The Lanka Government Cloud is a fantastic and landmark facility, says Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga.
Weeratunga said so while participating at the soft- launch of the Lanka Government Cloud (LGC) in Colombo recently (17). Implemented by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the LGC is administered and maintained by Lanka Information Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. (LGII), a subsidiary of ICTA.
Once benefits are known people will come in search for the innovation
Speaking further on the occasion, Weeratunga said that once people know the benefits that would accrue to them as a result of an innovation, they would make all efforts to use it. The Presidential Secretary said that the LGC was indeed a fantastic and landmark facility that should be made known. In this awareness creation the Government officials should occupy an important place.
Always look for better ways – from ‘cloud’ if necessary even to the ‘stars’
While congratulating those responsible for the new facility, the Presidential Secretary urged all concerned never to stop looking for better ways of making the lives of people more comfortable through the use of ICT. The possibilities available for man are infinite. Man should always look ‘ad astra’ so to say, - look higher and higher up to the stars in bringing about better ways for fellow man, the Presidential Secretary said. Commenting on the laurels placed d on him for the guidance that had led to the innovations in ICT, Weeratunga said that all credit for these improvements should go to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
President is a firm believer in the value of ICT, he is the safeguard and farsighted guide on ICT
The President, both when ICT was a subject under his guidance when he was Prime Minister and later as President, had given farsighted leadership on the subject. ICT being a fond subject of the President His Excellency’s keen interest in ICT as a means of bringing ever-increasing comfort to people continues. It is the President who stands as a strong tower safeguarding all who work towards the goal of bringing the benefits of ICT to the people. Weeratunga said that the President was thinking far ahead in this path of making use of ICT for the benefit of the people.
Need of mass scale ICT savvy personnel and IT dedicated university
On realising that Sri Lanka does not have enough IT savy personnel on a mass scale as required for its development now, the President was keen on setting up a means of producing such personnel. Setting up a dedicated IT university is a concept that the President is currently having his thoughts on in this regard, Weertunga said. Speaking further on the expected outcome of Lanka Government Cloud, the Presidential secretary said that at a recent meeting of Government officials he had just corroborated it. He had said that in the future much funds could be saved because funds need not be allocated for servers in all the different Government institutions. They could have the facilities through the centrally placed Lanka Government Cloud.
History of eGovernment
Participating in the occasion LGII Chairman and member of ICTA board of directors Ravi Senanayake lauded Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga for his pivotal role in eGovernment.
“His vision, encouragement and guidance were vital to the existence and growth of LGII”, Senanayake said.
Briefly tracing the history of eGovernment in Sri Lanka Senanayaka pointed out that benefits of some of the eService projects designed as early as early 80’s were accruing to the people even now without interruption. Senanayake said that the work on eService projects launched , for example ePension in the early 80’s, had stood the test of time even today. This is borne out by the fact that the Pension script which was designed in early 80’s was very successfully still being circulated even today with a few modifications to suit the changing times. Senanayake said that even when there were disturbances in the country there was no breakdown in the issue of pension. For example accountants placed in distance locations like Moneragala used to bring their diskettes to Colombo to ensure that the issue of pension took place without interruption. Senanayake emphasised the principle that the stronger the institutions like the LGII and the more sustainable they were, the more successful would be the applications that emanate from them.
Tripple facilty that makes Government poised for excellent public service
Participating in the occasion ICTA CEO Reshan Dewapura said that with the powerful three projects Lanka Government Network, the Lanka Gate and the (latest) Lanka Government Cloud, the Government was fully equipped to offer its eService to the public with an efficiency never experienced before in the history of Sri Lanka.
Cloud won’t bring miracle of rain but miracle of facility of life style, even wonder of Asia
Dewapura also sent the participants in the ceremony to fits of laughter when he, in a lighter vein, said: “I hope people won’t hope for a rainy day today because a news item published today has the heading “Sri Lanka’s first-ever ‘Cloud’ debuts today.” Speaking further on the subject Dewapura explained briefly about cloud computing and the function of LGII and how these help in making the lives of people more comfortable. This cloud will not bring miraculous rain but showers of comfort in people’s lives. Being able to have the facilities of servers from a central location that the Lanka Government Cloud provides for, inter alia, will indeed be a landmark change.
