Editor : Martin Simamora, S.IP |Martin Simamora Press

Rabu, 23 November 2011

e-Government and the Cloud

Comparing Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud Computing Options

Why governments are looking at moving services to the Cloud, out of their own internal systems and networks to the Cloud, what the challenges are in that move and what also the drivers are for that move. So, just starting off, the reason that governments and also enterprises as well are looking at moving services to the Cloud is to lower costs. They see that moving services into a shared, onto a shared infrastructure will reduce the cost base, allow them to react more flexibly and elastically to demands from citizens and demand for those services, also improving the types of public service and the range of public services that are available to citizens.

So, for example, information that previously could not be accessed by citizens such as census data, economic data or land data can now be accessed via a Cloud-based service. And also looking across different government departments to aggregate that information and enable more detailed analysis around information. 

And again make that available to citizens for their use, and also internally to the government department for their use. And finally a bit Big Brother-esque is to look at gaining more insight into their citizens in what they are doing, how they are interacting with the government, how they are interacting with each other and any trends that may be emerging that they need to examine. 

So the drivers that governments are seeing for moving services and also infrastructure in the Cloud are very similar to the drivers that enterprises are seeing. And some of the challenges and decisions that they will have to face are also quite similar. So, looking at the decisions and the challenges, and the decisions and challenges labelled on this are the wrong way round. 

The decisions that need to be made are around the choice of services that are going to be migrated into the Cloud, the choice of model that’s going to be used to deploy those services, and the rate and extent of that migration. 

Do they go quickly to the Cloud, migrate from a CapEx model to an OpEx model as quickly as possible, and meet those benefits early, or do they delay the migration, get a little bit more comfort on some of the challenges that they will face and deploy in a more phased fashion? And on the challenges one of the things that’s been touched on quite in-depth in the previous two sessions has been around data ownership governance and security of that information when it is moved to the Cloud.

That raises a few particular challenges that we’ll just touch on here, not to the level of technical detail that we had earlier, but just to raise some of the challenges and hopefully get a bit of a discussion going. Another challenge, of course, is on the interoperability side across departments and with legacy applications that aren’t Cloud-based. If you’re moving some services into the Cloud and some infrastructure into the Cloud but not all of it, then you’ll face interoperability challenges. 

And finally, particularly in emerging markets such as some of the markets in Asia-Pac you do find that an availability of infrastructure as being an issue. So if you’re looking at moving government services and government infrastructure into the Cloud that has to cover national boundaries rather than regional or urban areas. And that often makes it difficult because of the lack of fixed line infrastructure, and the need to rely on wireless infrastructure in these markets. And again we’ll just touch on that later on. 

So just moving into some of the decisions that need to be made around the deployment model, I suspect most people in the room know this already but there are three broad types of Cloud service. There is infrastructure as a service, there is platform as a service and there is software as a service. They are some new variations of those three emerging now. 

There’s data as a service, communication as a service and also network as a service emerging, just slight variations on theme. So the type of model that a government is looking to deploy will depend on the types of services their looking to move into the Cloud. 

Typically, if its infrastructure based it’s around data storage, data aggregation and access to processing power on a flexible basis. If you look at more software as a service it’s delivering those services to citizens, and also perhaps moving their own internal email systems, internal CRM and HR systems and so on into the Cloud. 

In terms of the types of Cloud that can be deployed, again something that probably most people in the room are aware of. There are four broad types there is the private Cloud which is often seen as an extension of the existing on-premise solution. It’s a single tenant solution. It’s, in terms of security and privacy and so on, its viewed as being a little bit more secure and private than other variations of the Cloud, so perhaps a safe bet for organisations and government departments that are concerned about those aspects in particular

Public Cloud’s are more open, typically shared access to infrastructure, shared infrastructure [if you] get economies of scale coming in there, typically managed and owed by the provider rather than by the entity deploying services into the Cloud. And this is often used by SMEs and start-ups as a way to lower the entry costs for them coming into business. 

