‘Meghraj Cloud’ the foundation of Digital India

The Government of India and the Department of Technology has realized the importance of cloud and why the Government needs to take Cloud so seriously, furthermore, why it is so important for Digital India.

Digitization has now become a top priority for the Government of India and the importance of cloud has been understood very well. All these years government was making huge capital investment in the infrastructure, eventually only 5% or a maximum 8% was utilized of the overall infrastructure or the software’s that were purchased leaving almost 92% underutilized. A lot of capital was unnecessarily squandered by the government. This situation was not only with the Government, but observed across enterprises, banks, telecoms etc. Most of the infrastructure which is procured, is always underutilized. It is because of this that Cloud started gaining popularity some 10 years back.

Public cloud was introduced to the world when an e-commerce giant launched its own in-house developed platform. The Public cloud deployment worked very well in the United States and other western countries, as most of their applications and databases were designed to work effortlessly on horizontal scaling as well as on the load balancing platform. Their major focus was on internet services, different e-commerce applications, databases etc.  These types of services could only work on load balancing environment due to the scale and need for thousands of virtual machines for a specific application, thus leading to the popularity of cloud in the western countries.

The Indian e-commerce giants as well as Indian internet companies also started following the western trend and opted for the cloud platform. Public cloud consequently started gaining huge popularity in the Indian virtual market as well. Different internet businesses such as e-commerce, startups were hugely benefited as it drastically helped in cutting down the investment in IT infrastructure and the software. These Internet companies were in a position to procure and use resources only when they required them instantly, they were now free from the burden of planning for the next 3/5/7 years and then buy the hardware. The trend of buying the hardware based on the sizing for next 5 years or 7 years still continues in India till today amongst other Verticals. More than 95% of the organisations in India be it Government, Private or Semi-Government continue to buy infrastructure based on the sizing and planning for next 5-7 years.  We need to understand one thing here, who determines this sizing for such Enterprises or Non-Internet companies? One can be the system Integrator who has been appointed to deploy your software program, database or applications OR it can be done by a few well-recognized consultants. Most of the time the sizing provided by the specialists is ACTUALLY over-sized. One might not require that kind of infrastructure at that particular period of time. While doing the sizing for the next 5 years, it is assumed that every year the efficiency of the compute power you buy will shrink by 20% -30% and year-by-year it will go on shrinking. Assuming this scenario the allotted infrastructure should be efficient even after 4-5 years and by default it is assumed that the organization will grow by minimum 35% Y-o-Y, no one considers recession or slowdown while planning for 5-7 years in India :-). This methodology leads to over-sized infrastructure deployment & procurement. Cash rich and high profit-making organizations like the Oil companies have been buying hardware and software 50 times over-sized compared to what actually they need.

Let us assume that you invest in an infrastructure worth Rs 1 crore, but you may not require that quantity of infrastructure today; you may require that after maybe 4 years. While today you may just require capacity worth just Rs 1 Million, but to avoid migration or face downtime in coming 5 years, you end-up buying infrastructure that costs 10 times more. The peak time and the buffer are also to be maintained so that the maximum users who would connect, let’s say in the afternoon time between 2 P.M to 3 P.M would be the peak load.  The maximum Load of report generation, the MIS reports which will be generated is to be managed. For all this a very oversized infrastructure is deployed.

Shift from G2G to G2C

We cannot go ahead with the same model of buying over-sized and unwanted hardware and Enterprise software in the future, because now the Government is moving from G2G i.e. Government-to-government service model to Government-to-Citizen i.e. G2C. When we talk about Government-to-citizen, India being a country of more than 1 billion people, it is extremely difficult to do the sizing of infrastructure. Integrators or consultants who are specialized in sizing and have been following the same methodology, cannot do it in the same traditional way as it’s difficult to predict how many citizens would be accessing your application. When we have such a situation there is no way we can work out any oversized infrastructure be it on-premise datacenter or the non-virtual environment or even a virtualized environment.

This has become very interesting now as to overcome these situations it has become important for The Government of India or any enterprise such as telecom, banks etc. need to take cloud very seriously.

What Cloud is going to work in India?

Can there be a similar impact of cloud on Indian virtual market as that was on the American market.  Is the architecture of our applications, databases similar to the architecture of western regions or to the e-commerce companies or internet companies?

 The answer would be NO.

The architecture is completely different, till date we are still on legacy applications and enterprise databases. So we need to figure out best-suited cloud platforms for these applications and databases. It’s a tricky challenge for the government of India right now to identify what is going to work under which circumstances. Analyzing the cloud offerings from different regions, understanding what top 8 to 10 cloud service providers around the globe are offering or understanding the methodology adopted by top 5 cloud service providers in India is very important. After reviewing the different providers, POC on them should be performed. cloud platforms should be subjected to test environments and then identifying which one is going to work for which kind of applications. There would be some G2C applications that would work on open source softwares and they may use open source databases. For such kind of applications and databases, simple automated software defined load balancing would be the most appropriate Cloud solution. If we consider SAP ERP kind of environment ,enterprise database and other legacy applications, then the cloud requirement would be different.

Digital India program has generated a lot of interest in the citizens and proves to be a promising platform.

The digital landscape of India will increase by minimum 100 times by 2019 leading to huge opportunities for everyone in India, which will add a lot of value to the GDP of the country, this will be purely due to shift from G2G over to G2C Digital model. If we target 9% GDP over the next 3-4 years’ time, Digital India will play a vital role in achieving this GDP target. But to achieve all this, cloud should play a very significant role. Every decision that government takes which is related to cloud computing should be absolutely correct. If any decision goes wrong and if cloud fails in digital India program, we might face some serious challenges ahead. Without cloud, success of Digital India is highly impossible.

Average Utilization of IT Infrastructure in India is below 8%

We have seen utilization of infrastructure of many government organizations as well as of various private organizations. The infrastructure which they deploy is oversized. Whatever compute power they buy upfront, in such organizations hardly 2% of the infrastructure is utilized in first 3 years. Such a huge investment. Sometimes the investment which is made by such organizations on their on-premise data center is worth more than a Rolls Royce.  Probably no one in the company owns a luxury car which is amongst top 4 or 5 car brands in the world, but investment which goes on the on-premise data center is worth more than a Rolls Royce. same thing happened with few government initiatives in the past, as the investment in many of the on-premise Data Centers failed for various reasons.

We have seen something similar happening with the diamond industry as well. 5 years ago when the market was in favor of the diamond merchants, they were investing crores in their IT infrastructure. The same diamond merchants today are running same workloads on a VPS or cloud virtual machine, which costs them around 4000 to 5000 rupees per month. So the question arises why they invested so much of capital back then, if they would have saved that amount of money, today they would have been able to utilize that money in a much better way.

Government will save 90% of the Cost with success of Meghraj

However,  It’s good that government and few private sectors have learnt from mistakes  which were made in the past. As the saying goes “Better late than never”, now we know in which direction we should head in achieving success for Digital India. This is the reason why cloud has been considered important by the government of India. Cloud is going to play an extremely important role in shaping Digital India. If we compare the on-premise IT investment or the non-virtualized or just virtualized infrastructure  investment, Cloud is going to help the government save at least 90% of the capital. If we talk about 90% savings compared to owning infrastructure in the on-premise data center or the state data center, the capital that one can save is going to be massive.

Exciting time awaits for the new generation, as success of Digital India will create employment opportunities for Millions of people.

Happy times coming soon :-)

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