Government gets cloud-ready with GI Cloud

The Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) recently unvieled GI Cloud, a national cloud initiative to help the government leverage cloud computing for effective delivery of e-Governance services.

The project will support the implementation of the National e-Governance Plan of India (NeGP) and thus, aims to create a private cloud environment for the use of government departments and agencies at the center and state levels.

If DeitY is to be believed, the adoption of cloud computing will accelerate the delivery of e-services to citizens, and support other objectives such as increasing standardisation, interoperability and integration, pooling of scarce and underused resources, and the spread of best practices.

The decision has come at a time when the industry is already transitioning to the cloud. Certainly the move will speed up the development and roll out of e-governance applications while increasing government ICT efficiency.

The DeitY has also released a roadmap to GI Cloud, assessing the ICT infrastructure currently in place in India and defining an implementation plan for GI Cloud. The roadmap underlines that cloud computing environments will be established at the national and state levels, starting with one National Cloud, using new and existing data centers. The National Cloud will be able to provide services such as computing, storage and network infrastructure, backup and recovery, and application development, supported by the State Clouds.

In addition, the department says that a GI Cloud Services Directory will be created to help public sector organizations find and subscribe to relevant services. The government’s AppStore will host both cloud and non-cloud enabled applications which can easily be customized to meet the needs of different organizations.

The first step defined for the implementation of GI Cloud is the establishment of an ‘Empowered Committee’ to provide strategic and regulatory guidance to DeitY and other stakeholders. DeitY will publish guidelines and standards for the security, application development, service delivery, contract management, and pricing and procurement for GI Cloud.

The roadmap specifies that detailed studies of the existing infrastructure capacity at the government data centers and the requirement for infrastructure and applications need to be conducted for effective implementation of GI Cloud.

In addition, the roadmap lists potential challenges that can come up during the development of GI Cloud. For example, issues around security and interoperability could act as a hindrance towards cloud adoption. There may be a shortage of technical competency to manage the cloud environment. Traditional procurement norms will need to be aligned for cloud. However, the document declares that the government will be able to address these concerns through the various initiatives taken within GI Cloud.

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