Typically not at the moment something that governments are particularly focusing on for some of the more secure and privacy focused data and information that have, but something that governments are actually quite interested in, in terms of economies and scale and the flexibility that, that gives them. 

The next one is community Cloud’s which is a sort of extended private Cloud where it serves multiple users with very similar requirements and needs. And often you actually find that governments and government agencies fall into this category and often find community Cloud’s quite interesting, because it gives them an extension of a private Cloud, greater economies of scale without perhaps some of the security concerns that crop up in a public Cloud

And then finally hybrid Cloud’s where you have a mix of private and the public Clouds, save for the private cloud used for a lot of internal systems and public Cloud perhaps used for [off-site] back up and so on. So drilling into some actual specific examples of what governments have been doing around moving services to the Cloud, and also their own infrastructure into the Cloud. 

The US has been very forceful in their stated intent to move services into the Cloud, government services into the Cloud. And the CIO recent Federal Cloud Computing Strategy it was published around January or February of this year, specifically stated that there would be a Cloud burst approach for government departments from that point on, so they would look to deploy applications and services into the Cloud rather than on dedicated infrastructure. 

And they’ve also provided a range of case studies of existing departments and agencies that have deployed services into the Cloud that other agencies can look at to learn from the challenges that they faced and the approaches that they’ve adopted to overcome those challenges. And within that Cloud computing strategy they set out a decision framework for how to migrate services into the Cloud, to make sure that those services are migrated smoothly and efficiently and for the best benefit in terms of cost and service level for the citizens and also for the government departments. 

It’s a three stage process, the first stage is to select which services are to be migrated, looking at Cloud readiness and Cloud that takes into account whether those services are ready to be migrated to the Cloud in terms of interoperability, availability of suitable Cloud-based applications and so on, and the value that will be gained in migrating those services to the Cloud in terms of cost savings or additional services for citizens and so on. 

And then it goes through the different stages of then provisioning those services and then managing those services. And as well as the US there are a number of other markets that are looking at similarly migrating a lot of government infrastructure and government services into the Cloud, and offering e-Government services that way. 

There are some examples up here, it’s certainly not an exhaustive list, a quick search on Google and around a few government websites will yield a few more hits. The UK has got a very clear statement again around using the public Cloud first with a private government Cloud in place for government services that aren’t suited to the public Cloud. And their also undergoing a consolidation of government-owned data centres to bring that all into one common data centre rather than having fragmentation there to reduce costs and to save costs there. 

That’s quite similar to the approach the Singapore Government is using. Again, they’ve stated their going to use public Cloud if appropriate with a whole of government private [G] Cloud available where security and governance needs imply that public Cloud is not the place to put those services. And they also actually allow the individual agencies to deploy and operate their own private Clouds, but can interoperate with this whole of government G Cloud. 

Again, if there are security and governance concerns that mean that, that particular agency would like their own private Cloud rather than using a shared Cloud. So the private G Cloud in Singapore is very similar to the community Cloud that I mentioned earlier, it’s a shared Cloud across government departments to use.

We also have examples in Japan of across-department collaboration in a nation-wide cross-department collaboration, and interoperability among local governments collaboration for the Cloud as well, so their very keen on Cloud deployment, deployment of e-Gov services. 

India’s unique identification initiative is going to be deployed in the Cloud to address some of the computing and processing challenges that they see emerging from that. And similarly the European Commission in Thailand have looked at moving quite a few services into the Cloud to save costs and improve interaction with citizens. 

Just pulling down into some of the challenges that the different governments and different agencies see, there was a survey carried out, again started this year by InformationWeek India. I don’t know if we’ve got anybody in the room from that magazine, but if we do then thank you very much for this information. 

The main concern raised by the public sector in terms of Cloud computing challenges is very much around security of systems and data, so something that fits very well with the discussion this morning around there are loss of — the perceived loss of control of that data if it moves into a Cloud-based infrastructure, how they ensure that, that information is secure, how they ensure that people can’t get access that shouldn’t have access to it and so on. 

