Monday, April 13, 2009

The Platform as an Open Cloud

Idea is simple, cloud computing is really a culmination of many technologies such as grid computing, utility computing, SOA, Web 2.0, and other technologies. The definitions may vary but the concept remains the same.

One of the key ideas behind the model is on demand hosted services with the ability to scale and provision computing power dynamically in a cost efficient way.

This is the ideal platform for the Maldivian government today. We have invested on the infrastructure (network wise) and we (the ministries) are all connected. Why do we want to replicate the same services?, The government can easily save money in this deep economic downturn while moving to a superior technology infrastructure. This also is a way to follow what they preach. By moving towards using green technologies for the functioning of the Government helping to reduce the negative effects to environment, etc.

In plain English; this means we should not be spending on computer hardware/software, electricity, and human resources for each and every ministry in the government. This is a total waste of public money, when other better alternatives are available. This also justifies the money that the government have spend on building the network interconnecting all the ministries.

If the government can get power from Stelco and telecom services from Telecoms why not have a government controlled IT company?. This makes more sense. Even right now web sites are hosted in Dhiraagu, the very sensitive emails are hosted in Dhiraagu. Looking at that point of view we have up to some level adopted off site hosted services in governance. To move towards this model the present government needs to realize that the public expects from its government highly coordinated, timely responses to all challenges and promises made by the new government.

Government coordination depends upon consistent decision making across multiple business units, departments and projects. This cannot be done via letters, or even modern technologies like emails. To achieve this government needs to work as one unit, instead of many individual ministries. These are factors that lead to the “good governance”, this is what the people need. Service!. The main responsibility of the government is to provide better services to its people. Today they can’t hide behind political excuses and prolong this.

The solution is an enterprise-wide architecture which tries to create a framework for effective decision making across multiple business units. Otherwise, independent groups decide alone resulting in inconsistency, information islands, isolated business processes, and inefficient technologies. This mixture is a recipe for poor performance which we have been so used to.

Adaptation of an EA also enables computer systems, networks, software, and data/information systems that support government functions and services to more effectively and efficiently communicate, interoperate, and share resources. Therefore this should be decided at the policy level of the Maldivian government to implement and utilize such architecture. Such policies should focus and utilize common, secure, industry-wide, open-standards-based technologies and standards, identified by industry standards organizations, and based on documented methodologies, principles, and best practices.

One of the key focuses should be on effective utilization of technology to achieve business functions and services, increasing citizen access to those services, sharing information and resources at all levels of government, and maximizing investment in IT resources. This is the major motivating factors for the development and implementation of such a model.

The other advantage to such a model is, it leads to a proper transparent system of governance.

Today the biggest problem is we don’t have people with such visions in the decision making level in the government. We had the same problem for 30 years and still we seem to be stuck with the same problem. The other reason maybe they are too busy focusing on trying to keep their noses above the water and survive this political madness which we are going through. If the so called “Sadoom” was filled with gays, today Maldives is filled with “politicians”. This has become like a curse upon us. The religious Imams have turned out to be politicians and latest edition to the list is the medical doctors.

To conclude; I’d have to say “Hopeless”! Things will just remain as dreams.


Anonymous said...

Keke..."I have dreamt a dream"... we have a great setup here man, the only reason that the government and 'good governance' can't see face to face is because we gave too much leverage to politicians, and a bad system which can only run its course in the next two or three years. Let it die down man. Maybe then we can all hear some good ideas. Its not 'hopeless', just hope for these idiots to burn out soon.

meekaaku said...

But I fear that the government might adopt proprietary standards. If that is the case then it is even worse. Ppl at the decision making level would not have heard of royalty-free, open source, open-standards as such. They would only know vendors Microsoft, Oracle etc. Even if they have heard of it, decision making ppl will be able to make money selling these licensed expensive software.

Rhetoric Thought said...

Meekaku i think you may be wrong people at the decision making level of such and such sectors would be aware of this by now. Who would be such an authority NCIT.

If they do opt for propriety software standards unfortunately it would be being fully aware of if.

meekaaku said...

I once got a chance to have a chat with one of the senior decision level people. This was back in 2005 when the network thing was going strong. I asked what their encryption /security protocols were. And the answer I got was the encryption algorithms will be developed by the company (ie the Singapore party) doing the network!!! These guys never heard of 'security through obscurity'!

Like I said even if they have heard of open standards, they still might opt for proprietary like you said.