The Indian government has announced a plan to convert the data centres is currently building for each the country’s state governments into privately run private clouds.
In 2010, India launched its National e-Governance Plan to make government services available "to the common man" via the Internet. As part of the plan, it decided to build ‘state data centres’ for each of the country’s member states. So far, 16 state data centres have been built and most will be in place by the end of the year.
But in a new development to the scheme, the Indian government now wants these data centres to be run as private clouds by private companies.
"To address issues typically faced by different departments at the state, such as long IT infrastructure procurement cycles, under utilisation of resources, need for dynamic scalability, appropriate disaster recovery of applications and data and for simplifying IT infrastructure provisioning and availability to line departments … it would be required to leverage the benefits of cloud-enabled services in State Data Centre[s]," India’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DIT) said in a request for proposals (RFP) document issued last month.
"After having analysed the infrastructure at present provisioned in the [state data centres] and technology advancements, DIT has thus initiated the process for implementing a cloud-based service delivery model in each SDC, so that the IT infrastructure can be shared amongst multiple departments [t]hus making the SDC … a private cloud operated for state and to be managed by a third party."
The private clouds should be able to support automated scaling, "should ease infrastructure management, should be agnostic to the underlying hardware, storage, network, operating system, and hypervisor and should support open format for virtual machine images," the RFP asserts.
They "need to provide the ability for end customers to automatically provision the services via a web portal, provide metering and billing to provide service assurance for maintenance and operations activities performed by state teams," it says,
The move to the private clouds will be gradual, the RFP reveals, beginning with the deployment of cloud infrastructure on a "limited set of servers while retaining traditional data centre hosting models".
"This will enable the state to get exposure / confidence in building various levels of services that can be broadly classified into [IaaS, SaaS and PaaS]," it says,
According to a report in India’s Economic Times, "IT companies like HP, IBM, Cisco and Dell" have been invited to tender for the projects.
The UK government announced plans to consolidate its data centres in its IT strategy last year. It is as yet unclear how the data centre consolidation initiative will be linked to G-Cloud and G-Hosting, a forthcoming framework to allow government departments to procure traditional data centre hosting services.