The Canadian government announced in early March that it is going forward with plans to remodel an Ottawa data center to create a new development site.
The project, which comes with a price tag of more than $80 million, will turn an existing facility near the Ottawa airport into a second development data center to test new federal programs before they go live. The government is planning on partnering with private sector entities to expand and operate the facility.
The Canadian government is currently undergoing a massive overhaul of its IT infrastructure in order to reduce spending and increase cybersecurity, as well as make public service more agile. To assist with cost-saving measures, 485 Canada data centers operated by the federal government were consolidated into just seven, including the refurbished Ottawa facility. Consolidation efforts are expected to be completed in 2020 and the reduction in infrastructure is expected to save the government $80 million a year in operating expenditures.
Shared Services Canada, the agency responsible for the consolidation and remodeling projects, originally identified the Ottawa data center as one of the seven facilities that should remain open, but modernizing the site will come with a host of challenges. The complex was built in 1989 and an engineering report commissioned in 2011 found that "a substantial amount of retrofit is required…to meet SSC's power and capacity requirements."
Despite the amount of work that needs to be done and the large sum of money it will take to accomplish, the agency believes construction will be completed by the summer or fall of 2016 and the initial investment will be worth it to achieve significant annual savings in the long run.
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