Saturday, April 05, 2008

Tele-Housing for consolidating NZ data centres

The NZ Ministry of Health has issued a request for tender for a "Tele-Housing Solution" to consolidate their servers into a smaller number of larger data centers. The tender document contains an excellent overview of the issues, as well as a list of the services such center provide.

The Ministry is looking to use blade servicer to reduce the space needed. But one option not considered is to consolidate the computer applications and make them more efficient, so that less equipment is needed. The Ministry has an assortment of operating systems and databases used, for example. Reducing this may well allow the Ministry to reduce the size of their computer center and the computer systems used and lower the cost and power use. More efficient applications, would also help.
The Ministry of Health (“the Ministry”) requests proposals for the provision of a tele-housing solution for the Ministry’s main data centres together with additional service offerings to assist with the monitoring and management of the relevant parts of the Ministry’s IT infrastructure (“this RFP”). ...

The National Systems Development Programmes (NSDP) comprise six major programmes to consolidate, rationalise, improve, and enhance the Ministry’s systems and processes in order to achieve the Health Information Strategy of New Zealand (HISNZ) ‘Action Zones’. The Ministry’s 2006 business case proposed investing over the next four years in the modification, enhancement or replacement of most key IT systems, and the supporting infrastructure systems required to manage them cost-effectively.

The tele-housing project is being undertaken by the Access and Integration programme team, which is part of NSDP. ...

The Ministry currently operates three data centres (Molesworth Street and Taranaki Street in Wellington and Penrose in Auckland) which house IT platforms for national payment systems, patient information management and other systems. The Ministry manages these data centres in-house and the Ministry’s Information Directorate provides support services such as applications and infrastructure support, desktop support, service desk, change and configuration management, database and system administration. ...

An opportunity exists as part of the ongoing programmes of change to create a new environment that caters for future growth – in terms of both capacity and service expectations. There is also an opportunity to consolidate the disparate platforms spread across the country into fewer locations and on to fewer platforms. Tele-housing provides the base environment for this, but the Ministry recognises that potential benefits cannot be fully realised without the introduction of more sophisticated services and transformation.

Potential benefits envisaged include:

  • meeting current and future business needs;

  • continuity of IT services;

  • service provision on the most cost-effective platform;

  • improved operational resilience;

  • housing of equipment in a purpose-built data centre;

  • more efficient use of equipment; and

  • efficiencies from leverage of common infrastructure components;


Services sought under each service category are as follows:

Service Category

Service Components

1. Equipment Housing


Physical Operation

Physical Security


Hardware Management

Manage Backup Media


Account Management

Change Management

2.Additional Services

Server Operating System Monitoring

Network Management

Hardware Support

Disaster Recovery


Security Management

Backup And Restore

Capacity Management

Change Management


3. Performance Improvement

System Build

System Performance

Database Support

Availability Monitoring

Change Management

Server Applications Support

Business Applications

Third Party Applications


The Ministry has defined a series of service classes to classify and group applications and equipment together into distinct service groups.

          1. Gold Class

The most important level of service provisioning needed by the Ministry and applicable to mission critical services, Gold Class is characterised by the three following critical factors:

  1. Operates 24x7 (hrs x days) business hours

  2. 99.99% availability (annually)

  3. Twenty minutes Maximum Allowable Downtime (MAD) per instance

  4. Replication across Sites

          1. Silver Class

The middle ground as far as support and protection are concerned, and applicable to services that are important, but not mission critical, Class 2 is characterised by the three following critical factors:

  1. Operates 12x6 business hours (being Mon-Sat 7:00 a.m. –7:00 p.m.)

  2. 99.95% availability (annually)

  3. Four hours MAD per instance

  4. Replication across Sites

          1. Bronze Class – Routine

The lowest requirement to be met, Class 3 is characterised by the three following critical factors:

  1. Operates 9x5 business hours (being Mon- Fri 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

  2. 99.9% availability (annually)

  3. Eight hours MAD per instance ...

From: Tele-Housing Solution, Request for Proposal, Number 0803004, NZ Ministry of Health, 2008

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