New Delhi, Aug 13 : At a time, when private enterprises are only testing the waters around cloud computing, India's central government has made a bold decision to migrate critical information infrastructure on the cloud.
Department of information technology is planning to set up a national cloud based network that connects all state data centers which would make that the backbone of national e-governance plan, which when completed would deliver many government to citizen and government business services via the internet.
In effect, each of the 28 states and 7 union territories will now have a private cloud of their own. The Department of IT has invited proposals from IT companies like HP, IBM, Cisco and Dell to set up and maintain private clouds in each state. The move may cost the Centre less than Rs 100 crore, and will help the exchequer prevent wastage of money on duplication of resources.
State Data Centres built at a cost of Rs 4-5 crore each, are operational in about 16 states, with the rest lagging behind. UP, Punjab, Assam, Mizoram, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh are laggards, even as all states in the South have fully functional data centres, provisioning many public services online.
The move will save taxpayer's money and time, as IT resources like servers and storage will be shared amongst departments, and also provide elasticity and on demand services.
"SDC will now be operated as a Private Cloud for each State and will be managed by a third party," the draft tender put out by the Department of IT, last month.
Though India has woken up only now, other government have taken a lead. US was one of the first government's in the world to come out with a federal cloud strategy, which was invoked by CIO of the US Vivek Kundra in 2010-11. The Obama government has allocated $20 billion of the Federal Government's IT budget to migrate existing infrastructure on the cloud.
UK government has also come up with a G-cloud strategy for reduction in costs, and achieve 'economies of scale'.
An India-based e-governance official at a US based IT firm told ET that the company had been making presentations to the government for last six months, on cloud adoption, as other governments are adopting across the world. The official expects the final RFP to be out in 2-3 months, as the new IT Secretary J Satynarayana has come on board.
The public cloud computing market in India is expected to grow at $685 million by 2014, according to an independent research firm Zinnov Management Consulting.
US IT companies HP and IBM are expected to benefit the most, if India goes the cloud way, as most operational data centres have been built and being operated by the two firms.
As per Zinnov Consulting, the overall Indian market for Cloud is about $860-$912 million. Of this Public Cloud market comprises of only 20% share, while the remaining 78-80% is accounted by Private Cloud. Zinnov estimates Public Cloud market to grow to $685 million by 2014 in India.
"The IT department at center has been talking about setting up cloud computing based services for a while now but what remains to be seen is how fast these services will be set up," said Prof Sadagopan - Director of IIIT - Bangalore and Chairman - Core Committee Meeting at the Center for e-governance, Karnataka. "Once established, it'll be big shift from our current PC culture but we also need greater understanding of the data security challenges that could arise out of this."