The government cloud has everything – speed, economy, flexibility, and all comes at a reasonable cost, stresses Neeta Verma, Chief Executive Officer, National Institute of Smart Governance
After the years of experience we have of running government data centers, we basically focus on two things. One is that whatever architecture we work on has to be generic in design, so that we are able to integrate any cloud technology solution available in the market today or in the times to come, including the open source technologies, into it.
Secondly, it should be very simple for the government to use. Earlier, there was a cumbersome system of procurement – you have a requirement, you give it to the IT team, then there is an RFP… and so on. Now, if you go to procure the cloud services, you simply need to select as per your requirement and make the payment.
With that concept, we have built the cloud portal. To make the best use of the resources we have deployed, we have tried to segregate our infrastructure in a way so that different kinds of machines are of different redundancy. It is cost efficient, resource-efficient and simple to use. Operations in the portal are also simple. The first four operations are done once in a lifetime and the fifth operation is an address over the secure network. There is a dashboard on which you work. As we need to comply with the procedures of the government, identification of the user and things like that, all this has been built into it.
All this is available through a common portal. Everybody signs in whether it is a user or an administrator. But as you go, your requirements of authentication keep getting complex, depending on what kind of role you want to play on that cloud.
Our focus is more on SaaS. To begin with, we have the Government of India search, wherein anyone in the government can do a local custom search of any government website, there is no need to Google it. This is a common search platform which can be simply integrated as a service and already more than 200 government websites are using this service.
We have started an open data platform, and once completed, it is available for the central government. If any organisation or state government or district administration wants to launch its own data platform, it will have to simply fill in a few forms and also mention the theme, and the data plan goes live. It is already configured, optimised and secured, without complexities.
“We launched the cloud in February 2014, and as of today, we have requests for services from over 150 central and state entities, without any publicity“
Web analytics is a service we have been learning for quite some time, but recently we moved to the cloud, because its resource requirement is variable.
We launched the cloud in the first week of February 2014, and as of today, we received requests for availing the cloud from over 150 entities without any publicity. These requests are coming not only from the central government departments, but also state governments, municipal corporations and district administrations. We have got a couple of panchayat requests as well. So, this all shows the kind of interest and enthusiasm people have to use the cloud services. We have started doing workshops in seminars across various states to familiarise organisations and individuals with these things.
We are now telling our people and colleagues in the NIC and otherwise that if you develop any application, please develop an application which is cloud enabled. And, if you do not develop a cloud application, which has the characteristics to be scaled up and down, you will not be able to make any sense out of it.
The present mechanism is going to give effect a lot of innovations in the way government has been delivering.