And you see a very rapid drop down the different challenges that are seen there by the public sector. Again the compatibility with legacy applications and processes is raised as an issue. And then you’re into more cultural resistance within the IT department, perhaps looking to protect some of the jobs there as well, going into lack of expertise and experience all the way down to the difficulty that is seen, again within enterprises and government, around actually establishing a business case for the Cloud migration. 

So in terms of overcoming some of those challenges, not looking into great detail on the technical side of things, in some ways that is an issue for the vendors to address,we’ve had some good presentations this morning on that, and I’m sure there will be more discussion on that in the rest of the sessions. 

In terms of the security and governance and privacy of the data one option is to use private Clouds in the short term or where there are concerns over putting information into the public Cloud. That is something that as I said earlier that Singapore and the UK are very happy to have happen. 

Obviously that doesn’t generate the same cost savings and benefits to the government that using the public Cloud [across] all services would generate. But there is the challenge about security and privacy that they having to address there. Vendors will have to be very closely involved. 

This is much more of a partnership approach than a hands off approach that governments often used to take. Appropriate SLAs need to be put into place. And very importantly it’s essential that governments work with development legal authorities and regulators to identify any potential any legal loopholes about storing data outside of the country, outside of government premises and so on, and to close those loopholes, perhaps taking reference from some more mature markets such as the financial markets and so on. And then on the interoperability side helping to overcome the challenges of interoperability, this was addressed in the Cloud Computing Strategy from the US Government. 

Looking at identifying services that are ready to be moved to the Cloud with little additional work, and taking a stepped and phased approach there rather than going too fast, too soon. And also working again closely with vendors to make sure legacy support with the applications are already deployed within the Government. And finally it’s about sharing best practice and information on what’s been done elsewhere. What’s been successful, what hasn’t been successful? 

What challenges have been faced, and how those challenges have been overcome? And then finally just moving onto the issue that is quite pressing in a lot of the emerging markets across the globe in Asia-Pacific, in South America, in Africa and so on, is around about the availability of suitable infrastructure to enable services to be moved into the Cloud and still be accessed on a consistent and reactive basis by the departments that are looking to use those services. 

A lot of governments are looking at deploying new networks or addressing issues with fixed line infrastructure and broadband infrastructure in markets through national broadband plans. One of the tenants that goes into that is actually around the government being a leading user of broadband services and of infrastructure. And the Cloud can actually enable that by the government taking a leading role and putting a guaranteed spend or revenue in with providers of a new network. 

It doesn’t address the issue completely because you have the challenge being faced between using fixed line networks, some access to the Cloud and wireless networks for other access to the Cloud. And that’s one challenge that I think a lot of application providers and vendors will have to address about the different latency issues and the different throughput issues. And that’s something that the government can certainly take a leading role in, by deploying their services into the Cloud and demonstrating to enterprise in the private sector that there is an opportunity there for migration of services and infrastructure. 

So, just to wrap up, governments as is the case of enterprises see Cloud Computing as a way to lower costs, as a way to improve services and as a way to in a Big Brother style, gain greater insight into citizens. However, there are a range of decisions and challenges to be faced in making that migration around the choice of deployment model. 

Whether to use private Cloud, public Cloud, hybrid Cloud or community Cloud, which services to migrate and when, and the challenges that are going to be faced around, again, the security side of things, data ownership, governance and so on. Interoperability with existing applications and across departments and around the availability of infrastructure to deliver those services and to move that information into data centres and so on

Collaboration amongst government departments, perhaps even across nations, to share best practice and to share challenges and approaches to overcome those challenges, and collaboration with vendors is key to achieving the end game, the end results that governments are looking for. And Cloud Computing itself can be seen to spur advances in infrastructure to encourage both the adoption and take-up of these services and of broadband infrastructure across emerging markets, perhaps creating a more virtuous circle for the rollout of high-speed services, lower latency services and so on. 


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