Macquarie launches $17M sovereign Government data centre in Canberra


Macquarie Data Centres and Macquarie Government, part of Macquarie Telecom Group have opened the latest facility in the company’s secure data centre portfolio – Intellicentre 5 (IC5) – in Canberra, purpose-built to house the most highly classified Australian Government workloads.

The $17 million ‘bunker’ data centre is a product of a record year for Macquarie, during which the company invested over $100 million into the construction of secure, sovereign Australian data centres in Sydney and Canberra, after pioneering the industry 20 years ago. The IC5 construction alone supported over 400 construction and related industry roles in the ACT.

IC5 expands Macquarie’s sovereign data centre footprint in Canberra, providing a fully sovereign ecosystem in terms of supply chain, staff, and data access and storage. Alongside Macquarie’s adjacent Intellicentre 4 (IC4), the new facility offers further capacity for Government cloud workloads and an additional secure facility to back up data.

The combined 4-megawatt (MW) facilities leverage the latest physical and virtual security and compliance credentials to manage highly classified Government cloud workloads. These include being a Tier IV, SCEC Zone 5 ready data centre, supported by over 150 NV1 government-cleared engineers – including in its 24x7x365 support centre – a 25 per cent increase in cyber security engineers since construction commenced in July 2020.

“Data and cloud demand has skyrocketed as the pandemic continues to bring forward years’ worth of IT and digital transformation projects[1],” said David Hirst, Group Executive, Macquarie Data Centres. “Ensuring that data remains secure, sovereign and within Australia’s borders is vital to protecting our national security and privacy interests – this facility embodies that need in every way.”

The launch follows the on-time and on-budget completion of IC5 in December 2020 despite unprecedented challenges including COVID-19 lockdowns, travel restrictions, and record rainfall in Canberra during October. The project also contrasts with the overall decline in data centre infrastructure spend last year, which research has found reduced by 10.4 per cent in 2020[2].

Macquarie worked with Australian construction company Manteena on IC5, leveraging its unique expertise in designing and constructing secure, complex infrastructure for Government agencies including the Australian Department of Defence and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Last year, Macquarie became the first Australian sovereign cloud service provider (CSP) certified to work with Defence through the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP).

The build involved four kilometres of underground electrical conduit, 15 tons of copper in the main cables, and generators powerful enough to run 400 homes.

Manteena formed part of Macquarie’s all-Australian supply chain responsible for the design, build and fit out of the data centre. This supply chain included Queanbeyan company SRA Solutions, which provided data centre racks for IC5.

IC5 has also been fitted with a five-ton solar rooftop installation to maximise energy efficiency and use of renewable energy in the facility’s operations. The data centre will maintain an industry leading power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio of 1.35, and leverage state-of-the-art cooling technology, further enhancing its environmental efficiency.

The data centre is a boon for Macquarie’s Government business, which already supports more than 42 per cent of Australian Federal and State government agencies and personnel with cyber security, secure internet gateway (SIG) and cloud services.

“Government agencies cannot risk having all their data eggs in one basket,” said Aidan Tudehope, Managing Director, Macquarie Government. “Canberra needs greater diversity in its balance of data storage, protection and management, and the Australian Government wants greater competition in the local market that supports Government agencies. IC5 is not just welcome, but necessary infrastructure for Government agencies that are increasing their cloud and IT needs.”

IC5 will continue to bring new jobs and vital skills, including graduate roles, in areas such as engineering and cyber security.