Data Centre Consolidation

  • What is a data centre?

    A data centre is a facility in which organizations operate and manage their telecommunications networks, data processing systems and centralize their data storage. Data centre equipment, such as; servers, switches and mainframes may occupy a room, a floor or an entire building. To ensure that the operations and data are safe, data centres are equipped with fire detection and suppression systems; controls for temperature, humidity, and conditioned power, data backup systems and cyber security systems.

Shared Services Canada (SSC) is consolidating and modernizing the Government of Canada’s data centres based on an analysis of the government’s current and future requirements, in consultation with partner organizations and industry experts.

The objective in centralizing the management of data centres is to improve efficiency and security. SSC’s plan is to replace data centres across our partner organizations with 7 modern, secure, reliable centres. By leveraging the government’s purchasing power and buying common hardware and software products in volume, we expect ongoing service contract savings to be realized through consolidation and standardization. Reducing the number of data centres, eliminating duplication and standardizing processes will improve security and reduce risks related to vulnerabilities.

Data Centre Current State Data Centre End State
485 data centres Seven data centres
600,000 square feet 180,000 square feet
23,424 servers 14,369 servers
70 petabytes of storage 482 petabytes of storage

SSC will consolidate 485 government data centres into seven. These modern and efficient facilities will be designed to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of citizens, government and technology. This consolidation will reduce the government’s data centre footprint from 600,000 square feet to 180,000 square feet.

Pairing Data Centres

Data centres will be established in pairs that can back each other up in case of a failure. This will allow the continuity of important government applications. In keeping with industry best practices, the data centres in each pair will be located within about 100 kilometres of each other to minimize delays in data transmission and allow for instantaneous system back-ups.

Separate data centre pairs will be set up for “production” and “non-production” workloads. “Non-production” or development data centres are smaller data centres that offer a controlled environment where applications and systems are developed and tested before going live. Production data centres support active, live systems and applications. Also, a single stand-alone data centre facility that will house supercomputing services will be established for departments requiring scientific computing.

An initial slate of consolidation projects has already moved ahead, including the launch of projects to consolidate two data centres, to develop service contracts to support these data centres, and to establish a facility to house supercomputer services.

Selection of end state data centre locations is based on an objective assessment of the following factors: risk of severe weather and earthquakes; proximity to power utilities and vendor support; and the cost of power, property and construction.


Consultations with SSC’s partner organizations have revealed that end state data centres will need to deliver on five common requirements:

  • Capacity to process and store large volumes of complex data;
  • Stringent access controls and infrastructure that balances security and usability;
  • Ability to support business cycles of partner organizations with high peaks in demand, such as tax return processing;
  • Increased availability and back-up of systems that are critical to government business and service; and
  • Widespread access to modern telecommunications technologies to support operations around the world, including in remote areas.

In addition, the end state data centre configuration will need to meet the Government of Canada’s need for the storage and processing of data that is classified as secret.


In addition to reducing costs, consolidating and modernizing data centres and networks will increase the Government of Canada’s IT capacity, security and productivity. Renewing data centre and network infrastructure will improve physical and cyber security, and increase storage and bandwidth capacity to meet the Government of Canada’s future requirements for videoconferencing, online services and managing large data sets.