Government of Canada Data Centres

Canadians rely on government programs and services such as benefits payments, border security and weather forecasting. These services are delivered through computer applications, similar to the type Canadians might have on their smart phones and home computers, except more powerful.

To deliver those services safely and without interruption, the Government of Canada must provide a modern, reliable and secure information technology (IT) infrastructure. IT infrastructure refers to the hardware, software, networks and facilities necessary to develop, test, deliver, monitor, control and support IT services.

Shared Services Canada (SSC) houses this infrastructure within data centres.

What a data centre is

Federal departments and agencies depend on data centres to help them protect the safety, security and well-being of Canadians 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Data centres operate and manage:

  • telecommunications networks
  • data processing systems
  • centralized data storage
  • data centre equipment, such as servers, network switches and mainframes

SSC operates two types of data centres:

Legacy data centres

Older facilities that serve individual departments or a cluster of departments. These were rarely built to be data centres, but evolved based on organizational needs.

Enterprise data centres

Newer, larger, state-of-the art facilities that serve the entire federal government. They are designed to eliminate the need for planned maintenance shutdowns.

Bonus byte

  • SSC has more than 150 petabytes of data for 43 Government of Canada departments and agencies
  • fifty percent of that storage is at the end of its useful life
  • fifty petabytes of data storage is enough to hold all of the written works ever produced by humankind, in all languages

Data centre consolidation initiative

SSC is undertaking the largest and most complex modernization of IT services in Canadian history. Data centre consolidation is a huge part of this modernization.

As part of this initiative, SSC is:

  • consolidating over 700 legacy data centres into fewer enterprise data centres
  • reducing the Government of Canada carbon footprint by reducing data centre space and establishing state-of-the-art data centres with built-in green technology and energy efficiency
  • leveraging faster, better, and more secure technology to protect against physical and cyber threats

When SSC began operations in 2011, the exact number of data centres was not fully defined. As SSC evolved, it discovered many smaller data centres that were scattered across the country. Of our over 700 data centres located across Canada, close to 90% are simple rooms in office buildings.

SSC has closed more than 120 data centres to date and continues to close aging data centres and migrate applications and data to newer, more secure enterprise data centres.

Established Enterprise Data Centres

Enterprise Data Centre Borden

In September 2018, the Government of Canada officially opened  Enterprise Data Centre (EDC) Borden for business. This facility is a result of a 25-year, $322 million public-private partnership contract awarded to UIP GP to design, build, finance, operate and maintain EDC Borden. This facility:

  • provides additional physical space and growth potential and is equipped with modern, energy-efficient power distribution and cooling systems
  • increases the Government of Canada’s physical and cyber security posture
  • is designed to be a silver standard, green building with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED)Footnote 1

Enterprise Data Centre Gatineau

SSC signed a contract for up to 25 years with Bell Canada to provide the Government of Canada with this commercially-owned-and-operated data centre facility.

Enterprise Data Centre Barrie

SSC signed a contract for up to 25 years with IBM Canada to provide the Government of Canada with this commercially-owned-and-operated data centre facility.

Enterprise Data Centre in the works

Enterprise Data Centre Montréal

SSC is in the process of procuring data centre services in the Montréal area. Enterprise Data Centre (EDC) Montréal will house mostly Government of Canada science-related workloads and applications.

Cloud services

SSC offers public cloud computing services for its customers. Cloud improves services to Canadians by increasing the responsiveness, flexibility, and value for money of the applications used to deliver programs and services. Currently, cloud services handle unclassified data only, which can include storing publicly accessible collections, such as archived material, government-generated open data, and big data sets generated by the scientific community.

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