Interview

We Want the Government to Work on Next Phase of NeGP : Jaijit Bhattacharya, Country Director, Government Strategy, Sun Microsystems India Pvt. Ltd.

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How  is Sun  Microsystems  positioned  to support the IT initiatives  of  the various governments  in India?
Sun Microsystem is a technology leader in the area of computing solutions. In India, we excel in delivering the technology solutions for large and complex IT projects. When you pick up the phone, 90% of the time, the traffic goes through Sun technology. We believe that governments in India would require extreme scalability that would beat the requirements of even the telecom industry. As you would know, the telecom Industry in India is the fastest growing in the world. However, governments would face far greater pressures to deliver on technology. Since Sun’s core competence is to consistenly innovate to deliver cutting edge solutions, we are extremely well positioned to support the IT initiatives of the Governments in India. In fact, we are ahead by two to three years from our competition in most areas related to datacenters and computer technology. We have been consistently working with the governments in India at all levels, starting from the local level such as Kalyan Dombiville Municipal Corporation to complex central government initiatives such as customs and taxes. We have also entered into a memorandum of understanding with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi to setup the Center for Excellence in e-Governance in IIT Delhi that will work on creating technologies for governments in India that do not exist as of now. Recently, we presented the e-Governance vision to legislators of a north eastern state, led by their Chief Minister. We believe such initiatives help in capacity building with legislators. As I had mentioned earlier, we are working closely with governments at all levels.

Given  the  indepth  experience  that Sun  Microsystems  has  in delivering  e-Governance  solutions  globally, what  is  your  advice  for the Governments  in India?
We have been involved with the most demanding e-Governance projects in the world. However, the complexities of e-Governance in  India  are of completely different kind.

Fortunately, the Government of India has come out with one of the finest and most comprehensive e-Governance plan in the form of the National e-Governance plan or as popularly called as NeGP. NeGP forms the guiding principle for e-Governance in India. We strongly believe that NeGP is the perfect strategic roadmap for e-Governance in the country. However, the challenge will be to translate the vision to reality through an organisation that is still undergoing capacity building at a rapid pace. The government may want to consider using e-Learning for capacity building for the various stakeholders, including the citizens. Also, governments may want to innovatively address the issue of lack of capacity by using innovative mechanisms such as having large centralised implementations, which would conserve on human resource skills that are hard to get.

We would also want the government to start working on the next phase of NeGP by working on what we would like to call as eGov 2.0 that would be able to leverage technology to deliver services that are normally not delivered through regular brick and mortar mechanisms.

As  the  largest  open  source  software  vendor, how  would  Sun  Microsystems  contribute  to the  e-Governance  ‘revolution’  in this  country?
Sun Microsystems is a pioneer in open source software and we believe that open source software is an important option that is necessary to have, in order to provide a more equitable access to governance.

Time and again, we have noticed that e-Governance solutions developed for the people are on non-standard technologies which eliminate the option to use open source softwares such as Mozilla, Firefox, etc. This in turn also creates an ecosystems that is inimical to the use of other popular key open source softwares such as Open Solaris, Linux etc.

We feel that the government has an important role in furthering the ecosystem that supports the option of open source software that allows the ‘common man’ to access the IT enabled government services without paying an indirect ‘tax’ to vendors of proprietary softwares.

Sun Microsystem is in the forefront of supporting any government in its initiatives of introducing an equitable standards based e-Governance ecosystems. In fact, we promote what we call Standards based, Unified and Networked government or SUN government in short.

Sun Microsystems has in fact gone a step further and has also open sourced one of the planet’s most powerful microprocessor, the Sparc. The design of the chip is now in public domain and is called the Open Sparc. We believe that such initiatives from Sun will not only bring down the cost of e-Governance, but will also democratise access to information technology in the country.

Sun  Microsystems  is a pioneer  in the area of energy efficient Information Systems. How  relevant  is  energy  efficiency  for e-Governance  in India?
The government’s vision is to provide access to computers to all its citizens. Last year alone, 6.4 million PC’s and laptops were sold in India. Each of the PC’s and laptops consume roughly 200 W of electricity that translates to roughly 1.3 GW of electricity. This is equivalent to power generated by almost 3 nuclear power plants. And yet it represents computer penetration to a miniscule incremental number of new computer users  in the country. So if for providing access to computing to only 0.6% of the additional population, it requires three new nuclear power plants to be set up, you can calculate the energy impact when say 10% of the population is using PC’s and laptops. Now add to the above the power consumed by large datacenters such as the proposed State Datacenters, especially when they start scaling up. The traditional designs of datacenters will not scale up and work in India and the systems will start collapsing due to lack of power.

