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Private Cloud Implementation for e-District Project, Dept. of IT & Electronics, Government of Uttar Pradesh

Introduction

The project entailed exploring cloud computing for the state government by facilitating the smooth transfer of operations to cloud servers. This was done for numerous citizen services, which otherwise take a long time to be completed via paperwork. By moving the services to an online portal, and managing it effectively, the team made the process of applying and tracking the status of citizen services online, possible.

Challenges

The State Government had already been contemplating an online portal for citizen services when the team stepped in, but were coming up short on various fronts. Firstly, they required a stable platform and a strong infrastructure, which would be able to hold vast amounts of data and still remain functional enough to conduct thousands and lakhs of transactions every day. Their servers, however, were quite weak and limited, and lacked high availability. This caused them to overload often, which further led to crashing and loss of data. Thus, it was hindering them from providing effective, round-the-clock services to the people.
The lack of a strong and capable server was also obstructing them from spreading their roots: the original structure had been built for a small-scale operation, as the one that had been covering 15 districts till then. However, the same model was not feasible enough to be applied to a larger area and consequently, functional expansion. Thus, they not only needed to expand to provide services to a larger percentage of the population, but also needed an infrastructure that could carry it.

Solution

The team administered a complete make-over of the systems and servers at the State Data Centre: 41 servers were equipped to move to a cloud computing atmosphere, and their memories were virtualized, shared, and dedicated to the purpose of online implementation of citizen services across the state. Two softwares, System Centre 2012 R2 and Windows Centre 2012 R2 were used to convert physical servers. One was used to actualize the concept of cloud computing for the SDC servers, while the other was instrumental in transforming it into a private cloud. This means that information on the cloud will be protected, confidential, and accessible only to the persons authorized.
Emphasis was also laid on developing a scalable, or extensible cloud atmosphere, which could be expanded with ease to include more data with the right procedure. Load Testing and Performance Testing was done at each stage to ensure the successful implementation of every stage of change in the project.
Additionally, the team also trained personnel in the SDC department to ensure the effective handling of the cloud even after the project was culminated. Provisions were also made to distribute the server between multiple departments; create new servers; and for automation, using which authorized personnel could request for a new Virtual Machine if they had the right information.
Thus, the team developed a high availability, manageable and scalable cloud for the State Data Centre to enable the smooth transfer of citizen services to an online portal.

Benefits

  • One of the biggest benefits from the successful implementation of the project was the reduction of vast amounts of paperwork, and the speedy implementation, approval and passage of documents.
  • With data being maintained on a virtual platform, accessible at any and all times, mining data from archives became incredibly easy. Instead of having to dig into physical files and hold the process up for days, one could now mine information with a few strokes on the keyboard.
  • Transforming the infrastructure to make it stronger made it easier for the SDC to expand its area and database, so as to include a larger number of districts into their project.
  • The system was fashioned to be easy to operate—anyone with authorization can not only work on the cloud, but also request for a new Virtual Machine and create new servers.
  • The model has high availability and is scalable, which means that it can be expanded to include more databases at any point of time.
  • It allows the government to provide round the clock citizen services.