Explaining the mandate of LGII the ICTA CEO said: LGII is mandated with managing and maintaining the information infrastructure of the whole Government of Sri Lanka. Information infrastructure can be any ICT system, any ICT application, any ICT organisation and LGII is mandated to manage and maintain these.
LGII is also mandated to create an enabling environment for the Lanka Government to move forward In the use of ICT for bringing about better life styles for people, Dewapura said.
Cloud Computing defined
Participating in the occasion ICTA Re-Engineering Government Programme Director Wasantha Deshapriya explained in simple language ‘Cloud’ in the context of computing as follows:
What is Cloud Computing?
“Cloud computing is a new way of delivering computer resource, not a new technology” (European Network and Information Security Agency)
Why it is Called “Cloud Computing”?
Cloud computing is provided by using a Network or Internet. Cloud-shaped symbol is used in system diagrams to indicate a Complex Network or Internet.
Five important characteristics of cloud computing
- On-demand self service (self provisioning)
- Broad network access
- Resource pooling – can pool hardware software from different parties
- Rapid elasticity – the computing or storage capacity can instantly be increase/ decrease
- Measured service – services provided are metered and charge
Type of Clouds
- Private or internal cloud – to be used by one organization
- Community cloud – to be used by community or organizations/ groups
- Public cloud – to be used by public (anybody)
- Hybrid cloud – combine organizational resources and cloud based resources for computing requirements
Cloud service capabilities
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – Offers software and applications for rent
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Provides hardware and software platform to deploy your application
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Offers computing powers and storage space
- Scalability – users can increase/ decrease computing power (memory, storage) as and when required
- Efficiency – can save money on procurement, can speedily build ICT system for less money
- Cost containment – Capex to Opex
- Flexibility – Can add, increase/ decrease, stop as and when required
- Availability – ensures 99.99% availability
- Resiliency – potential for failure is reduced. Even restart after a failure would take less time
Security / Privacy; the main roadblock for adoption
- Where is data located; foreign location – foreign law
- Who is managing servers and have access to data
- What level of Information Security applied
- If the server/ HD is crashed and replaced, how it will be disposed
- Who owns data
- Who has the IP right for application/ data
Moving on to explain the newly soft-launched project Lanka Government Gate Deshapriya said:
Lanka Government Cloud (LGC)
- LGC is a community cloud and is open only to Sri Lanka Government organizations
- LGC is located in the hub of Lanka Government Network which has been set up in a rented space of a Sri Lankan data center. This location is highly secure and only ICTA authorized persons can enter.
- Lanka Government Information Infrastructure (LGII) manages the hardware and network of LGC while software and applications are managed by the Technology Team of ICTA. LGII is a subsidiary company of ICTA. Hence LGC is fully governed by ICTA.
- Currently the memory capacity of LGC is 2660 Gigabytes and the storage capacity is 40 Terabytes. This can be increased to meet the entire server computing requirements of Sri Lankan government.
- Seven types of servers are available in LGC for government and memory with 2-32 GB and storage capacity with 200-1600 GB
- Current approximate server prices range from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 60,000 per month
- A server can be created and made available for any government organisation in two hours after request is made. Once the self-provisioning facility is provided, any government organisation should be able to create and use servers provided that those organisations can make payments on line.
ICTA Chairman Senior Presidential Advisor and Peradeniya University Chancellor Professor P. W. Epasinghe, ICTA Programme Director / Legal Advisor Jayantha Fernando, SL CERT |CC (Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team| Coordinating Centre) CEO Lal Dias, LGII CEO Nimal Ratnayake also participated in the occasion.
Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga soft-launching the Lanka Government Cloud flanked on the right by ICTA Chairman Senior Presidential Advisor and Peradeniya University Chancellor Professor P. W. Epasinghe and on the left by LGII Chairman member of ICTA board of directors Ravi Senanayake. On the left of the latter in order are ICTA CEO Reshan Dewapura and ICTA Programme Director / Legal Advisor Jayantha Fernando.
Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga during a tour of a subsidiary of ICTA, LGII situated at Level 13, East Tower, World Trade Centre, Colombo 01 which will maintain the newly soft-launched Lanka Government Cloud implemented by ICTA.( From left) LGII CEO Nimal Ratnayake, LGII Chairman Ravi Senanayake, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, ICTA Re-Engineering Government Senior Programme Head (Admin and Operations) D. C. Dissanayake, ICTA Re-Engineering Government Programme Director Wasantha Deshapriya and ICTA CEO Reshan Dewapura