The State Data Centre (SDC) is an important element of the core infrastructure for supporting e-Governance initiatives of National eGovernance Plan (NeGP). The SDC not only provides better operations and management control, but also minimizes overall cost of data management, IT management, deployment and other costs. These data centers are envisaged to establish a robust infrastructure to enable the state government to provide efficient delivery of governance services to government departments, citizens and businesses.
What was MP Government’s problem?
The Government of Madhya Pradesh lacked the core IT infrastructure to offer efficient delivery of government services to government departments, citizens and businesses. Due to the lack of central data repository and interoperability within the various other data centres, the state government was unable to initiate lot of e-Governance initiatives.
In line with the NeGP, the government of Madhya Pradesh decided to set up a state data centre to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the interaction between local government and its citizens. The project aimed to boost internal government operations to stimulate and support good governance.
The data centre was needed to provide key functionalities such as central repository of the state, secure data storage, secured network infrastructure for electronic transfer of sensitive data and payments, online delivery of services to reduce cost of communication between government departments at different locations, citizen information/services portal, disaster recovery, remote management and service integration, among others.
The design of data centre represents many challenges and is a complex task as it involves many stakeholders. The extent to which the SDC must remain operational even when some of its resources are impaired or unavailable greatly influences how the design objectives of reliability, availability, scalability, serviceability and also backup, redundancy, survivability and disaster management are met. Considering all the above factors the Department of Information Technology, Government of Madhya Pradesh appointed MP State Electronics Development Corporation as the nodal agency for implementation, HCL Infotech as data centre operator and PWC as consultant for the design, RFP and project execution.
The need of the hour
After a contract was signed between HCL Infotech and Madhya Pradesh State Government, the latter handed over the site to HCL Infotech for building the data centre. The scope of the project included design, supply, installation, commissioning, configuration and maintenance of an effective and efficient IT and non IT infrastructure. The other essential components of the projects were ensuring security, reliability and availability of information systems 365 days, 24X7 hours.
HCL designed an end-to-end security blanket to protect applications, services, data and the infrastructure from malicious attacks or theft by external as well as internal hackers. The services under this comprised Firewall, Antivirus, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and Host Intrusion Detection System. MPSDC co-hosting environment was completely virtualized using VMware and Hypervisor.
With HCL’s support the SDC managed to get free rack space which was a cost effective solution resulting in saving of revenue for various e-Procurement projects. This was done by optimizing the existing rack space to make provisions for 26 more racks which resulted in enhanced server space and core infrastructure utilization.
The IT major also provided round-the-clock server and network monitoring services, starting from operating system administration, tuning, re-installation, in the event of system /failure, and so on. HCL also equipped the SDC with storage management, configuration and management of disk array volume, zone security, business continuity volume and associated back up infrastructure. Help Desk and Facility Management Services were also set up.
The clear benefits
With the establishment of SDC, the MP government has been able to provide co-hosting and co-location models to the various departments. HCL hosted 109 co-hosting user applications and 29 co-location users in a record time of two years. The hosting of several G2C applications such as MP e-District, e-Nagarpalika, MPOnline etc. at SDC significantly brought down the direct cost of operation and management.
The MP e-District application hosted on the state data centre connects 9,381 block level kiosks for rendering 107 government services. This project helps in generation of revenues for kiosk owners and government for service provision. MP government’s PPP venture MP online handles more than 15000 e-transactions daily through this portal. Several big initiatives run by the government for the welfare of citizens such as, MP Treasury, MP Transport, MP Forest, MP Tourism, Commercial Tax Department, MP SWAN, Bhopal Municipal Corporation, UIDAI based state specific citizens data hub SRDH etc. are also hosted in the state data centre.
The ISO 27000:13 certified data centre, pretty much completed on time, adheres with strict compliance to standards of quality on par with Tire III Data Centre Standards.
The deployment led to a cost saving of approximately Rs 10 crore per annum to the state government. In fact, it helped the government save an additional Rs 1.5 crore due to early operation of SDC.
The highly scalable, secured and 24X7 available infrastructure ensured smooth functioning of the state government e-governance initiatives. Undoutedly, HCL received an overwhelming response from the MP government departments for utilization of build up capacity of 43 rack spaces at server area which with the help of HCL’s IT team was extended up to 72 racks
The SDC has heterogeneous system in place covering dedicated machines for large departments at one end and virtualized environment for multiple medium/small departments. By doing this, SDC is extending e-Governance implementation support with best optimized resource utilization so as to reduce the cost on infrastructure.
According to a Gartner report published in November 2015, the Indian data center infrastructure market will total $2 billion in 2016, a 5.2 percent increase from 2015. In a separate study (September 2015), the research firm also predicts that the Government of India (including Central and state governments) is set to spend $6.88 billion on IT products and services by 2015-end, an increase of 5.2 percent over 2014.
“The investments in the ‘Digital India’ initiative, led by a focus to allow access of government services on mobile devices (part of the mobile government), expansion on broadband and planning for smart cities, will be a stimulus for Indian governments ICT initiatives,“ said Anurag Gupta, research vice president at at Gartner.
The forecast hailed data centers as one of the major areas of spends, as the governments are looking for the right technology partners who can help identify and implement technologies to reduce operating costs and increase data center efficiency.