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Govt planning data centres for states

Govt planning data centres for states
At a time, when private enterprises are only testing the waters around cloud computing, the central government has made a bold decision to migrate critical information infrastructure on the cloud.

The department of information technology is planning to set up a national cloud-based network that connects all state data centres, 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 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 on duplication of resources.

State data centres, built at a cost of Rs 4-5 crore each, are operational in about 16 states. UP, Punjab, Assam, Mizoram, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh are laggards , even as states in the south have fully-functional data centres.

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," said the draft tender put out by the Department of IT, last month.

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 the 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 Satyanarayana has come on board. The public cloud computing market in India is expected to grow at $685 million by 2014, according to 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 are being operated by the two firms.

"The IT department at center has been talking about setting up cloud computingbased 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 Centre for E-governance , Karnataka. "Once established, it'll be a big shift from our current PC culture, but we also need greater understanding of the data security challenges that could arise out of this."

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