Open Cloud For Governments
By Damien Wong, general manager, ASEAN, Red Hat
Cloud is no longer a buzz word. Across Asia Pacific we see governments adopting cloud-based applications and services at different scales. Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia have all launched framework and guidelines for government cloud, while in places like Vietnam and the Philippines some agencies are already pioneering this service delivery model.
We are glad to see that, in many countries, cloud adoption is not looked at in isolation, but taken as a key enabler for many government transformational projects. In May 2012, the government of Singapore, which has been investing in both public and private clouds, announced the deployment of G-cloud – the government private cloud through SingTel – a local telco– for the next five years.
The government is embarking on a few large initiatives covering the areas of data analytics, knowledge management and collaboration. These large projects could be made easier with the support of an open hybrid cloud, an approach which allows organisations to build a cloud across their choice of physical resources, virtualisation technologies and public cloud providers.
Taking an open hybrid cloud approach, governments will be fully in control of how they want their cloud infrastructure to take shape. The worries of vendor lock-in would no longer be relevant. In order to fully benefit from an open hybrid cloud, everything has to be open and portable, ensuring that the government is fully in control of their IT infrastructure, applications and technologies.
This approach would make it easier for different government agencies to integrate their existing infrastructures with each other, and ensure cost efficiencies as existing IT resources can be redeployed, thanks to the flexibility an open hybrid cloud offers.
As with all open source software, there are security concerns especially in dealing with sensitive national information. However, open source software has a solid track record of being deployed in mission critical areas with sensitive information – its security performance has been stellar. In the United States, Red Hat has been collaborating with the government close to a decade. One of Red Hat’s largest customers by volume, US Army, has been using open source technologies for its daily operations, contributing to a high growth of government open source adoption in the country.
Now more than 100 other agencies are running open source solutions. Open source is by no means a new technology and its proven benefits can be realised to help meet the unique challenges that governments face when addressing the need to get on the cloud.