Srikanth Karnakota, Head, Servers and Cloud Platform, Microsoft India, talks about how the cloud is impacting the various facets of the government business
The twin issues of privacy and security have become problematic when it comes to public cloud, but the notion of hybrid cloud is truly helping governments and the world. The difference is that while the public cloud has all the advantages, it also has necessary regulations in place, which prevents it from reaching its full potential. Hybrid is about giving control in a data center environment, which is solely run and managed by the user while also giving all the benefits of the public cloud.
An example of the implementation of the hybrid cloud is from the State of Barcelona. Almost a million tourists visit during the hosting of massive games, as a result, a lot of private data is generated, which cannot be put on the public cloud run by the State in a hybrid environment. So, they put on the social media platform, like facebook, twitter, etc., all information of the visitors coming in after integration with the login on a public cloud called Azure. But all the private data for its citizens is controlled by its own data centers.
The second aspect is about getting insights of the voluminous data. If we see any government department, there is a huge amount of data, some of which is digitised while some in analogue form. All the information has to be funnelled into insights, as insights tell you the right way to move forward. And, the public cloud is the best platform for the purpose.
In the healthcare department, pharmaceutical companies have to do clinical trials, which means a lot of private data, which can’t be run on a public cloud, as there are many regulations to be adhered to. But while computing in such a way in a matter of a few minutes, one can make provision of 3,000 servers to do high-performance computing and bring the workload back to the private environment, without compromising on privacy, security and all those concerns that come in. So, the solution is to run in a hybrid type of an environment.
The other option is to structure the unstructured data. Indian defence agencies track numerous voice calls that is unstructured data. What if one has to do video analytics? All this data is lying in an unstructured format today. Microsoft has been working on this issue with several governments worldwide, but we believe that India has a massive opportunity to bring this unstructured data in multiple clouds and structured data in government cloud, and be able to query them both to bring meaningful insights.
If the report of the Consumer Survey of India lying in some public cloud is matched with the retailers’ data, they produce fascinating results, which help the retailers make some decisions on the kind of programmes they are going to run.
The third aspect is how one enables faster and secure access of data. The public cloud is best suited for massive government-to-consumer (G2C) scenarios like PDS, education, healthcare, etc. But the moment department- to-department contracts are bought in where strict privacy and regulations are required, it is stored in the private cloud.
The hybrid cloud is built on the fundamental fabric of identity, security and management, wherein the core of that security layer lies in identity. So, basically, a person who has access to documents does not necessarily have access to the documents the boss has access to. And this system cuts across all clouds.
The fourth consideration is about which application to run where. Large enterprises are going through this problem today. Every Chief Information Officer that Microsoft talks to would tell us that I am not going to move every application to the cloud, I will move some to the public cloud, some to the private cloud and some to a third party data centre. But how do we run a framework where all the app categories are made simple? Break the public, private and hybrid cloud, so that the different application categories can be run in it, to be clear about where to run which workload.
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