The Government Cloud (GovCloud) is central to the objective of setting up systems and services that would enable efficient operations. As governments streamline IT resources to cut back on hardware and operations cost and improve overall operational efficiency, most have started to adopt virtualization and cloud technology solutions. In the Philippines, a World Bank study on Interoperability Readiness and Demand Assessment of government agencies reveal that most agencies are good candidates for virtualization and cloud computing and should take advantage of IT resource consolidation and cloud technology.
The current Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) was set up in 2013, as part of the Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) Project jointly implemented by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Science and Technology – Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). The setup was small-scale since it was developed initially to support iGovPhil-developed applications and other services including the Government Mail (GovMail). However, as more agencies came to know about GovCloud, the Cloud IaaS was later offered to other government agencies in need of cloud computing.
The servers, storage devices, networking equipment, and software found in the cloud help improve government processes and delivery of services to the people. The government also saves money this way because services are shared by agencies; i.e., one agency can take advantage of the same resources needed by another agency. Costs are managed because hardware acquisition and maintenance are reduced. Cloud services can also be provisioned and reallocated on demand depending on the budget, resource requirements or time of the year.
To make all these happen, everything – computer, storage, and networking – is “virtualized”. The virtualization – or the creation of virtual (rather than the actual) version – of all of these resources makes it possible for the government to simplify the process and deliver its services in a fast and efficient manner.
The GovCloud currently offers GovMail, PhPay, NARMIS, PMGov, Agency Service Registry and Web Hosting Service to government agencies. The following applications and common services will also be hosted on the Cloud in the near future:
- Forms Generator
- Single Sign On
GovCloud offers a secure private cloud infrastructure and guaranteed service level that align with customer requirements. It enables government agencies to use secure online applications for their various computing requirements. To ensure government data protection, the cloud infrastructure shall have the following features/ capabilities: Incident and Problem Management, SLA Management, Performance Management; Measured Service; Change Request; 24×7 Operations Support; and Call Center Facilities and Call Management Support.
GovCloud allows for easy upscaling or downscaling of IT resources as and when required, to accommodate increased or changing demand or capacity. The current setup is able to provision virtualized servers, storage, and network, and has dynamic horizontal and vertical scalability to increase runtime usage.
GovCloud enables the provision of cloud resources whenever and wherever, making access to resources faster and more convenient. Furthermore, this on-demand access to a shared pool of storage and compute resources can be quickly and easily configured, provisioned, and managed even without third party review or approval.
The implementation of the Government Cloud or GovCloud is in pursuant of the Executive Order No. 47 or the implementation of the iGovPhil Project, which states the need for an information and communications technology infrastructure that will ensure the delivery of speedy and efficient government services to the people. This aims to make the government more efficient, transparent, and accountable.