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e-Seva kiosks in many parts of India, help citizens access services morea easily. ( Photo: courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
 
In India, government, private sector embrace the Cloud

February 9 2015: Cloud Computing has  became a  reality for the government and private sectors in India where many of the companies and projects in these sectors are  migrating  to cloud.
But what exactly is cloud computing? According to Wikipedia, Cloud Computing is a computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked to allow centralized data storage and online access to computer services and resources.|
But the most arduous part  about this technology is that many CEOs firmly opposed to the idea of this technology just a few years back. Then, what exactly made Gartner believe that cloud service market is expected to grow to $210 billion in 2016, up from $80 billion in 2010? Well, many perks of cloud computing, for starters. Some of these perks ranges from flexibility, disaster recovery, automatic software updates, Cap-Ex, work from any place, security to environment friendly, achieving economies of scale, and reduction in spending on technology.
These might also be the reasons for many projects of the Indian government migrating to cloud computing. Some of these well-known projects are Aadhar project, The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee  Act (MNREGA),   National Population Register and the National Rural Health Mission. 
The Aadhar project also known as UID (Unique Identification) is an initiative by the Government of India under which a unique number is provided to every Indian citizen for identification. In this project, many software applications are used for enrollment application, authentication application and many more.  Nandan Nilekani- former chairman of the UIDAI stated during a talk to the World Bank, “First of all, this is not an ID project. There is no card. There is a number. It is a virtual number on the cloud, and we don’t give a physical card. We do send you a physical letter with your number, which you keep in your pocket, but the real value of this is the number on the cloud.”
Nilekani also explained that the UID is an identity platform. It is open architecture on which many apps may be built. Unlike the driving license, ration card, voter ID, the UID has no purpose of its own. It is just an ID verification system and all manner of apps can be built on it. Direct Benefit Transfer is such an app. And in explanation of what it will do, he said, “You can use the ID and create a credit history…or you could build an electronic health system. Since it is on a cloud, your health record will be portable and “you can take it with you wherever you go.”
In this way, many apps can be developed for the benefit of citizens ranging from education to law and order to health and much more. These technologies can take government projects to the pinnacle.
Even the private sector has left no stone unturned to avail the benefits of cloud. Many Indian companies like Flipkart, Wipro etc  have successfully implemented cloud to satisfy the needs of their company as well as their clients’.

Flipkart, India's largest electronic commerce was founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. Assessing the benefits especially that of business of private cloud, this e-commerce decided to fortify and virtualize their server architecture to build a private cloud. But instead of using hypervisor technologies from virtualization vendors, the company chose the open source path to achieve abstraction of the virtual machines from the physical hardware. Building on the gains Flipkart has received out of creating a private cloud using open source technologies Amod Malviya, SVP, Head of Engineering said, “When you run a traditional virtualization set up, there is a performance hit ranging between 5-10 percent.  But with OpenVZ implementation, we were not only able to simulate the same abstraction of virtual machines, but also achieved this without having to observe any performance hit. This approach works for us, and ends up giving us better benefit as it also comes at zero cost and we do not need to invest any money here.”  
Another example of  a corporate entity availing the asset of cloud and even offering to its clients is Wipro. Wipro Limited (Western India Products Limited) is a multinational IT Consulting and System Integration services company. Wipro not only agrees that cloud is changing the course of business strategies across sectors but also firmly believes that a successful organization requires better business and IT alignment, improved organizational agility and optimization of IT costs which can be achieved through cloud services. They are offering services like cloud advisory, cloud infrastructure services, cloud application migration, public cloud application, business process as a service(BPAAS), cloud management service, cloud integration as well as cloud security.|
The ways government and private sector in India are accepting cloud,  is a positive development  that bodes well for governance  and efficiency all round.

Maitri Vaghela is an IEEE student member currently pursuing her degree in Information Technology at LDRP Institute of Technology and Research, in Gujarat, India.  She is Chairperson of the LDRP IEEE student branch and a member of the  IEEE Women in Computing India Council.




    


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