMAX arrays, “with a capacity of 2800TB” in its mainframe environment. The description of the agency’s current environment does not, however, mention a single NetApp product. SearchStorage ANZ imagines that vendor’s private cloud implementations at Suncorp, Telstra and CenITex will mean it is salivating at the prospect of bidding for this tender!

130-year archive

Another element of the tender that will surely attract interest is its requirement for “Archiving solutions for email and unstructured data with a range of data retention values and deep data archiving with a potential data retention period of up to 130 years.”

The tender goes on to explain that this component of the project “ ... will be critical to the success of Centrelink‟s Digitisation and Paper Reduction programs, which aim to digitise all client facing forms. There is an expectation that Centrelink will be storing multi-millions of images per year at the height of the project. This initiative has a requirement to not only store images of forms, but also to guarantee the integrity of the images, provide non-repudiation functionality, and provide the ability to retrieve archived information for viewing in real time.”

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