GTEC 2010: ‘Major wave of systems renewal’ coming to Government of Canada IT infrastructure

The Government of Canada’s aging IT infrastructure is in desperate need of replacement and Government of Canada CIO Corrinne Charette has started taking inventory and preparing to work with the private sector to make it happen.

Last spring, the Auditor General of Canada dropped a report indicating that aging IT infrastructure is a serious risk to the government.

Speaking at the GTEC conference, Charette indicated that consolidation of resources will be a major strategy.

For example, the Government of Canada currently has more than 200 data centres “of varying age and reliability.” According to Charette, the plan is to looking into newer technology like server virtualization to cut down on that number.

“We’re really looking to leverage the private sector’s expertise,” said Charette. “Building and operating data centres is not necessarily a core competency of the government.”

Further consolidation is already taking place with government Internet access points, reducing the total number without sacrificing bandwidth, quality or access, but adding additional security. 

Even more consolidation is planned for government data, which is currently strewn across multiple websites and not even in the same formats.

“Data on my employee profile will be able to get accross town faster than me,” said Charette.

Additional updates planned to government infrastrure include moving to IPv6, the updated IP-address format already in use in many Asian countries and expanding the use of video conferences to cut down on travel expenses within the public service. 

Charette said she hopes these modernizations will allow the Government of Canada to take part in “Google-like transformations.”