Sun Microsystems engineering excellence and leadership on systems that sip power and gulp data, is precisely built for tackling the kind of power constrained scalability that countries such as India will face. It is imperative that we factor in power considerations while designing the state datacenters and other such large IT initiatives of the government.

In fact, according to industry sources, 41% of Fortune 500 IT executives cite power/cooling as a major problem. Increasingly companies are facing datacenter space constraints, over stretched power and cooling infrastructures and the exploding cost of energy. These issues are compelling companies to rise to the  situation and look at the environmental impact of their electricity use and thus take actions to minimise their global impact and environmental footprint.

Since you mentioned State Datacenters, what are the challenges related to data center management?
Currently power and cooling are on top of the mind of any data center manager. Every advancing technology stresses on power and cooling infrastructure, floor space, IT budgets and resource skills to maintain uptime for business critical applications. This will be even more relevant for India as the scale of IT infastructure will be something that has no precedence as the populations that the infrastructure will serve is one of the largest in the world.

Also, Data centers represent a significant portion of a typical IT budget. So, designing, installing and maintaining a data center investment has never been more important. To drive mission critical applications, a datacenter should be designed strategically to lower  total cost of ownership, support future growth, reduce risk of downtime, maximise performance and improve ability to configure.

As the network continues to explode, the importance of a data center is  on the rise. Our 25 over years strong background in datacenter experience and expertise has helped us to understand the market trend and evolve our strategy in tandem,  to lead the market in data center mangement and meet and exceed customer expectations.Today companies across the globe are striving to make their business and technology infrastructure energy efficient and eco friendly. Armed with this knowledge  our data center strategy revolves around eco effeciency and enabling our customers to make their business green. We have chalked out plans which will have measurable impact on the customers business, enabling them to quickly cut costs and C02 emissions and save money.

As part of this strategy, this year, we launched our new Eco Innovation initiative program worldwide to offer new and existing customers solutions that address the growing issues of limited power, space, and energy, in a climate of increasing demand for performance and utilisation. This initiative has set the stage for Sun to put a stake in the ground as an industry leader offering proven, measurable, and compelling solutions for datacenters worldwide. The Sun Eco Innovation Initiative provides customers a simple, clear, actionable way to engage Sun’s innovative, open Eco products, expertise, partners and community to use less energy in their datacenter, reduce IT footprint and minimise operating costs.

In addition, we offer complete end-to-end energy efficient solutions combining products and services, to recycling and disposal. This comprehensive portfolio of products which includes innovative technology such as CMT/CoolThreads technology, storage VTL, Sun Rays and Solaris 10 speak volumes about our unmatched eco innovative product range that can help a customer to run an energy efficient and high performance datacenter.

Locally, we recently forged an alliance with four industry leaders to form SEED – Sun Eco Enterprise Datacenter. The six industry leaders include APC-MGE, AMD, Wipro, and HDS.  This initiative is a community of like-minded companies who have come together with best practices, tools and expertise that can help improve the energy and economic efficiency of the customer. Each partner brings their expertise to this alliance, and the customer can benefit at a single platform instead of approaching each of the vendors separately. The alliance will approach the customer’s datacenter issues holistically. Our objective is clear – we want to provide an end-to-end solution to provide energy efficient datacenters solution to Indian companies.
 
What  is  Sun  offering  to  governments  seeking  green  datacenter?
Sun’s eco offering is based on the philosophy of Assess, Optimise and Virtualise. We offer  governments a comprehensive data center assessment to establish a baseline of existing conditions, identify areas in need of improvement, and develop plans to optimise energy usage, cooling and general environmental conditions that can impact both operational costs and reliable service.

Moreover we also provide governments  access to an open, comprehensive portfolio of the most energy efficient eco products in the market, proven expertise, as well as partners and communities. Sun’s offering help governments immediately improve economic and energy efficiency by as much as 60%, pack the same compute power in as little as 1/4 the space, and increase utilisation by as much as 85% – without requiring an army of consultants.

In addition, Sun also  offers governments consolidated Eco expertise and a robust partner community to help  find simple ways to get started, and get results. But perhaps most unique, Sun shares its knowledge freely, by making information and technology available to others so that we can all move forward and participate in an increasingly sustainable way.

In September ’07, Sun founded OpenEco.org, the first-ever open web community where organisations can calculate, compare and reduce their CO2 emissions free of charge. In the age of MySpace and Facebook, OpenEco.org allows organisations of all kind to address climate change through a social network devoted to CO2 reduction. 

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