FutureGov workshop focuses on the role of open standards in government cloud computing.
Avoiding vendor lock-in, delivering user experiences that scale, and understanding the impact of cloud computing on government ICT were front of mind for over 30 Malaysian civil servants and industry experts this morning.
The interactive sesson - ‘Towards Open Government’ - was split between discussions on standards and the future direction of cloud computing, and scenario planning based on a real world case study of how a government agency successfully moved to the cloud.
The civil servants took turns to work through a series of scenarios based on an actual case study, in order to map out the benefits in a public sector context. These benefits included the opportunity to manage IT in rural areas, and to rapidly scale across 10,000 deployments.
Focusing on providing services to users, rather than managing the infrastructure, was a key area of interest for the audience: “It is the ability to deliver against service levels that is a key consideration for us,” said one official from central government.
A few concerns were raised by workshop participants around the need to ensure that data was kept in a secure environment, and that data was completely deleted if an agency moved from one cloud provider to another.
“Cloud can certainly be the biggest ‘lock in’ of your life - if the cloud provider does not give you an exit strategy, you are stuck there forever,” warned Sivaram Shunmugam, Lead Solutions Architect in ASEAN for Red Hat. ““The more open the platform, the more portable your applications and workloads are. Adopting cloud services based on open standards is key to avoiding these constraints.”
“Cloud is all about services,” said Intel’s Bernard Cheah, Regional Solution Architect. “Providing a service to users at the flip of a switch is where we are headed. That means the challenge for ICT teams is to deliver agility while at the same time maintaining security, compliance and avoiding vendor lock-in.”
Cheah explained that as the number of devices connected to the internet increases - expected to reach over 15 billion connected devices by 2015, and over 50 billion by 2020 - cloud computing would become central to the response of government ICT teams. As a result, a key question for government departments was whether their ICT hardware and software were based on open standards to deliver sustainable cloud services for users.