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Macquarie eyes government contracts with new Canberra datacentre

New Macquarie datacentre in the Australian capital designed to achieve Tier 4 datacentre standards will deliver 1.5MW of capacity by December 2020

Macquarie is gearing up for growing demand for cloud and cyber security services from its government customers with a new datacentre in the Australian capital city of Canberra.

Work on the new facility, dubbed Intellicentre 5 (IC5), will start in July 2020, with an initial investment of A$17m being poured into the first stage of the project to deliver 1.5MW of capacity by December 2020.

When completed, the full Canberra campus comprising IC4 and IC5 will be 4MW, with additional capacity to expand further if required.

Macquarie said IC5 will leverage the latest physical and virtual security and compliance credentials to manage government cloud workloads at the protected, secret and above levels. It is designed to achieve Tier 4 datacentre standards and will be staffed by government-cleared engineers.

Macquarie also aims to further capitalise on the increasing trend of hybrid IT in Australia. A recent report from IDC indicated IT services revenue will grow from nearly A$20bn in 2019 to A$24bn in 2023, primarily driven by hybrid cloud and security-related services.

David Hirst, group executive at Macquarie Data Centres, said the company plans to invest about A$100m in total for IC5 and the stage one build of its IC3 hyperscale Sydney facility.

“Macquarie’s 18-plus years of experience and strong ties to the federal government are enticing to the hyperscale and multinational SaaS [software-as-a-service] market, which are keen to conduct business and securely expand their cloud footprint among Australian government agencies,” Hirst said.

The latest announcement follows significant expansion of Macquarie’s government business in recent months, with 42% of government agencies now leveraging its cyber security, secure internet gateway and cloud services. This includes a recent A$20m deal with the Australian Taxation Office to protect it from security threats.

“Risk to government of a cyber breach and the dependency on cloud services are at an all-time high – we’re not just going to return to the ‘norm’ after this pandemic and facilities of this calibre are an essential requirement in Canberra,” said Aidan Tudehope, managing director at Macquarie Government.

“Government departments need to have clarity over data sovereignty – who controls the data, where it resides and who has access. We cover these bases by ensuring Australian control and access only by Australian government-cleared specialists,” Tudehope added.

Read more about datacentres in Australia

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  • AGL is moving its technology from corporate datacentres in Sydney and Melbourne to Azure within two years under its cloud transformation programme.
  • Oracle’s Generation 2 cloud region in Sydney will be delivered from a new datacentre to meet demand for its cloud infrastructure and autonomous database services in Australia.
  • Hosted by Canberra Data Centres, Microsoft’s additional Azure datacentre regions will provide the necessary security controls for handling government data in Australia.

Macquarie’s new investments will also leverage the government’s stimulus measures that provide accelerated capital allowances deductions for plant, equipment and other depreciating assets.

“IC5 and Macquarie’s investment into Australia’s datacentre ecosystem will not only create valuable jobs, but build sovereign security skills and capabilities in what has become a vital industry for our nation,” said Zed Seselja, assistant minister for finance, charities and electoral matters. “This kind of investment, backed by the government’s stimulus measures, is essential to growing Australia’s economy after the pandemic.”

IC5 will also see the creation of a number of permanent and temporary jobs in areas such as cyber security, engineering and construction. Macquarie also plans to expand its existing graduate programme to give additional opportunities to new graduates and help meet the industry’s growing need for skilled professionals.

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