Post about "Government"

Government Server Procurement Trends in China

With the advancement of e-government services and applications in China, demand for server products from government departments is on the increase. Most government network project tenders today would involve procurement of server products.Server applications in public service are mainly for departmental portals and intranets, used for functions such as Web, FTP, mail, video, database, OA, business applications, resources sharing, data centre and disaster recovery.Trend One: Energy efficiencyChina is now a big computer user country, so energy efficient computers will be an important factor for building an environmentally friendly country. In terms of server design and applications, energy efficiency would be an additional performance criterion besides reliability, manageability, expandability and usability.In this context, blade server products, developed with the latest multi-processor and low power consumption technologies, will become a mainstream product that competes with the rack servers in a few years’ time. In addition, server virtualisation technology has now become a means to improve hardware utilisation and management efficiency.In server procurements, government departments should choose highly energy-efficient CPUs, in order to reduce power wastage from cooling systems and improve overall computer energy efficiency. Other hardware configurations, such as memory, I/O and hard drives, should also take into account green and energy saving factors.Trend Two: Low cost maintenanceIf internal technical staff can deal with most daily maintenance of servers, a significant portion of server procurement costs can then be reduced in the public service sector of China.There are differences in aftermarket services between foreign and domestic server providers. Multinational brands such as IBM, HP and Dell can provide differentiated aftermarket services based on different user demands. Their service fees also vary among maintenance frequency and solution promptness.On the other hand, domestic computer companies, such as Lenovo, Inspur and Founder, all provide three-year service warranty for hard drive products, whether it’s entry-level products or complex server products. Most domestic providers also have the advantage of comprehensive service networks in many provinces of China.Trend Three: Domestic brands getting recognition With domestic software and system platforms maturing, there is also a trend for Chinese e-government services to adopt domestic information platforms.In recent years, Chinese domestic software systems have made significant achievements in core software technologies, such as operating systems, middleware, office software, information security, large-scale application software and embedded systems. Domestic servers provided by Dawning, Inspur, Lenovo, PowerLeader, Asus, Tsinghua Tongfang, etc. are now playing an increasingly important role in e-government services in China.From a national security perspective, it is necessary for government departments to move to a domestic server-dominant, foreign server-supplement position in the long term, in order to change from the currently embarrassing situation of reliance on foreign server products.Trend Four: Meeting e-government demands When choosing e-government software platform technologies, domestic and multinational providers have very different understanding of the situation. Multinational products are mostly infrastructure-framework types, which have few specific applications for e-government functions, while domestic providers and system integrators can normally provide e-government specific softwares. Therefore it is expected that there will be more and more hardware-software integrated server products which are tailored to specific e-government functions in China in the next few years.Trend Five: Diaster back-up Due to the escalating data volume and new service provision, governments in China are now facing the inevitable issue of ensuring data integrity, safety and reliability, as well as how to achieve data central management and a powerful, high-performing and reliable information storage platform. Many government departments in China have now completed the planning of disaster recovery systems and are onto the implementation phase.”Price Inquiry” and “Competitive Negotiation” Government procurement of IT products in China usually takes the model of “Price Inquiry” or “Competitive Negotiation”. Price Inquiry involves making price inquiries to the public via internet or other media platforms. In this process, the procuring party will send price inquiries to at least three suppliers, and choose the final winner based on project requirements, quality service contents and bid price.On the other hand, “Competitive Negotiation” allows procurement personnel to directly talk to at least three suppliers on issues such as price, design, technical specifications and service requirements, and make selection decisions based on pre-set standards.Competitive Negotiation can only be used in one of the four following situations: Lack of suitable bids for tenders; Complex technical issues and uncertain project specifications; Urgent demands; Inability to calculate project costs in advance.In terms of premium-grade servers such as microcomputers, the multinational dominance in China by IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems are now being challenged by Chinese domestic server providers. Because of the increasingly competitive server landscape, multinational server providers have cut down their product pricing in recent years. But for most procurement tasks involving high-end servers, many government departments in China still favour multinational brands.Provincial governments are now issuing annual procurement pricing limits on server brands, models and accessories. This could make the pricing of some entry-level PC servers even more transparent.