The facility of a top-secret military communications group in Borden, Ontario will be relocated to make way for a $400 million datacentre project by Shared Services Canada.
Plans by the SSC to build a datacentre at the Canada Force Base in Borden, hit a snag, according to recent media reports, due to miscommunication regarding security requirements around the top-secret military communications post known as COMCEN. The reports said, while the project has been in the works since 2013, it was only recently that SSC realized that the military required certain security measures for the datacentre. This failure of communication threatens to delay the project and has left the SCC scrambling for a Plan B, according to the reports.
Find out how not to fumble datecentre implementation. Attend the Next Gen Datacentre event on March 9
However, the SCC told the Canadian Government Executive that there was no such miscommunication in the first place.
“The COMCEN requirements have been fully taken into account in the planning for the datacentre,” according to an email sent by Stephanie Richardson, of the media relations department of SSC, to CGE. “As noted, in the fall of 2015, the two departments (SSC and Department of National Defence) jointly clarified how requirements for the COMCEN would be addressed and project plans were developed accordingly.”
she said the datacentre to be built at Canada Force Base Borden will be called Enterprise Data Centre Borden. It is one of Shared Services Canada’s first three Enterprise Data Centres to be used for government-wide information technology workload and programs.
That SSC was aware of the security requirements, was confirmed by a CAF spokesperson who also said that SSC would comment on what was being done with the issue.
Many of the federal government’s 500 datacentres are aging and plagued with problems that cause them to often breakdown. SSC plans to download the work handled by these datacentres to several new datacenters to be built by 2020.
One of those datacenters has been planned for Base Borden, where the top-secret military communications post known as COMCEN is located. The project is estimated to be worth about $400 million and procurement is being handled by crown corporation Defence Construction Canada. The winner of the contract is expected to be announced later this month or early April, with the first phase of construction slated for September 2017.
The base at Borden already has a datacentre but Department of National Defence officials have agreed to have SSC handled datacentre upgrade on the condition that DND security requirements for COMCEN were met. Unfortunately, according to reports, both parties only realized belatedly that security accommodations for COMCEN were not being met. It was unlikely that CAF had the money or time to move the communications post out of the upgraded datacentre, the report said.
However, Richardson told CGE that SCC and DND are already working together on a solution.
“A new, separate location for the Communications Centre will be established as part of the datacentre, expansion project,” she said. “Services Canada, Defence Construction Canada and the Department of National Defence have a very good working relationship and this has been resolved.”
She also said that the project remains on track and on schedule.
“The procurement process to select a company for the expansion of the datacentre is nearing completions,” according to Richardson. “Award of a contract is anticipated in April 2016. Defence Construction Canada is managing the procurement and the project will be done as a Public-Private Partnership.”