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Gen-i wins Westpac data centre contract

Gen-i has won a 10 year contract to provide data centre services to Westpac - balancing out a recent win at the bank by rival IBM.

Westpac recently signed a five year ICT services contract with IBM, which Westpac chief information officer Ross Stephenson said involved running the hardware stored in the data centres.

He said Gen-i’s Airedale St centre in the Auckland CBD  would provide storage facilities for this hardware, in which a new data hall was being built to house Westpac’s equipment, with the potential to extend past the 10 year contract.

Mr Stephenson said Westpac also had data storage facilities with IBM’s $80 million Mt Wellington centre to provide more rigor in terms of back up.  He said this double up of storage facilities would continue with the move into Gen-i’s facility.

A release from Gen-i said the bank had selected the facility as a replacement for its current data centre in Nelson Street, Auckland.

Mr Stephenson said he did not wish to comment on who the incumbents were.

He said Westpac had chosen to use two different providers for services and storage because they were two distinct offerings and the facilities were a long term provision.

“You may wish to review your services on a more regular basis than you would your facilities, so it’s a different tenure in terms of the timing for those types of things.  We made a conscious decision not to link the two.”

Mr Stephenson said Westpac had gone through a rigorous process to determine between the providers.  He said the bank had gone to market with a number of vendors, whom he did not wish to name, and chose Gen-I as a robust, long term centre in a good location in relation to Westpac’s second data centre in Mt Wellington.

He said Westpac would get access to the data centre from early 2012 and would progressively move its services in to the centre, with an aim to complete the move by September 2012.

The decision to have two data centres is not a first; Air New Zealand chose to renew its services with IBM by moving from the Newton St centre to the new $80 million Mt Wellington centre, while retaining services with Gen-i’s Airedale St centre.

Gen-i said the data centre was a Tier Three carrier-grade facility and had been assessed by data centre design specialist AECOM, engaged by Wetpac.

The centre connects with Telecom’s main telecommunications exchange on the same campus, Gen-I said.

Gen-i Australasian chief executive Chris Quin said the company was a New Zealand business dedicated to understanding the needs of New Zealand businesses.  He said following the Canterbury earthquakes the company had seen an increased demand from clients for resilient data centre services.

“We are committed to contributing to the success of Westpac, and our selection to provide the bank’s data centre facilities reflects the cultural alignment of people, processes and technology across the two organisations.”

More by Alex Walls

Comments and questions

I am confused. So, what is the difference between Gen-I and IBM win? I thought all this while, Gen-I has Westpac contract and that Gen-I did not actually win anything but retain their existing business? I am confused

Mt Stephenson is not a man of vision so it is unlikely that this is a major change, nor that it has necessarily been well thought through. Gen-i and IBM have been service suppliers to Westpac for a long time.

Rather than hiding behind an alias, why don't you front up and tell Mr Stephenson your opinion to his face!? To be frank you sound like a real idiot and should think twice before posting your rubbish.

No, Ross is not a man of 'vision'. He is old school "show them and snow them" mentality - meaning, no adept management skills exist - it is all show and no do. Sorry Ross, that no longer cuts it in the NZ IT world - we have moved WAY beyond that thankfully. Profit from the tip here - truly develop yourself and move forward!

The Westpac decision to move to Gen-i's Tier III Data Centre in Airedale St was a win over IBM. Gen-i has a technically more advanced and more connected facility than IBM's place in East Tamaki. It is a major loss for IBM: now two Mainframe customers have their Primary Production with Gen-i; Air NZ and Westpac.

A great win for Gen-i taking business off IBM.

Nice to see a local company win business rather than a major USA compnay that probably doesn't know where NZ is.

So are they turning Highbrook into a carpark now? (haha!)

To be fair I think highbrook now has six half racks of equipment out there.... yup the rest could be a carpark

I wouldnt trust Big Blue to run my bath let alone my critical IT equipment.

Google Ross Stephenson in Auckland and what do ya get - nada - nothing. What does that say about an IT CIO? Nada.

Westpac in general is a low to no vision IT shop. You have to look at David Boyes there. In 1996 at the National bank, Boyes so stuffed-up their IT environment the Bank had to spend 30 million dollars to get out of the mess that Boyes created. In 2 years he had modified their Systematics canned software to the level of 75% custom code. Because of that the Bank could not quickly or affordably design and promote new products. Dead in the water IT-wise. Boyes of course decamped very shortly after the 30 million spend. So Mr. Boyes, what are you doing different at Westpac these days? Does not sound here like very much in the area of inventive, intuitive and visionary management.