IBM Canada has won a multi-year contract to provide and manage one of the new data centres the federal government needs as it consolidates IT infrastructure under its Shared Services program.

IBM’s Barrie, Ont., data centre building, which was opened in 2012, will house some of the federal IT infrastructure as the government squeezes 485 data centres into seven by 2020. This contract dealt only with the physical space. IBM will not be providing servers, storage or networking.

It will be the third of the new enterprise data centres the government is moving into. Public Works Minister Dianne Finley said Tuesday that a government-owned centre at Canadian Forces Base Borden, Ont., just opened. The IBM Barrie centre will backup that facility. The first of the new federal data centres, provided and built by Bell Canada, opened last November in Gatineau, Que.

There will actually be 13 enterprise data centres: Six will be paired as backups to one another, while one will be dedicated for high performance computing.

So far SSC has closed 10 data centres, with another 47 set to shut this year.

Bob Wylie, IBM Canada’s vice-president for ITS services, said in an interview that Ottawa will have separate and secure space within the Barrie facility that other customers cannot access. The entire facility currently has 25,000 sq. ft. of capacity, which can be expanded to 100,000 sq. ft.

IBM was selected through a competitive procurement process launched in February 2014.

The government says that combined with other initiatives the consolidation will reduce total annual data centre operating expenses by approximately $99 million by 2020.

“There’s never been a more important time for industry and government to share best-practices as Canada continues this important transformation and adapts to new trends like cloud, big data, mobile and social computing,” David Anthony, director, IBM’s federal public sector business in Canada, said in a news release.