Today, the question of whether Govt agencies are prepared to leave Global Data Centre (GDS) is not new. In fact, there have been repeated reports in the last few months that this facility is facing severe challenges and that it may not be able to sustain itself for the next decade. But, officials from both Houses of Parliament have assured the House of Representatives and the Senate that the government is committed to maintaining the GDS. The assurance comes at a time when both the Houses are moving towards approving a new data centre construction plan.
It is understood that officials from all the key ministries, including Finance, Department of Communications, Department of Social Development, and Department of Public Health, are involved in the preparation meeting. The officials will work out the details of how the facility can best serve the society. This involves discussing how the Govt can meet its mission needs and the budget requirements, as well as the other factors that contribute to the growth of the technology and service sectors. It is understood that officials from the Govt have also discussed issues related to the operational costs and the impact on internal services and finances in the country. They have also looked at how the exit and entry policy can be managed and whether the Govt can exit the GDS facility when and if the situation requires it.
This means that today, there is finally an acceptance that the GDS will have to exit. However, the manner in which the officials are proceeding and the reason given to look at the exit strategy before looking at the construction of the facility does raise questions. This is because the GDS was supposed to be the premier system of national grid interconnectivity. There is no reason why the government should not insist on its continued operation after it has fulfilled its operational and capital budget requirements.
The GDS was supposed to be the key partner for the nation’s entire electrical grid, as it was meant to provide a platform for managing the nation’s electricity supply. However, the recent trends point out that the GDS is no longer a viable option for the government as it lacks the expertise, commercial acumen and experience to cope with the challenges and the increasing complexities of the modern grid. What’s more, the Govt has realized that it cannot continue to operate this complex entity without having a backup data centre. This means that the Govt is likely to leave the GDS and look for a better off-the-shelf solution.
This decision came as a surprise to some officials who have been briefed about the developments. This means that the Govt lost several important officials and was left without a clear strategy to deal with the future demands of the industry. This was a costly mistake and one which call for harsh criticism of the Government, especially after all its initiatives to bring in cheap electricity have failed spectacularly.
However, with the latest developments in India and consultations with several international companies, it seems that the Govt is now considering other options than opting for a costly solution like a GDSS. The most logical move would be to go in for software solutions that will enable the Govt agencies to interact with each other and with external entities even when the systems are down. Such an approach will not only allow the Govt to save on maintenance costs but also allow the agency’s existing systems to interface with new ones. This will allow the agencies to function even when they are not operational.